Reimagining The Accent Wall
Accent walls have always played a large role in the decorating world, but lately we are seeing a movement away from one bold wall to different approaches that incorporate and elevate the design of an entire room. The following tricks will help spread the focus so that no matter which direction you're facing, there's always something interesting in the room to admire.
1. Accent Ceiling
Try something bold and daring with your ceiling. Paint it a soft colour for a subtle accent or go dark and bright for a more dramatic effect.
2. Accent Moulding
Moulding is a great way to add character to a room. Try painting your plate rail mouldings the same colour as the accent ceiling to bring a hint of colour down to the top edges of the wall. Alternately, try a bold wallpaper or paint colour, and leave the plate rail mouldings as a plain and clean transition to the ceiling. You can also play with moulding sizes and locations on the wall. Try wallpapering underneath chair rail mouldings and painting the top half of the wall a subtle hue to create interesting horizontal lines around the room.
3. Accent Floor
It's easy to forget about the floor when looking for ways to add creativity to a room, but it's a large blank canvas for creating an amazing statement. Although it's not for everyone, try a patterned tile or a painted wood floor for a dramatic effect. For something less permanent, a patterned or boldly coloured rug is a great alternative.
For more ideas, read about Sally Armstrong's favourite wallpaper for accent walls.
Mirror, console, Kantelberg + Co.; chair rail, Central Fairbanks; tricylcle, The Door Store; stool, Pimlico Design; black vase, William Ashley China; purple bottle, Avenue Road; knob, Lee Valley Tools; wall colours, All White (2005), Off-Black (57), knob colour, Brassica (271), Farrow & Ball.
House & Home May 2014 issue
Transforming A Stuffy Sofa
Do you love pillows so much that they're taking over your space? This easy solution will allow you to maintain that plentifully pillowed sofa, while keeping it functional. If you have loose back cushions, remove them and replace them with some of your favourite throw pillows — problem solved!
Step 1: Start by removing the back cushion(s) of your sofa. This will free up space and give you lots of room to play with pillow sizes and layers.
Step 2: Replace the back cushion(s) with two or three larger euro pillows, depending on the size and depth of your sofa. You'll want to make sure that these pillows are firm and supportive, as they will act as your new, more relaxed back cushions.
Step 3: Start layering. With a back cushion foundation in place, you can begin layering and adding character with smaller throw pillows. For a fun boho-chic look, play with patterns and colours, or opt for neutral and solid pillows for a more clean and crisp style.
Learn more about styling a sofa in this Online TV segment.
House & Home September 2013 issue
Updating A Bathroom
It's not always necessary or possible for a makeover to involve renovation. Sometimes a few simple fixes can completely refresh a dated space. Here are some of our favourite ways to refresh a bathroom:
1. Add a small tropical plant or some fresh cut flowers. If you don't have enough counter space for a large vase, try placing a small bud vase on the windowsill or add a small stool or side table next to the sink or tub to increase your surface space.
2. Hang new art. Hanging something on the wall in a bathroom or powder room is an opportunity to decorate that is often missed in this kind of space, but can add loads of character.
3. Change your shower curtain. It's a huge component in a small space and can alter the entire mood and style of the bathroom. Something bright and colourful like the one shown here can add fun energy to an otherwise serene bathroom.
4. Update cabinet hardware. Sometimes a vanity could use a good coat of paint, but it may be that yours could benefit from a simple hardware switch to something more current.
5. Swap out your faucet. You may want to reserve this one for when your current one gets leaky, but once you have the opportunity, take advantage of updating the style. Something bold like the black one featured here will add drama to a small space.
6. Update your lighting. Improved illumination can make the biggest difference in a small bathroom makeover. Think about the level of light that would be the most functional for you and the direction of illumination that you would prefer. Sconces hung at eye level on either side of a mirror can cast a softer, more flattering glow than an overhead fixture.
7. Paint! When done yourself, painting walls one of the most cost effective ways to transform a space. You can even paint tiles now with the right paint.
Sure, a complete overhaul can transform a dated bathroom, but sometimes all a space needs is a little lipstick!
Vanity, sink, Ikea; wall tile, floor tile, Beyond Tile & Stone; pencil rail, Saltillo; toilet, Kohler; window, Fieldstone Windows; blind fabric, Designer Fabrics; picture light, Hudson Valley Lighting; blind sewing, Tonic Living; floor heating system, Nuheat; wall colour, Borrowed Light (235), Farrow & Ball; construction, plumbing, electrical, Ikea Installation Services.
House & Home April 2014 issue
Choosing Mismatched Dining Chairs
It's not news that a coveted look in dining rooms now is having different chairs that don't match your dining table, but how can you achieve this mismatched look in a way that still seems put together? There are different variations and degrees of this look to suit anyone's comfort level. Here are some tips to achieving whichever one is right for you, should you feel that it's time to break up your matching set!
1. All of the chairs are the same but don't match the table.
In this combination, the goal is to make sure that the finish and colour of the table are clearly different than the finish and colour of the chairs, otherwise it will look like a set. If the finishes are too close, it may look like you tried to match the colours, but didn't get it quite right. So the key to this look is to go bold; pair a painted table with wooden chairs, or vice versa, for a really dramatic effect.
2. Most of the chairs are the same but the two end chairs at a rectangular table are different from the rest.
In this look, you can have a matching table and side chairs, and two different end chairs, or have contrasting side chairs and end chairs. In a more formal dining room, try two large upholstered chairs as your end chairs, or in a more casual setting, choose end chairs in a bright and bold colour.
3. All of the chairs are different from each other.
This look can be the trickiest, but also very rewarding when you've got it right! You can also take your time and save loads of money by picking up chairs here and there at garage sales and thrift stores. The key here is to choose chairs with a common element. Maybe they're all similar in finish, wood tone or colour, but different in shape. Like painting out various old wood chairs in the same glossy black, for example. Or maybe they're all similar in shape or style, but different in finish, wood tone or colour. Like all Wishbone chairs in different colours, for example.
Of course it's also possible that you want a collected, eclectic look, and prefer to pick up chairs that don't have a common element, which can also be a fun look!
Find more inspiration in our photo gallery of Mix & Match Dining Chairs.
Glassware, pink vase, white, pink and black resin bowls, salt bowl, Pimlico Design Gallery; cutting board, Elte; pendant, Snob; rug, EQ3; table top, Hardware Interiors; Wishbone chairs, Hollace Cluny; Thonet chairs, Design Within Reach; artwork (right) by Alanna Cavanagh; wall colour, Cloud White (CC-40), Benjamin Moore.
House & Home December 2014 issue
Paring Back For Spring
Not sure where to start with your spring cleaning? How about paring back, simplifying and decluttering? Start with one room at a time so it's not too overwhelming. Here are some tips for making your rooms a little less cosy and a little more airy.
1. Pare back furniture. Take a look at your big pieces of furniture and reduce where possible. Only keep your essential pieces and consider selling or storing things you may not use like small end tables, poufs and ottomans (the small pieces we introduce for a layered, cosy look in the winter months). There should be breathing space around the pieces that you do keep. Clear as much clutter off of the floor as possible (stacks of boxes, books, toys, etc.).
2. Reduce clutter. Next, clean up your surfaces. Can you reduce the decorative items on your coffee and side tables? Can you move some of the small appliances on your kitchen counters into cabinets or a pantry? Can you store things on your bathroom counter in cabinets underneath instead? Try to edit the items in plain sight to just those that need to be out. The key to keeping this functional is to store the items very close and easily accessible to where they're used most often. If you have to fumble around in a cabinet because it's too full, you'll be less likely to put it away. While you're on a roll, maybe purge your cabinets of things you don't use. Be honest with yourself about how often you use something. If it's not often, perhaps you can go without and give it to someone who will actually use it.
3. Look up. Lastly, have a look at your vertical spaces like walls and bookshelves. Is your home (or one room) painted multiple colours? Sticking to a monochromatic colour scheme can bring a sense of calm and minimalism to a space. Do you have a busy gallery wall? Consider paring it back a bit. Or swap the smaller pieces for a few larger ones, so that there are fewer pieces but the gallery still fills the same amount of space. Go through what's on your bookshelves; keep what you actually use as is, and corral smaller bits into large display boxes.
In the end, a minimal look can have varying degrees, and you have to choose what's right for your taste and lifestyle. But starting out with these tips can jump start your spring cleaning. Happy organizing!
Find more inspiration in our photo gallery of Jennifer Post's Minimalist Spaces.
House & Home September 2014 issue