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Nikki Dunlop | On Interior Design & Motherhood 

Nikki Dunlop | On Interior Design & Motherhood

Nikki Dunlop is one of Sydney’s favourite interior designers. Founder of SunCHINE fundraising charity, she talks to us about her two children (Pia, 13 and Mimi, 12) and her playful style.

Pretty pastels and dots of colour- What was the inspiration behind this style?

I wanted to make sure the girls had a say with their room in this house- the wall colour was an easy place to start.

Pia at the time requested lavender, and Mimi loved beautiful pale aqua/minty hues, so that was the where we started.

Mimi chose her fabric for the bedhead and so we created a story around both the wall colour and the bedhead fabric.

Pia previously had a pale pink bedroom so we incorporated some of her old pieces with the lavender- it was a cute combination that we both loved!

It is their own little sanctuary upstairs, and both bedrooms open out to a great big outdoor area where they love to hang out with their friends- the combination of pastels was easy to work with and blend.


How would you describe your sense of style?

My style is classic contemporary.

I love using colour in homes- I am not the designer to approach if you favour minimalist white.

Colour is such an easy and inexpensive way to give a house some personality or a great new makeover and it doesn’t have to be drastic.

I use my home as trial run for certain colours requested by clients.

The walls can dramatically change overnight!

spots on wall

How do you come up with a creative concept?

My concepts always come from understanding the client’s needs and listening carefully to the initial brief, their lifestyle, and what sort of style they are after.

You might find yourself trying to subtly steer the client in a certain direction at times, or you interpret their brief with your own interpretation.

It’s an evolving collaboration between designer and client.

What was the theme that you tried to create for this room?

My girls are only little girls for a little longer, and they are really girly, so I wanted to embrace that feminine, pretty, soft look for as long as I could, before they start asking me for black and white striped walls or crazy colours that will make my hair curl…..

One of the Dulux 2 colours of the year for 2016 is Rose Quartz, so pastel pink is versatile and easy on the eye.

room colours pastel love

What are 3 of your favourite pieces from Tinitrader?

  1. My little Giggles Kids Wooden Rack - it’s so and be functional or just add a little depth to the room’s decoration. Colour options include White, Pink, Mint, Silver, Gold, Copper. I want them all!

  2. The fabulous White Edition's stylish 4 poster Olivia bed in pink. It’s incredibly structured and strong and the colour is just heavenly.

  3. These Walls Hand-painted spotted design Pillow. I love the rust and the scalloped edges!

What are the trends of the season ahead that you can see in the world of interiors/ design/ children’s rooms?

I think people are becoming more brave with their colour choices and we see so many more exciting, gutsy colours being used in interiors like, navy’s, deep greens, charcoals and blacks for rooms and house exteriors which I love, yet on the other side of the coin, there is also a love affair with pastels, particularly the rose quartz which you find not only on walls, but on sofas, painted furniture, soft furnishings, etc.

People are becoming a little less frightened to experiment with shade.

room landscape view

Tell us about some of the most popular/ favourite rooms/ houses you have designed/styled?

I have had some great homes that I have worked on in the past few years that have been fun.

I have helped Shelley Barrett from ModelCo furnish her home, Peter Morrissey and Chris Brown’s recent Bondi renovation.

You’re the founder of the SunCHINE fundraising ball? Why is this so close to your heart?

SUNSCHINE is a fundraiser that I started 6 years ago as a thank you to The Sydney Childrens Hospital for saving the life of my eldest daughter Pia in 2005.

Pia had a major cardiac arrest in my arms of the SCH waiting room, had no heartbeat for 55 minutes and was looking extremely grim to say the least, when a small army of experts trying to bring her back to life by using a new 2 in 1 defibrillator and pacemaker that had just been donated and never used before as a last step measure.

It worked… and after a few weeks in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit then months recovering in hospital Pia came out the other side miraculously with no neurological damage.

Pia has been diagnosed with a lifelong condition called Brugada Syndrome which requires her to have an ICD (implantable cardiac defribrillator) placed in her chest within the next few years.

nikki and girls

Each year we raise funds for a different unit of the hospital with specific equipment and staffing needs.

This year’s contributions will be applied to the cardiology unit, which is obviously very close to my heart due to Pia’s condition.

I am very proud of SUNSCHINE and how much it has evolved in such a short period of time.

I wanted to start a fundraiser that was not only a great, fun party, but enabled a new young demographic of individuals, young parents and friends to become aware of this incredible hospital at our doorstep that treats over 70,000 critically ill children all over the country a year.

This year we hope to raise over $750,000 which means SUNSCHINE has raised over 2 million dollars for the SCH in 6 years.