You’ve been travelling and living abroad since you were 10 years old. How has this constant movement informed how you think of home?

Experiencing different cultures is something I love. It has affected my style and what I like to bring home. Every culture has its own aspects of home, but it doesn’t differ greatly. For example, the Dutch have a saying, gezellig, which roughly translates as ‘a place of cosiness and warmth’. It has a lot to do with people in the home, which I have embraced since living there.

What’s the easiest way to create a comfortable space?

Bring nature into your home – a little bit of the outside in. It grounds you to the area you’re living in.

Where do you start?

Firstly, I look at the bones of the place – the general structure. Next, I look at the surfaces of the walls, ceilings, floors and doors, because styling involves texture and light. Rethinking the functionality of pieces and finding a new reason for them is something I love doing – it’s my signature. For example, I might use a kitchen table as a desk.

When immersed in a flea market, what’s your rule for taking or leaving?

It’s about experience – learning how to avoid a bunch of rubbish. Your instincts soon become well honed. I can quickly tell the quality of a piece by looking at its surface. Recently, I bought a gorgeous 1940s desk at St Vincent de Paul for $50 and then I noticed a wooden trestle table outside the shop – I’d been dreaming of one for ages – and I got it free! So, keep your eyes open, and you’ll finally start to see things very quickly.

What are some common errors to avoid when styling our homes?

Following trends – you should follow your heart, instead. Look at yourself and what makes you comfortable in the space and work with that. You’ll then start to find the heart in the home.

What souvenirs catch your eye?

I’m a photographer but I find it’s often better to eliminate photographs of your travels and instead bring in unique objects that you can pick up and hold. I group them together in texture or colour and I always buy things that are handmade from the area. Do this and you’ll really bring home something from the area, the city, the land. And that’s important.

Your Parisian bathroom was less than a metre-and-a-half wide. What’s the secret to making spaces functional but also beautiful?

Simplify. Concentrate on the structure of the space and eliminate everything you don’t need. For example, in a bathroom, you should only have one shampoo and one conditioner on display, rather than 50 bottles. Keep it simple.

What is your most treasured possession?

A ring that once belonged to my grandmother. It has tiny little diamonds but it’s really simple and sophisticated, which is what I strive for in life. I always take it everywhere with me.

Pia Jane blogs regularly for the Country Style blog. Her book My Heart Wanders is available now.