How To Make A Bold Impact In A Sleek Space
If there's one way to make good decorating great, it's contrast — the addition of a bold accent in a sleek, minimalist space effortlessly elevates the entire room. But it takes a deft hand, like Toronto based fashion photographer Carlyle Routh's, to master the look. Here are three lessons we learned from her mod living room.
1. Choose Floating Furniture
The key to achieving a visually light look is floating furniture, like Carlyle's mod sideboard. But if a completely floating piece isn’t available — or not to your taste — it's easy to get a similar effect by choosing slim-legged furniture (like the mod, black chair) or going with architectural pieces that don't have a traditional structure, like her two-legged bookcase.
2. Try A Monochromatic Look
Matching your furniture to the wall colour also creates the visual illusion of a larger space, and allows other elements in the room to stand out. Above, the mostly white space is chic, and its sleek and simple lines provide the perfect backdrop for a few high contrast pieces, like a large piece of graphic art — a photo Carlyle took herself — and a sculptural black chair.
3. Reduce Clutter
Remember, negative space is a clever way to create a focal point. Keep the rest of the styling in the space minimal so that the pieces you want to stand out can make a clear statement. In Carlyle's living room, crowding the wall with more art would lessen the impact of the large piece, which instead feels striking on its own.
House & Home April 2015 issue
Using Ledges In Different Rooms
Ledges are something we feel need to be revisited and re-imagined, as they can be useful in nearly every room. Here are a few ways you can use ledges:
1. In a washroom, tiles are usually finished with a cap. Instead, try using a wider ledge that can hold decorative items. It's a playful spot for display, but will also eliminate clutter from the countertop. In Suzanne Dimma's bathroom (pictured above), the ledge makes up for the lack of counter space with a floating sink, storing perfumes and other toiletries. To distract from the functional elements, she's added a few pieces of art.
2. In a dining room, placing the ledge higher on the wall (approximately 5 feet or so) is called a plate rail. The plate rail on its own adds a nice touch to any room, but it's also an opportunity to display smaller pieces of art or decorative oddities without having to install a shelf or make room for a hutch. This look works best if the plate rail frames the entire room, and only one wall's ledge is decorated.
3. In a bedroom, a ledge spanning across the same wall as the headboard can provide the perfect place to rest small objects so that you can keep your bedside tables clear, or even forgo tables altogether. Add some pretty wall sconces to complete the look.
House & Home February 2015 issue
Incorporating Hidden Storage
Storage is the one thing we just can't get enough of.
Toronto realtor Emily Norris cleverly capitalized on the empty wall in her lakeside bungalow kitchen by installing an open bookcase. This simple addition provided her with an entire wall of storage for items that she uses daily, which can easily be covered with a white curtain when she wants a tidier space.
Not only is this a functional solution, but a curtain is also inexpensive and offers easy access to everyday items, as opposed to storing them in a closet or storage room. This type of storage can be incorporated into any space: an unused wall in a bedroom, bathroom or entryway. Be creative! For a less cluttered look, you can substitute the bookcases with inexpensive floating shelves from a big box store.
Tour this home (above) on Online TV.
House & Home June 2012 issue
Disguising Your TV
TVs are often the focal point of a living room, but from a design perspective, they're an eyesore. In the condo featured above, designer Tommy Smythe cleverly customized the kitchen peninsula to provide a perfect hiding spot for the TV. The dark cabinetry colour paired with the layout of the space makes this a perfect solution for a small open-concept condo.
Taking cues from Smythe, we've come up with 3 other clever ways to disguise your TV:
1. Built-in cabinets are a practical way to hide a TV out of sight while providing additional storage space. Have them custom-designed for your living room or den, or put together an affordable set from a big-box store that works for your space.
2. A gallery wall is another option to distract from the TV itself. Mount your flatscreen TV to the wall, then simply hang your favourite art pieces (varying sizes works best) around it to draw attention away from the TV. If a gallery wall is too busy for your space, opt for an off-centre approach and hang one or two photos on one side of the TV.
3. An oversized console is a great way to distract from the TV. Using a console or credenza that is much wider than your TV will draw the eye along the line of the console rather than focusing on the TV, and provides plenty of open display for other decorative pieces like sculptures and vases.
The trick is to turn your TV into background noise and not showcase it as a feature in the room.
Tour the condo above on Online TV.
House & Home April 2015 issue
Finding The Perfect Indoor Planter Pots
Flowers have always been a traditional and effective way to inject colour and life into a room, but having to replace them every week can be costly and time consuming. But don't give up on bringing nature indoors — pick up a few potted plants!
Consider replacing your dining room or entryway flower arrangement with a flowering potted plant, or add some variety to your basic bookshelf or desk with small succulent plants. Requiring little to no maintenance, plants come in all sizes, shapes and colours — and planters do, too!
Here are some of our favourite picks for unique planters that make a statement:
1. Fridfull Planter, Ikea. Outfit this affordable planter with a plastic liner for a relaxed boho vibe.
2. Iris Planter and Chevron Stand, West Elm. Perfect for succulents or smaller plants, this pot comes outfitted with a stand and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
3. Concrete Pot with Saucer, CB2. At just 7" high, this modern planter is perfect for a bookshelf or desk.
4. Pleated Planter, Umbra Shift. This handmade planter has a unique pleated detail that sets is apart, and comes with a self-watering wick for those without green thumbs.
5. Ferm Living Hexagon Pot, The Modern Shop. Made of solid brass in a matte finish, this hexagonal pot would add a contemporary hit to any table top.
6. Modernica Case Study Ceramic Bullet Planter, YLighting. A rounded charcoal or white pot for larger plants or arrangements, which is suitable for outdoors, too.
7. Carnivale Medium Aqua Planter, Crate & Barrel. Add colour to your space with this two-tone terracotta planter, available in aqua, yellow or red.
No need to wait for warmer temperatures to start digging in some dirt — get a head-start with some indoor plants this weekend! Happy spring!
House & Home March 2013 issue