Organizing Kids' Rooms
Give kids an inch... and they'll fill it with toys, crafts and clutter! Their youthful enthusiasm and carefree attitudes are endearing, but you probably wish they were a little more concerned with tidying — which is why careful organization is a must. Don't worry. With the help of these three tips, cleaning up won't feel so much like a chore (and your kids may even want to help!).
1. Repurpose picture ledges. Thin ledges, usually intended for holding art, are a great way to display (and store) your child's collection of picture books or other small toys. They take up very little room and give children the chance to show-off their favourite stories or trinkets. In fact, let the kids take ownership of the "picture wall" and they'll happily reorganize it on their own!
2. Choose a bed with storage. Most major furniture retailers now offer kid-sized beds with built-in drawers, like this one from Ikea. It's one of the simplest ways to hide the clutter of play-time and doesn't require any extra room. Plus, the sliding drawers are easy to access and low enough for tiny children to help put their toys away.
3. Get creative with the nightstand. By tipping a wooden box on its side, you'll get a bedside table and storage in one — not to mention a playful prop! The reclaimed-wood table adds a rustic note to this sweet space, and it'll appeal to any kid who likes a bit of adventure or outdoor play (just don't tell her it's the tidier option, too).
Crate, bunting, pushpins, La Merceria; sheet set, gingham pillow, pillowcases, Pottery Barn; wall colours, Daiquiri Ice (2034-70), Pewter (2121-30), Benjamin Moore; lamp, Queen West Antiques Centre; bed, Ikea.
House & Home May 2013 issue
Creating Cosy Outdoor Spaces
Fall's gorgeous colours are more than enough motivation to brave the cooler weather — especially for those of us with outdoor spaces where we can enjoy them! It's easy to get your patio autumn-ready with just a few smart additions; here are our three favourite ways to extend outdoor entertaining season long after summer's beers and barbecues have been put away.
1. Provide plenty of warm cover-ups. The quickest and easiest way to overcome the rapidly cooling temperature is, of course, a blanket (or two or three). If you're hosting an outdoor party, give your guests a choice of luxurious wraps, such as wool blankets, fleece shawls or gorgeous faux fur throws. Bundled up against the crisp air, they'll feel like they're on holiday in the Swiss Alps.
2. Add some extra heat. A beautiful outdoor fireplace, like the one pictured here, is ideal, but there are plenty of affordable alternatives, too. Standing heat lamps are a great way to warm up your patio and with many finishes and styles to choose from, they're an attractive option as well. Or, if you're looking for something unobtrusive, a small electric heater or tabletop lantern could be a better choice. Even large candles will provide a bit of heat.
3. Take your rug outside. Wearing slippers or socks outdoors feels like a special treat, especially in the dramatic autumn weather, but stone or concrete floors can be freezing underfoot — and it can make for a lot of extra laundry! Lay down a thick rug for an extra layer of insulation. You can even borrow one from inside, as long as there's no sign of rain.
House & Home May 2014 issue
When decorating for the holidays or hosting Thanksgiving dinner, it's easy to look around and feel a bit bored by your dining room decor. Sure, seasonal table settings can go a long way to liven up the room, but it's the furniture that provides the foundation of your look, and what better place to start than with your chairs? Whether you're looking for a five-minute fix or a major overhaul, we've got you covered with three simple ways to change up the seating at your holiday table.
1. Choose unique end chairs. The heads of the table are usually reserved for people of honour, whether that means grandparents, special guests or the chef. For the quickest pick-me-up around, try swapping your two end seats with chairs from other rooms in the house — the grander, the better! They'll add character to your dining room and make your guests feel extra special.
2. Add hardware for a bit of shine. Metallic details look chic year-round, but it's hard to deny that a bit of sparkle adds festive charm as well. If you own upholstered chairs, add metal studs along the edges or to the backing and cushions, at intervals, for a classic, quilted look. A single weekend is all you need for this great trick.
3. Bite the bullet and reupholster. It's a little more labour-intensive, but fresh upholstery can completely change the feel of your dining room. Go bold and choose fabrics in contrasting colours for the front and back of each chair; the idea may seem intimidating, but chairs with a colourful front and neutral back look surprisingly subtle, especially when in use, since seated guests hide some of the colour!
House & Home October 2013 issue
Making A Cramped Bedroom Feel Spacious
Ideally, a bedroom should be a relaxing retreat. Too bad they're just as likely to be part dressing room, part workspace and part extra storage! And when you're living in a small space, it's even harder to create a room that feels spacious and uncluttered. Luckily, we have a few tips to help you streamline your space. Maybe you can have that personal haven after all!
1. Use paint to create the illusion of an alcove. A coat of high-contrast paint visually separates the bed from the rest of the room, creating the illusion of a cosy sleeping nook that feels removed from the rest of the space.
2. Replace your nightstand with a floor lamp. You don't have to be obsessed with minimalism to see the beauty in a streamlined look. Ditch your bedside table and table lamp in favour of a floor lamp to free up precious space without losing the light. Now there's a bright idea!
3. Reconsider your dresser. Missing your nightstand? If you can't do without bedside storage, simply slide your dresser next to the bed for a spot to stash your nighttime read.
House & Home September 2012 Issue
Insufficient storage may seem like a deal breaker, but luckily, an abundance of chic, new storage units make it easy to get the benefits of built-ins without the cost. There's a catch — you'll have to give up some wall space, which means fewer spots for wall art, but it's worth it. Standing cabinets may take up a little more room, but they go a long way to cut down on small-space clutter. Here are three reasons why we love this idea.
1. Bright, reflective cabinets trick the eye. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, sacrificing 20" along one wall can make your room feel larger — as long as you use the right materials! Choose cabinets with a light, reflective surface. They'll bounce light, working like a mirror to make your room look brighter and more spacious.
2. One art-free wall focuses your home gallery on another wall. As important as art is in the home, lavishly decorated walls can look messy, especially in a small room. Instead, group your favourite pieces on a smaller wall, and use a larger wall for storage. Smooth, handle-free cabinets will help create that clean, curated look in your home.
3. They're budget-friendly. Custom-built cabinets can be a huge investment, but many furniture brands offer fantastic freestanding storage solutions at affordable prices. These Ikea cabinets (above) look super-stylish and can be installed in a single afternoon. Easy!
Cabinets, rugs, armchair, boxes, Ikea.
House & Home August 2014 issue