Trading In Typical Nightstands
Typically nightstands come in fairly standard sizes, so we often see bedrooms with too-small nightstands next to a larger bed. If you have a small nightstand with lots of empty space next to it, consider a larger piece of furniture instead of a nightstand. Keep the proportions and size of the room in mind when choosing new furniture, of course.
If you have the space to swap out your nightstand for something larger, and need to maximize storage, try a dresser. Other great options are a console table, writing desk or vanity table. The larger surface area is the perfect spot to store more books, boxes and decorative objects, plus offers the functional advantages of a writing desk or vanity. Try using a tray to corral items together.
Remember that you don't need matchy-matchy nightstands in a bedroom, and it's much more interesting if they're different sizes and have different functions — closed vs. open storage, for example.
If you only have space for one small nightstand, you can still swap it out for something more interesting: Try an ottoman with a tray on top, a stack of suitcases or books, a rustic stool or even a small chair if you don't need extra storage. If you do need storage, how about a basket under a leggy chair? The possibilities are endless! Be creative and think outside the nightstand.
Wall colour, Pale Powder (204), Farrow & Ball; console, Ikea; rug, duvet, cover, Elte; pillows, coverlet, Lucca; headboard fabric, Designer Fabrics; table lamp, green-framed painting, Burnett; suitcases, 1212 Décor; stool, ChairTableLamp; blue box, green tray, L'Atelier; gold boxes, pink and cream stone boxes, tabletop mirror, perfume bottles, jewelry, Cynthia Findlay Antiques; wood boxes, framed clover, Angus & Company; hanging mirror, Morba.
House & Home Best Decorating 2012 special issue
Creating The Perfect Gallery Wall
Gallery walls are definitely a challenge, and although there are plenty of tips on how to figure out your layout, there are a few important things to consider first.
1. Choose varying sizes. A common mistake is to choose art that is too small. Take into consideration how large your wall is and be sure to scale your pieces accordingly. Too many small pieces on a large wall can look overly crowded and busy. Choose pieces that vary in size and shape to create different focal points — the larger pieces will attract the eye, while the smaller pieces will become the supporting elements. Shake up the look with something that is oddly shaped like a piece of sculpture that isn't framed.
2. Think outside the frame. If you have the opportunity to do so, try to incorporate furniture. Adding a console or credenza to the gallery wall will provide a surface for elements like sculpture or lighting that become a part of the gallery, making it more dynamic and interesting.
3. Make use of the whole wall. A gallery wall should feel loose and collected, and if your gallery is strictly concentrated at eye level or the centre of the wall, it can feel unfinished. Utilize negative space near the ceiling and floor, even though it may feel unnatural to hang art that high or low. Once you step back, the entire collection will feel more finished.
See our photo gallery of Great Gallery Walls for more tips and inspiration.
House & Home March 2011 issue
Embracing Furniture Without Closed Storage
Sometimes getting a furniture piece loaded with drawers and cubbies is tempting — think of all of the storage potential! But before you put practical storage pieces all over the house, think about whether or not you really need the storage. Sometimes we choose a piece of furniture for its amazing storage capacity and then end up crowding every drawer with odds and ends that we don't really need. Sound familiar?
Here are some inspirational reasons to trade a clutter-filled catch-all for an airy and simple piece.
1. A fresh look. There's something about a piece of furniture that has a bold, simple shape and sculptural appeal that makes a statement. It can have the same effect as adding a piece of art to your space. Cupboards and chests have a place in our lives — and we certainly need storage in some areas of the home — but swapping one heavy piece for a simpler or lighter piece can immediately give the whole space a fresh look.
2. Floor space. The more floor space that you see in a room, the larger the room feels. That's why chairs and sofas with taller legs are great for small spaces, because your eye follows the floor that continues underneath the furniture and the room feels more expansive. Swapping out a heavy storage piece for something leggy can add precious "perceived space" to your room.
3. Storage for extra seating. A sleek Parsons-style table like the one shown above adds another type of "storage potential" to your space: seating potential. Instead of storing bits and pieces in drawers, you can slide a beautiful bench or a pair of stools underneath that can be used as extra seating on a whim. This look is still tidy and uncluttered, but adds a whole level of additional functionality.
Vases, Fleur de Juin; artwork, Escaliers by Martin Girard, Jean-François Gratton, Jean-François Lemire and Pierre Manning.
House & Home October 2012 issue
Adding Industrial Elements
Is your plain kitchen lacking a je ne sais quoi? Adding some industrial elements and warm accents can give a lacklustre kitchen new life. Here are three key elements to include in the transformation:
1. Open shelving. This can be as simple as adding a shelf on an empty wall, or you can remove upper cabinets and replace them with multiple shelves or a shelving unit. If February blues have you down and you don't have the energy to mount shelves, pick up a free-standing metal shelf like this one from Ikea.
2. Rustic texture. Throw in some worn-looking wood with a reclaimed wood table or some old stools. Or create a faux-brick feature wall with a wallpaper or wall treatment that looks like brick. Even small accents with some patina like old cookbooks or well-used wooden cutting boards can add warmth. Part of this industrial look is staying away from things that look too "new," so imperfections are a good thing.
3. Layers. Finish off the look with a colourful but classic patterned rug and some artwork to give the space a layered look. Vintage posters or black and white photography look right at home in this kind of space.
Cabinets, Aya Kitchens.
House & Home March 2014 issue
Beautifying A Bookcase
A classic bookshelf is an essential part of any stylish home — and not just to wrangle treasured volumes. When they're organized with flare, they treat your prettiest books and memorabilia like art. But if the library space of your dreams is a jumbled mess in reality, we've got you covered. Here's how you can organize your shelving with storage and style to spare.
1. Play with layers and levels. Variation is key to creating a unique and visually exciting set of shelves. First, try mixing vertically stacked books with horizontal piles, which can become platforms for your favourite decorative objects and sculptures. For a fun, layered look, you can also lean photographs or other art along the back wall with smaller objects in front.
2. Draw the eye up. If possible, try to keep your upper shelves curated and clean, as clutter will be far less noticeable on those bottom shelves. A good rule of thumb is to place the bulk of your storage below eye level and highlight upper shelves with your best showstoppers, like gorgeous art books or plants.
3. Conceal the clutter. Another way to deal with an untidy bookshelf is to use large, attractive boxes or baskets to hide the worst crowding. Place boxes on the tall bottom shelves and fill them to your heart's content — or to capacity, whichever comes first! It's the lazy trick to an enviably clean library.
Maison & Demeure October 2013 issue