Every year the Australian Interior Design Awards remind us that it’s what’s inside that counts. Pretty exteriors might entice us through the doors, but a well-designed home or perfectly lit bar keeps us indoors a little longer. And this year’s winners not only look good, they’re also clever, thoughtful and gracefully future-proofed too.

In the awards’ 19th year, the top prize – the Premier Award for Interior Design – went to Clare Cousins Architects for the “sublime” Stable and Cart House, a North Melbourne home that used to be just that, a stable and cart store. The judges agreed unanimously that the historic building had been adapted as a home in a “powerful yet pared back” way that “considers how people live in a space, and offers a house that will age with honesty and grace”.

In another win for Victoria, this year’s Residential Decoration Award was presented to Flack Studio for Troye Sivan’s house. The jury said the studio captured a “strong sense of [Sivan’s] character through a beautiful curation of art, furniture, lighting and objects in a way that doesn’t feel forced or contrived”.

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Collingwood’s Finesse Shoe Store – designed by Studio Edwards – also took home an award, plus a commendation for its “clever and inventive” retail experience that has sustainability at its core.

Adelaide’s sleek neighbourhood bar and restaurant Arkhe won the Hospitality Design Award for its “extraordinary use of materiality and light without trying too hard” said the jury. Plus, Decibel Architecture received a commendation for Installation Design for the permanent digital art gallery the Lume Melbourne. The winner in that category was Sydney’s Eucalyptusdom at the Powerhouse, awarded for its cohesive lighting design and “exquisite pieces of joinery that housed the items on display”.

Also in Sydney, YSG Studio received the Interior Design Impact award for Haymarket cafe Edition Coffee Roasters, which opened in 2018. The jury commented that the space has stood the test of time, “which has only improved and deepened its authenticity”.

The winning buildings were whittled down from a shortlist of 184 projects across the country and the awards themselves are delivered by the Design Institute of Australia and Architecture Media’s Artichoke magazine. The full list of winners and a gallery of images can be found on the awards website.