Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming! And this time it’s ’cause Elte MKT has invited me to be a featured designer on Elte MKT Designer Day. I’m one of three of Toronto’s “hottest young interior designers” offering free 20 minute consultations on July 29 (Elte MKT said it, so it must be true, right?!).
Check out this fun promo video we filmed last week! I give you my three super easy tips for adding personality into your home!
Every week that goes by, I keep being reminded that I made the best decision to follow my passion, whether it’s the amazing clients I get to work with, or opportunities like this one I just feel so blessed.
I LOVEEEEEEE twinkle lights. I love twinkle lights at weddings, twinkle lights in a dive bar, and definitely twinkle lights in my backyard! I’ve always had a few twinkle lights in my backyard, but this year I’m looking to take the twinkle to new levels. Wayfair Canada was nice enough to send me these amazing lights to help with the levelling up.
I’ve been searching for inspiration and tips to help me figure out the best way to hang these in my backyard when I don’t have a whole lot to trees or poles to attach them to! Check out these amazingly twinkly droll-worthy backyards. Keep scrolling for a link to a great article on how to hang your lights if your backyard is similar to mine!
This is my backyard, currently I have lighting on the fence behind the table, but I’d like to be able to hang more! More is more here, peeps.
[ Source: Home Depot ]
So cute, looks like they’ve just added lights to the parameter of the deck.
[ Source: Refinery 29 ]
Ok, this is technically a restaurant, but this could totally be a backyard, and if this was my backyard, I would never leave.
[ Source: Apartment Therapy ]
I adore how clustery these lights are, on an unrelated note, these green chairs are cah-ute!
[ Source: Pinterest ]
The only thing possibly better than twinkle lights, is twinkle lights paired with a hammock!
I need a hammock in my life, like, yesterday. A quick Wayfair search presented me with this gem (aka chair hammock) , which I’m pretty sure I’m going to purchase and hang to the right of the sliding doors. My next BBQ isn’t going to know what hit it!
[ Source: The Tiny Canal Cottage ]
This is just so quaint, I absolutely love how cozy this is (and the pooch doesn’t hurt)!
[ Source: Southern State of Mind ]
I’m thinking this is how I’m going to hang my lights, the blog says they just nailed in some 2×2’s to the railing to give them something to hook to on the opposite side of the house and apparently they have lasted over 3 years. This sounds like a project I can handle.
If you have a similar backyard mine, but want the magical vibe of twinkle lights, check out this blog for tips on how to use ‘pine 2X2s’ to make it happen.
This post has been generously sponsored by Wayfair.ca. That said, the post reflects all my own opinions and don’t affect the views or opinions of Wayfair.ca or their affiliates.
I love my Dream Homies Facebook group, I get to help offer advice on interesting spaces that I would never have the opportunity to see otherwise. And Paola’s hallway is no exception!
Here’s what Paola threw out to the Homies looking for help with….
“Looking for ideas to decorate my hallway. It is long and narrow 😥 What kind of furniture and where exactly. Thanks a lot for your ideas!”
First things, first, yes THIS is the hallway! Pretty cool, right?
The interesting this about this space is that while there’s a fireplace, it’s really not the ideal focal point, for an entryway I always want there to be focal point with a wow factor when you first walk in. In this case, the focal point should be the wall on the other side.
As far as hallways are concerned this is definitely not narrow! What I envision for this space is a cozy reading nook, or a place where people might sit and chat if you’re hosting a party (this is of course without having any additional information about the rest of your home).
Let’s tackle this space step by step, starting with the floor plan.
Keep in mind I don’t have any measurements, so I’ve drawn this floor plan out by eye. I want to keep the long wall free of furniture, in order to maintain the flow from the entryway to the kitchen area. That said, having no furniture in front of the fireplace would feel awkward, plus it’s always nice to have some seating in front of the fireplace so you can enjoy it. The thing with this floor plan though, is that you want to keep sight lines open, so we’ll accomplish this by adding a bench or ottoman in front of the fireplace.
Large statement art on the back wall. Normally, I’m all about statement art above the fireplace, but in this case I would suggest moving the amazing piece of art that is currently above the fireplace to the focal point wall.
Add a row of art on the long wall. I suggest about four frames all in the same size. This helps draw your eye throughout the space.
Hang a round mirror above the fireplace. Now that we’ve added five pieces of art throughout the space, another one above the fireplace would be overkill. Every room should have something shiny, so I suggest a mirror above the fireplace. A round mirror is a nice opportunity to break up all the rectangles and squares you see throughout with the art, fireplace and windows.
Decor, Lighting and Accessories
Decorating is a key part of making the space feel polished, but it’s also an opportunity to camouflage certain architectural elements.
Large vases on the fireplace. I would remove all the small decor objects on the fireplace and minimize. The fireplace is quite deep and when you first walk in you’ll be seeing only the side. Aim to have only a couple of large vases on the fireplace and nothing more. This will streamline things and ensure that what you see walking in is a well-considered vignette, that doesn’t feel messy.
Add a tall plant beside the fireplace. Again, because the fireplace is so deep, I would want to break up that surface with a plant, this way your eye isn’t drawing to the large blank surface.
Upgrade the light fixtures and add some lighting on a human level. I noticed there seems to be two light fixtures here, which is totally fine, I would suggest finding some new fixtures to replace those, or, what I would do is find one statement light fixture and remove the second. I would also find a floor lamp with a shade to go beside the far chair, this helps layer in more lighting, while adding some height. Don’t be afraid to have the light and chair layering the art. People tend to try to hang art so it’s clear of furniture and other items, but this is a no-no. Layering is good, homie!
Add a few throw pillows. This one is obvious, find some nice throw pillows to keep the space feeling colourful and happy!
You can consider layering a small rug over your carpet. This helps define and ground the space, and of course add some colour, pattern and texture. Lastly, I would consider a throw on the bench to break it up a bit as well.
So there you have it, my suggestions on how to transform your entryway into a wow-worthy space!
So, you’ve purchased a custom couch, and even after all the careful measuring it just won’t fit in your door.
Ya, this is basically your worst nightmare. Custom anything can be really scary to order, because most retailers won’t take the item back, or if they do, they charge a 25% restocking fee.
This nightmare happened to one of my clients back in December. After considering numerous options we decided to seek the help of a furniture doctor.
A what now?
A furniture doctor! Basically these guys will deconstruct your couch (aka cut it in half) so it can fit through your door way, and then they put it right back together in your home. Crazy, right?
I honestly had no idea what to expect, so, I put my Michael Moore hat on and decided to document it. So here it is homies, “Deconstructing a Couch with Dr. Martin”, a very important documentary you don’t want to miss. It’s kinda long, but I promise it’s worth the watch.
To help you stop the lonely tears from falling, I’ve put together some tips on how to find your own furniture doctor!
1. Find someone in your area who does couch deconstruction. This should be easy enough, try googling furniture doctor, couch deconstruction, couch disassembly, sofa deconstruction, sofa disassembly or maybe just cute Scottish man that saws couches in half. That sort of thing.
Another option is to do what I did, which was post in a local Facebook group asking if anyone has used a service like this, and wait for a referral.
2. Have the couch delivered to a space that is large enough to be deconstructed. If the weather was nice, we probably could have done this outside my clients home, but given it was the dead of winter we used my garage. The key is to ensure the space is large and somewhat clean. If you have no space like this you could try calling the retailers warehouse to see if they’ll allow you to use their space.
3. If you’re deconstructing off-site secure a vehicle to transport the deconstructed couch to the final destination. I was lucky enough to use Dr. Martin’s van, but you can rent a U-Haul or a local delivery service.
4. Have a sense of humour about it. Yes, the whole thing is a pain, but things can always be worse, and best case scenario, you’ve got a funny “documentary” to look back on and laugh about.
5. Ensure you have pump up music…
I don’t know about you, but I’m pumped up and ready to cut some couches in half!
I thought I’d finished painting this room but I’m not loving the white doors. I was considering painting the doors, trim and baseboards the same colour as the wall to make them less noticeable. The California Shutters would still be white. Thoughts? Alternate ideas?
Ok homie, let me start by saying I LOVE that paint colour. It’s bold, it’s rich and it’s ah-mah-zing! So a big huge homie high-five to that choice.
I used to really love California shutters, and in the right space I still think they can be great. But I think people over-use them, often in the wrong places. They can feel really bulky, and uninviting. And in this specific case the details of the blinds (the horizontal lines) compete with the fireplace details, which should be the main focal point here. Not to mention it’s created these huge rectangular white squares which really draws your eye in. Which, I suspect, is what prompted this question in the first place.
I like the idea of painting the trim the same colour as the wall, just ensure you select a semi-gloss finish, but I would take it one step further with one of these three ideas:
1. Remove the shutters and leave the windows open.
This option is my first choice, because it keeps the space feeling clean, open and allows more natural light in. Which is always a good thing!
In this inspiration photo, I love how the windows open up the space, making it feel bright, airy and modern. [ Source: Apartment Therapy ]
Another example of a fireplace with open windows beside it. Nice and clean! [ Source: Siolf.com ]
Here’s my super quick photoshop job to show how this could look. This looks amazing if I do say so myself!
2. Remove the shutters and frost the windows.
I can appreciate the fact that privacy might be a concern with the first option, in which case I would still remove the shutters, but I would also frost the windows. This will give you the same look, still letting lots of light in, with the added privacy needed.
Another options to add more softness to the space is to consider Roman shades. This can add the privacy as well as a subtle colour and or pattern to the doors. I recommend a very light sheer fabric, that still allows light to enter the room.
Roman shades are a great way to add privacy and add a beautiful softness to the doors! [ Source: My Domaine ]
Love how these french doors have simple, but functional shades to help with privacy issues! [ Source: Decor Pad ]
I’m not actually sure what I would do without photoshop in my life! This makes the space feel a little more traditional, provides the option for privacy without overpowering the wall.
So here you have it, three ways to really make your focal point wall all about that fireplace!
I got eager and needed to see some art on the mantel so I found a statement piece and threw it on to get the effect. I can’t wait to see it all come together, Anne!
Last week I did a Mini Makeover with a client who had lots of ceiling fixtures in her main open concept living space. One above her dining table, once about her couch, one in a nook and one in her formal living room!
It can be overwhelming to find multiple fixtures that work with together and don’t all try to steal the show from each other.
Here’s a few tips on how you can incorporate more than one light in a room.
1. Decide on a statement fixture.
Pick one fixture to be the star of the room. It’s likely the first one you see walking into the room, but whatever you decide be sure that it’s the one that is the focal point and your eye goes to this one first. Once you decide on which fixture is the star, start searching for the perfect light fixture.
Tip: If a fixture is hanging in an area where people will walk below it, ensure there is at least a 7′ clearance. If the fixture is above a dining table or coffee table, you can vary the height.
2. Find an element, shape or style for the additional fixtures that ties them all together.
Finding the statement fixture is easy part. But finding fixtures that will accompany this statement piece is where things get a bit dicey. You want them to feel cohesive, look great but also not steal the show.
Use can consider the elements of the fixtures to tie them together. So maybe they all have gold, maybe they all have wood which makes them feel cohesive, or they each have a similar colour.
You can also consider the shape as a way to tie them together. It doesn’t have to be in an obvious way, for example, one fixture might have multiple round bulbs, and the other two fixtures are globes. The fact that they all have the circular shape tying them together can work.
Another way to tie lights together is by style. For example, you might fixtures that tie in a beach feel or maybe all your fixtures are sophisticated or luxurious.
3. Consider contrasting shapes and/or elements.
Just when you started understanding how to find similar elements to tie the fixtures together, now I’m going to tell you to also ensure there are contrasting elements. Adding contrasting elements creates interest and helps make the statement fixture stand out as well. A simple way to make something a focal point is by having contrasting elements around it.
This is easily accomplished by contracting shapes, colours, and even size.
4. Create a Pinterest board or mood board to see how the fixtures look together.
If you have read previous blogs, or are in my Facebook group, than you know I’m all about planning. It’s key to creating a beautiful, functional space. With that in mind, I strongly suggest creating a Pinterest board or a mood board where you can see all the light fixtures you are considering together to ensure they all work together perfectly.
Once you do this ask yourself…
Does the fixture you intended to be the statement stand out?
Lighting. It seems so simple, I mean, how hard can it be? Throw a light fixture up and flick the the switch. Right?
Lighting is one of the most overlooked elements when decorating a room. People tend to rely on one lighting source, and it’s often the overhead light which is incredible unflattering. If I told you that adding more light into your space would help you look better, would you do it?
I thought you’d say yes.
Check out this Dream Homies TV episode for my three quick tips to create a beautifully lit room. Keep reading after the video for a more in depth overview.
See that face up there, I bet that was the face you made when you heard some of my tips! Not to worry, it’s all manageable, I promise. If you want your space to have a designer-feel, then keep reading, cause I’ve got more deets on how to make it happen.
1. Understand the functionality of your space.
This isn’t the first time I’ve said this. Won’t be the last. But good design starts with an understanding how you use or how want to use your space. Think about the activities you’ll be doing in each room and ensure it’s lit appropriately for each. Here’s some help on things to consider for each room.
Kitchen Lighting: So many activities that take place in the kitchen; preparing food, eating food and even work (guilty as charged!). Recessed lights (aka pot lights) are a great option in the kitchen, be sure to place them on the sides of ceilings to avoid shadows (that unflattering light I talked about in the video). Keep in mind that recessed lights shouldn’t be your only source of light. Your kitchen counters should also be well lit, consider installing lights underneath the cupboards to illuminate your prep space. Islands can also benefit from additional lighting with pendant lights, which can also serve as decorative lighting.
Living Room Lighting: The living room is often the heart of your home. You entertain guests, watch movies, read or play games with family (Pictionary anyone?)! In this space you’ll want a variety of light (see tip 2 for different types of lighting). Think about where you read or whether there is art you want to showcase with accent lighting.
Dining Room Lighting: The dining room is where the family comes together, where you entertain friends and family, and quite often where you’ll do task-related things like work. It should have the option for bright light and dim light. You’ll want an overhead light, and you can also incorporate recessed lighting. I recommend incorporating a light fixture even if you have recessed lighting, it can create a beautiful statement and focal point in the room and layer light beautifully.
Bathroom Lighting: Bathrooms are where we put on make-up, brush our hair and teeth, and in general look at ourselves in the mirror. This is the last place you want unflattering light! Amiright? Whenever possible, opt for lighting on either side of your mirror to help avoid casting unflattering shadows on your face. Recessed lighting is great in a bathroom so long as it’s not the only light source. Showers and baths should have a light above them as well.
Bedroom Lighting: Sure, the bedroom is primarily for sleeping, but if you’re like me it’s also a place your read, work and admittedly…watch tv. Light in the bedroom doesn’t need to be super bright, but key lighting is helpful. Table lamps on either side of the bed will help with things like reading, and can also help “set the mood”. 😉
Home Office Lighting: More and more people are working from home, and if you’re working from home you know how important it is to have a space that energizes, motivates and keeps you productive. Recessed lights can be a great option, but consider your computer monitor and ensure your light doesn’t cast a reflection on your screen. A desk task lamp is important here to help you when writing, reading or sketching. Depending on your job, you might have some achievements to hang on the wall. Art if you’re an artist, diplomas, or maybe just an inspiring piece. Consider accent lighting to help create draw attention to the peice or create a focal point.
The key is to consider everything you want to do in the space, and ensure the lighting you select helps facilitate that, and having it look good never hurts.
2. Incorporate at least 3 light sources in your room.
This is a doozy isn’t it. Most people stop at recessed lights or the overhead light. I get it, most overhead lights are on dimmers, you can blast the light or dim it to the perfect romantic vibe (wow, I got romance on the brain don’t I?).
The thing is, is all well-designed spaces incorporate different types of light. Combining all types of light gives greater functionality, interest, and the likelihood that you will have sufficient lighting. Like everything there are exceptions to every rule, in general though, use this as a rule of thumb and do your best to incorporate three sources when it makes sense.
There are four basic types of lighting that you can consider to get three light sources in your space; ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting.
Ambient lighting: Provides overall illumination and is often on the ceiling. It’s really general lighting for walking around, conversing, and identifying objects.
Task lighting: Provides higher, more concentrated lighting for tasks such as chopping vegetables, shaving, or reading.
Accent lighting: This is similar to task lighting but is used to focus attention, on things like artwork or architecture.
Decorative lighting: This can be any of these three types, but it also brings attention to itself and might even be the focal point of the room, like a chandelier. The important thing to remember is to not select lighting only based on how it looks, performance is important and function should not be compromised for form.
3. Get your lights on dimmers!
If I had my way, every light in my home would be on a dimmer. Dimming helps control your light output to facilitate whatever activity is happening at the time. If you’re entertaining you can dim the light for ambience, if you’re scrapbooking (not that you’ll ever catch me scrapbooking) you can crank the light to the max output for maximum visibility. Plus, by controlling the light output you can actually help save energy! I am never mad at the idea of saving energy.
I recommend switching to dimmers in the most important spaces first, for example your living room and dining rooms. Work with a professional to update your switches and be sure to use dimmer light bulbs.
We moved into our house less than a year ago and haven’t done much in terms of decorating other than unpacking and putting what worked in our old home in various places. Now, we’re about to paint and I’m ready to get things decorated to our taste and make this our home. We have a fireplace that is rather large. The mantle and surround is not exactly our taste, but we’re going to live with it for now. My problem is that this side of the living room feels plain and I need to make it the feature of the room. We are about to paint the whole house, going from a terrible yellowish builder’s beige to a much nicer gray. Above the fireplace and mantel will also be redecorated. 🙂 Here is what I’m considering:
Leave the walls the same color as the rest of the walls and add light/airy curtains to the windows. I’m afraid this will be too heavy with the small space around the windows and take away from the window molding.
Paint the walls above and on the sides of the fireplace an accent color to add interest. Maybe a darker color. Add fabric roller shades or bamboo shades to replace the white plantation blinds to add interest to the windows without adding significant weight and making it seem cramped.
Paint the walls above and on the sides of the fireplace and around the windows, so that whole side of the room is an accent wall.
Do some sort of trim treatment from the mantel to the ceiling, like some sort of board and batten look that would painted to match the mantel/trim color.
Sorry for the terrible lighting… 🙂 I would appreciate any of your thoughts!
First things first, huge congrats on the new house, and I’m excited that you’re going to start making it home by decorating! I always suggest taking time to “get to know your home”, and it sounds like you’ve done just that. So you’re off to a great start!
Before I get into my suggestions and recommendations for your fireplace and mantel, I do suggest downloading my guide to ‘Jumpstart your Decorating Project‘. There are 5 steps I recommend taking before jumping in, these will help you avoid costly mistakes.
Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way! Here are my responses to your considerations…
I agree, curtains will be too heavy and will take away from the fireplace. And I also think you should show off your molding!
I wouldn’t do a painted accent wall here, the fireplace and windows are pretty tight to each other, and I don’t see enough wall surface to do this effectively. It’s always nice to have something that allows you’re eye to rest, you’ve got a lot going on with the architecture here, I wouldn’t add any more with colour. You can create a feature with the fireplace without having to go the accent wall route. But I agree with you on the shades ideas, more on that later!
Still no to the accent wall, for the same reasons already outlined.
While I do really like trim treatment and the board and batten look, I wouldn’t do that here because there isn’t enough flat wall surface on the side of the fireplace to contrast the details. As discussed in #2, allowing your eye to rest is important.
Ok, so now that I have basically poo-pooed your ideas (I’m sorry!), here’s my suggestions on what I would do…in this case I really think less is more.
1. Find art that wows.
I would select art for the mantel that packs some serious punch! Try to find a piece that has three colours in it, you can than infuse those colours into the fabric and accessories throughout the space. In the art I selected, there are really only two main colours, but I felt that the impact of the blue would work really well, and decided I would select fabric with at least three colours in it.
2. Select amazing fabric for the windows.
I would definitely go the roman shade route, I suggest selecting your fabric and having a relaxed roman shade custom-made. I realize this will be more expensive, but you’ll be able to create the exact look and impact you want. Be sure that the fabric is not overpowering the art, the art should be the focal point and the roman shades will play a supporting role.
3. Find simple accessories for the mantel.
Select one large vase and a smaller vase with some flowers to add colour. You want the mantel to be mostly about the art, so the vase and flowers are also just playing a supporting role on the mantel (I’m really hammering home the movie references in this post!)
4. Add a throw pillow to the chair.
The key here is to not get too matchy-matchy with the fabric. Instead select a fabric that incorporates similar colours, but adds a new pattern. Make sure the pattern is either LARGER in scale or SMALLER in scale. If you can’t tell, squint your eyes and if you can’t see a difference, then the scales aren’t different enough.
I photoshopped all the elements together to show you how it could look, it’ll obviously be even better after you paint your space the new grey colour.
I hope this helps, be sure to send an after photo once you’ve finished the space!
Have you ever felt just a bit off in your own home? It might be time to consider feng shui. It may sound like an old, outdated technique, but it is something that is very much in use today. It helps arrange and organize everything, while accounting for the flow of energy. This helps promote relaxation, harmony, and even good fortune (we could all use a bit of good fortune couldn’t we?!).
If you are completely new to feng shui, not to worry. We wanted to give a quick outline of the principles and then show you how to apply them to a room in your home. Let’s do this!
The basics of Feng shui
A good place to start is by describing the core elements involved. You need all five elements in your house, but the key is keeping them balanced. These elements are: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Each piece of decor has inherent elemental qualities.
The chart below outlines the way that these elements help support or reinforce each other:
Life aspiration areas
The next important aspect of feng shui is balancing your home through what are called “Life Aspiration Areas”. These include:
Wealth & prosperity
Love & partnership
You want to support each area using the elements talked about above. Here is how each element will help create or destroy each “Life Aspiration Area”:
When it comes to figuring out a layout for your house, you can easily do this at home with some store-bought materials. For complete instructions check out Shutterfly’s complete instructions ‘The Complete Guide to Feng Shui Bedroom Design‘.
Designing with Feng Shui
Now that you know the basics, it is time to look at designing your rooms. Let’s focus specifically on the bedroom because that is one of the most popular rooms in the house. It is also easier to see how the principles apply to one room and then move outward from there.
Feng Shui and Colour
The colour choice in your bedroom can definitely impact your mood by supporting or negating elements to keep balance. Here is the breakdown of the colours that can hurt or help each element:
Fire colors: red and purple
Earth colors: yellow and orange
Metal colors: white and silver
Water colors: blue and black
Wood colors: green and brown
Feng Shui and Art
When choosing artwork for your bedroom, there a few principles that you should keep in mind. Make sure that you choose relaxing, positive artwork. This will help keep things calm in the bedroom. You also do not want to hang artwork above the bed. This actually makes us tense and afraid that the artwork may fall on us at night!
Lastly, you’ll want to display art in pairs. This helps create a feeling of intimacy and promote relationships. These pairs can actually be photos of two people, or a set of two photos or pieces of art that complement each other.
Here are some other tips for the bedroom:
When you begin feeling stressed than you can consider a room refresh. You will find that all of these tips will begin to make sense as you begin to incorporate them. Feng shui is about keeping a natural balance, and once you start down that path, you will start seeing feng shui in practice all around you. If you find that they work for you, start incorporating them in all aspects of your life. Good luck!
Guest post and images by Shutterfly. Shutterfly helps you turn the photos you love into award-winning photo books, meaningful cards, unique photo gifts, home decor and so much more. We hope to make the world a better place by helping people share life’s joy.