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
Decluttering A Family Room
As home entertainment systems become more sophisticated (or should we say complicated?), it's easy to get crowded out by your own technology. To keep a relaxed feel throughout your home, look for ways to make technology work with your style — or at the very least, store it out of sight. Here's our best advice for keeping that techno-clutter at bay in your living areas.
1. Disguise your console. Why settle for a standard entertainment unit when there are so many chic alternatives to be had? A low-lying cabinet, such as this one, hides the mess and tangle of cords and media players without sacrificing style for substance. While we love the stained auburn of this wooden piece, a sleek, glass-door dresser works equally well and allows your media and remote controls to communicate.
2. Consider a gallery wall. Just like the media console, a large television can stand out like a sore thumb in an otherwise perfectly styled room. Our solution? Get creative and incorporate your flat screen TV into a feature wall of framed art, the more eclectic the better! With all that visual interest, your TV will look right at home.
3. Multitask with baskets. Even with media players and remotes stashed safely away, a well-used entertainment room tends to get cluttered. Creative storage options are a must, like this large wicker basket that doubles as a container for stray blankets and knickknacks. The perfect mix of fashion and function, this hardworking piece even works as an ottoman in a pinch.
House & Home August 2014 issue
Mixing Trad & Modern
Keeping the character of an older home is a classic way to decorate a space, but you may be craving a hit of modern amongst all the traditional bones. Here are some surefire ways to introduce modern touches without permanently altering classic architectural details:
1. Take your trim to the dark side. Painting trim black is a high-impact update to any space — especially one with traditional lines. Try this bold move on baseboards and window trim, doors, or stair railings that need a refresher. For a colourful, less harsh option, opt for navy or dark forest green.
2. Add a hit of primary colour. A chair or accent table in a modern shape and bold colour can add graphic playfulness to a traditional space and create a lovely vignette. If you don't have enough space for a piece of furniture, try a bold piece of art, or even a print with a coloured frame.
3. Pick a new pendant. Another easy move is to update light fixtures, or just the key focal one. Adding an edgy, modern pendant to a largely traditional space will instantly give it a fresh, updated feel.
For a cohesive look, try all three of these moves!
Table, FR 66.
House & Home January 2014 issue