Connect with H&H

Inspiration Board

I only buy one or two special ornaments a year to tell a story or represent a memory. As the holidays approach I look for ways to accent them, rather than buying new ones en masse. This year I decided to set aside my dependable metal hooks and string my ornaments with ribbon for a fresh look. But pretty ribbons can be used for more than hanging decorations on the tree: it's relatively inexpensive, versatile and comes in a variety of hues so you can personalize a colour scheme. Here are some inspiration shots I would love to implement in my own home.

These vintage tin birds, strung on black and white striped grosgrain ribbon, add a touch of whimsy to a bare branch with lichen.

I was inspired by a stunning home we featured in our November 2013 issue to add some fuchsia to my wreaths this year so I had to share this pretty-in-pink advent calendar made from mini stockings. Note: hanging stockings on a beautiful strip of ribbon is a great alternative for homes without a mantle.

Tying flatware with a piece of velvet ribbon adds that extra touch of luxe to a simple table setting. Knot a piece of rolled linen and voilà: an inexpensive napkin ring.

I love this shot because it evokes memories of baking ornaments with my mom. She is rather thrifty so I'm pretty sure we strung the cinnamon cookies with scraps of yarn rather than elegant strips of ribbon, but they were lovely all the same.

Baker's twine in an array of colours is all the rage these days but I still love the look of simple brown string layered over Swiss dot lace. How do you use ribbon in your holiday trimmings?

Photo credits:
1-2. Remals Architecture blog.
3. Betsey White blog.
4. Cook Republic blog.
5. The Mountain Laurel blog.
6. Cozy Cottage Cute blog.


Floriana Paonessa

As readers of H&H know, wallpaper and murals are no longer just a passing trend. They’re a great way to cover your walls with dramatic impact, and they’re here to stay.

What I find intriguing about the new generation of wallpaper patterns from Walls Republic is not only their range of style (there really is a pattern for every person or home), but also how they so beautifully echo various other wall applications like faux finishes or art installations. (This blog is sponsored by Walls Republic.)

Introducing wallpaper into a space is a great way to achieve maximum impact with a minimal budget. Thanks to their innovative non-woven backing, these wallpapers and murals are also incredibly easy to install and take down, making for a quick and affordable DIY project.

I’ve compiled some of my favourite examples of how wallpaper can totally transform the look and feel of a room. It can be used on a feature wall or to cover an entire room, so whether you prefer a subtle pattern or a high-impact print, don’t be afraid to inject a little bit (or a lot!) of personality into your space.

Here are some styles that are catching my eye:

Modern Rustic Style

With the modern farmhouse trend that’s so popular now, many people are considering putting up wood beams on their ceiling and adding cabin-like details throughout their home. Wallpaper can help you achieve this look. I love how this textured wallpaper, above, combines the feel of pieced-together wood with modern geometric lines.

Rich Patterns

Damask and Deco-inspired patterns have been all the rage recently, especially on fabrics, like drapes and upholstery. The only problem is, they can be hard to track down — not to mention pricey. A convenient and easy solution for walls is this style of paper, which replicates the delicate texture of an aged fabric.

Use it to inject old world charm to a feminine sitting room, above.


For a pattern that whispers rather than shouts, this monochromatic stylized floral is on-trend and fashion-forward with just the right amount of visual punch. The pattern itself is formed with glass beads, adding a glamorous and feminine feel while still maintaining an element of neutrality with its tone-on-tone colour scheme.

Optical Illusions

This one feels like a high-end installation screen circa a 1960s Palm Springs bungalo. This pattern, above, has just the right combination of whimsy and sharp minimalist sense — perfect for lovers of graphic art.


We’re seeing murals move from grand houses and estates to smaller, more humble spaces like single family homes (and my apartment!), where wallpaper is used on one wall to create a dramatic focal point. This one looks as though it could be a photograph from a high-end gallery which, blown out in large scale, adds playful dimension to a space. I’d love to someday implement a striking feature wall like this, above, in a small breakfast nook.


For people looking to cover larger walls — like a loft, for instance — a dramatic abstract mural like this cold provide inspiration.

I hope these examples have inspired you to look at wallpaper in a new light. I can’t wait to take on a wallpaper project in my own home!

For more information and to see the full selection of wallpapers available, visit Walls Republic’s website.

I've always loved the look of painted floors. You can hide a lot of "bad" with a good paint job! If your floors are tired looking, or you don't like the colour of the wood, or you simply want to add some interest to them, then this is a relatively affordable option. Adding pattern to your floors with paint takes this idea up a notch. I'm not talking scrolly, stenciled looking patterns on your floor, though. I think graphic, geometric-inspired patterns make this look feel current, and give it a more youthful, modern appeal. The paint colours you choose obviously decide whether the look will be subtle or loud. That's what's so fun — you can customize every detail. These examples below show how painted floors can really add character and personality to a room.

A simple wide stripe is sophisticated but not stuffy.

This time the floor has been given a honeycomb pattern. The light grey on white washed wood softens the look.

No need for a rug in this entryway! And you're guaranteed to smile every time you walk in the door.

I think maybe this blog should be about honeycomb-patterned painted floors! Clearly that's what I'm drawn to. Here's another project by Sara Story. This picture has been seen so many times I know. The floors definitely contribute to making it feel so special.

This time black on white makes the honeycomb pattern bold and dramatic. Great for a dining room!

This would be fun in a kids' playroom. Actually, painted in the right colours, it would also be a fun pattern to paint onto your dining room floor – with your table centered in the middle.

Photo credits:
1-2. Nate Berkus
3. Sarah Story Design
4. Sarah Story Design
5. Grant K. Gibson Interior Design
6. MD Floors


Sally Armstrong

Many of the heritage homes in my neighborhood have gone up for sale over the last few months and I've spent several Saturday afternoons walking through and taking in their charm and individuality. One of my favourite aspects about these old homes is the original flooring, and the beautiful ways it ages with the house. A quirky bump or a hole contributes to the character that has developed over the century.

With proper care a solid wood floor will last a lifetime if not more; however, some types can end up looking tired over the years. Sanding and re-staining are standard procedures to freshen up old hardwood but what about painting? I would be hesitant to alter the original look of a home, but these beautifully painted hardwood changed my mind.

This understated hallway is simply gorgeous with diamond-clad floors. The original layout is still visible beneath the paint, keeping the original charm of the entryway.


Glossy pastel blue floors complement the modest white walls in this pretty little dining room.


Although I love the contrast of rich dark floors and snowy white walls, white on white is a refreshing alternative. The stainless steel seems to melt into this frosty palette, making the wood accents pop.


This all-wood entryway seems cabin-like with full-length white stripes. The contrast of paint and stain is cosy and welcoming.


I love the little imperfections that come with old hardwood. My last home had a heart-shaped hole as soon as you stepped through the front door. Lavish black floors are a great way to disguise blemishes, but there is something really lovely about an old home that flaunts its flaws.

Photo credits:
1. Emmy & Mouse blog.
2. Curious Details blog.
3. Chante, Loup blog.
4. Dreams & Happy Things blog.
5. 47 Park Avenue blog.


Floriana Paonessa

The holidays are fast approaching. Here are five ways to bring festive style to your home from Bombay:

1. Raise The Bar

Set up a well-stocked area for drinks so your guests can serve themselves. The Drummond Bar (below) boasts plenty of organized space for bottles and glassware. Because it's compact, it works well in most living or dining rooms. When not in use, the bar serves as a handsome perch for decorative trays or may be used as an additional buffet surface. (This blog post is sponsored by Bombay Canada.)

2. Welcome Overnight Guests

If you're lucky enough to have a dedicated guest bedroom, play up a luxurious hotel vibe with Bombay's Herning Four Poster Bed. Its carved detailing, rich wood stain and classic canopy create a grand yet cosy retreat. Deep red and gold accents in the Spice Route Bedding Collection help to set a festive theme.

3. Make Room For Everyone

With its generous size — it expands to seat eight to ten people — the Calais Dining Table from Bombay can help you to recreate a bygone era, when formal dinner parties were de rigueur. The rich wood grain and textured inlay table features a double pedestal base. For relaxed dining, the table's expansive surface is ideal for informal buffets.

4. Rethink Your Colour Scheme

Bombay is known for being a destination for traditional Christmas designs in Canada. Their Winterplum ornament collection — resplendent in rich plums, lilacs, mauves and blue purples — offers a fresh change from the traditional red-and-green decorating scheme. Combine with the Bombay Gilded Spruce Collection on a tree or strung on a garland, these ornaments will imbue a room with formal sparkle and sophistication.

5. Give a Signature Gift

Good manners never go out of style. The Glamour Mirrored Jewelry Box from Bombay makes a wonderful gift. It features a richly-detailed velvet interior and is a great way to inject a small dose of Art Deco-inspiration to a dresser or vanity.

A leading retailer of Traditional and Classic furniture styles, Bombay & Company Inc. operates 60 stores across Canada. Visit their website, Facebook page or in-store for style inspiration, special offers and updates on new products!

Plus, sign up for Bombay Canada’s eNewsletter and enter to win a $250 gift card!

I’ve been out on the market scouting lately and the travels have left me with three words top of mind: green. velvet. sofa. And they are all just so pretty, each one lovelier than the one before. I can’t quite decide on a favourite. You?

In a room that’s a monochromatic celebration of greens, this chesterfield-style model is right up my style alley.

This is a fresher more apple-green take on the classic, but I think it has a few dozen too many tufts for my liking.

This one is exquisite and formal with its gilt frame, camel back and deep emerald colour. This one is made for perching (preferably in a fabulous gown and with a glass of champagne in hand).

Ikea has joined in the fun with this special edition Stockholm sofa in the most perfect shade of green on earth. I quite love it.

And in case you worry it’s too daring a colour choice for a big ticket item. Don’t. Green is nature’s neutral — name a colour that doesn’t look gorgeous next to a green field or tree in full leaf. You can’t. Green goes with everything!

Photo credits
1. Adrian Briscoe.
2. Photo by Mark Bolton via
3. Designer Jean-Paul Beaujard. Photo by Miguel Flores-Vianna via Architectural Digest.
4. Ikea Stockholm collection.

Learn about more luxurious winter fabrics here.


Margot Austin

While silver and gold have always been holiday favourites, opulent Deco touches keep the party going year-round.This post isn't for the safe decorator who, come December 1st, will put out a few shiny balls, clink gold rimmed flutes of bubbly and call it a (holi)day. I've compiled some stunning rooms that might tweak an interest if you are toying with Gilded-Age metallics after the New Years' festivities are over.

I just love how the crosshatched texture of this wallpaper gives dimension to this gold hue. The gold and brass accents are contrasted by a husky, humble desk, lending the room a modest note.

This buoyant polka-dot print injects cheer to an already lively space. If the Mad Hatter had a walk-in closet, I think it would look something like this (with a hat rack of course).

An update on traditional floral papers, this metallic leaf print is a striking addition to any space. Although specialty wall coverings like these can be pricey, think of all the money you will save on art!

Being an animal lover, this is by far my favourite. The faint gloss and intricate menagerie would look lovely on an accent wall in an all-white room. The designer chose to add some understated art, a nice way to break up detail.

This homeowner opted for this delicate botanical-print foil wallpaper, adding a playful red bench for a lived-in charm. See more great wallcoverings in our wallpaper shopping guide.

Photo credits:
1-3. Apartment Therapy blog.
4. Paper Boy Wallpaper.
5. Door 16 blog.


Floriana Paonessa

Since my Thanksgiving dinner consists of veggie loaf and cranberry sauce, I get my holiday cheer from the beautiful, understated ways in which homes are decorated this time of year — it's the calm before the magical storm that is Christmas.

To commemorate the harvest, we look to nature, piling gourds on dining tables and lining the doorstep with rows of pumpkins. While browsing ideas for my own Thanksgiving table, I came across some pretty vignettes that make use of  seasonal offerings.

Since there is no rule that your Thanksgiving table must embrace the established orange and brown palette, try something different by incorporating a variety of produce. I love how this homeowner kept their fall table subtle with a creamy white and green palette — contemporary yet still evocative of the harvest.

Having a hard time letting go of summer? This gorgeous pastel spread is reminiscent of sunnier days, but still conveys the Thanksgiving spirit. Note the easy DIY: cut a one-inch hole through the top of a tiny pumpkin, just wide enough to fit a tapered candle.

I like the monochrome white look so these smooth white pumpkins are a fall favourite. Make sure you grab them when you see them, as they can be hard to come by.

If you are a year-round mantel decorator like me, add little hints of fall like magenta-tipped hydrangea mopheads to spice up everyday pieces. I have a very soft spot for these little pumpkins.

I'm crazy about this eclectic ensemble that incorporates both trad and current elements. The tall black candleholders are a beautiful contrast to the lush gourd runner, and the faux antlers add a charming rustic detail.

I can't wait to visit my local farmer's market this weekend to pick my own fall trimmings. Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo credits:
2. The Budget Decorator
3. Domestic Fashionista blog
4. Love of Family and Home blog
5. Emily A. Clark blog


Floriana Paonessa

I'm continuously adding images to my "All About Pink" Pinterest board with rooms decorated with paint, fabric and wallpaper all in various tones of pink. It's surprising how often pink is used in design, and not in the bright bubble-gum shade little girls' rooms are decorated with.

Just check out my Instagram of the sophisticated dining room ceiling Stacey Smithers and I painted in Farrow & Ball's Calamine for the H&H November 2013 issue.

I'm always trying to add pink into our house, especially since I live with three boys. Even though I knew the answer, I asked my husband earlier this year whether I could paint our hallway the new Farrow & Ball Nancy's Blushes paint colour shown above. Unfortunately, it hasn't happened (yet!), but I'm working on other ways of adding pink. Here are a few inspirational images. 

This particular shot was on the cover of Domino. The classic La Fiorentina fabric by David Hicks on the sofa is absolutely stunning.

I love how Carolina Herrara Baez has painted the hall outside her dining room with a lovely shade of pink.

If the room painted black wasn't enough, then the designer added a beautiful pink mohair sofa. 

Both these images have been pinned on my bulletin board in my office for some time. Not only for the palettes, but also the stunning tufted sofas. 

Whether in Palm Beach or a quaint row house in England, painting your front door any of these shades of pink is a great option.

Finally, this past weekend I was running some errands and came across the most beautiful pink pumpkins. I Instagramed a shot of the pumpkins and it created quite the response. I felt purchasing the pumpkins would mean the end of summer and fall would instantly arrive. However, they would look pretty sitting on my front steps.

Photo Credits:
1. Farrow & Ball.
2. Domino magazine via Michael Penney Style.
3. Elle Decor.
4. 47 Park Avenue blog.
5. Lonny Magazine via
6. Vogue Living.
8. Monohomes Living.
9. CocoCozy.
10. Sarah Hartill. 


Sarah Hartill

I've been thinking about taking the plunge on painting a room deep blue for about two years now... OK maybe longer. This is the room above. It's the den in our place in Tweed (used as a location for this story styled by Joel Bray, which appeared in the May 2012 of House & Home). It's actually a third bedroom, but we use it as a TV room because we like the idea of keeping the main living room TV-free. It's furnished with the antique French daybed you see here, plus a pair of comfy armchairs. The walls painted by the previous owners remain the off-white, and the original Edwardian trim retains its original stain. The room is smallish, about 10'-x-11'. With two large windows and 3 doors, that's a lot of dark trim contrasting with white walls. The combination is busy and overwhelms the space.

So here's my first thought: take inspiration from this room designed by Lindsay Coral Harper and coat every surface with a deep moody hue with a touch of sheen — maybe eggshell or even semi-gloss.

I also like this colour — a bit lighter, a bit happier, a bit more cornflower. This is a room in the New York home of textile guru John Robshaw. I like the layered well-travelled vibe.

But then I just recently came across the smoky goodness of this image. So all of a sudden I'm reconsidering the idea of painting the trim the same colour as the walls. This white trim is just so perfect. Worth noting: having a sofa that closely matches the colour of the walls creates a sense of serenity. Hmmmm. What would you do if you were me? Do you have a deep blue paint colour to recommend?

Photo credits:
1. House & Home. Photograph by Angus Fergusson.
2. House Beautiful. Photograph by Ngoc Minh Ngo.
3. Elle Decor. Photograph by William Waldron.
4. AD Epsana via My Favorite and My Best blog.


Margot Austin

Comment Guidelines

We welcome your feedback on H&H reserves the right to remove any unsuitable personal remarks made about the bloggers, hosts, homeowners and/or guests we feature. Please keep your comments focused on decorating, design, cooking and other lifestyle topics. Adopt a tone you would be willing to use in person and do not make slanderous remarks or use denigrating language. If you see a comment that you believe violates any of the guidelines outlined above, please click “Flag as inappropriate.” Thank you.

Syndicate content