Prepping Powder Rooms For Guests
3 ways to get your powder room party-ready.
With the holiday season just around the corner and festive invitations in full swing, it's the perfect time to spruce-up the one room everyone, from your mother-in-law to your well-meaning neighbour, is sure to pay a visit: the powder room. A few pretty-yet-practical fix-ups will have your guests feeling right at home.
1. Put away the personal stuff. Your guests don't need to see your sensitive toothpaste or discover your penchant for eye creams. When you're expecting company, swap out your personal hygiene products in favour of a small vase of fresh flowers or a seasonally-scented candle, like Fraser Fir.
2. Have spare supplies handy. While you're in the kitchen plating dinner or pouring the bubbly, the last thing guests want to do is bug you about that empty roll of toilet paper. Rather than having to check-in on your powder room's supply levels, keep fresh hand towels in a visible location and tuck spare toilet paper in a place that's obvious, but not too out in the open.
3. Consider a tray on your bathroom counter. Hand lotion, tissue and other toiletries are all items that guests may need during a party. If you want to take this a step further, including a small container of packaged mints will give guests the impression that you've thought of everything, including their needs.
Playing With Pattern
3 pointers for mixing textiles.
If you're looking to make a bold statement, there's an easier way to do it than mixing patterns. While solid colour combinations are always a sensible choice (and a lot easier to get right), a few key tips can help you achieve the patterned space of your dreams.
1. Experiment with scale. To achieve a well-thought-out look, pick patterns of different sizes. Using small and large scale patterns adds variety and helps ensure your overall look feels curated, not cookie-cutter.
2. Don't be afraid to mix styles. Just make sure they relate to the space. Each pattern should have a colourway that works with the other elements in the room. In this example, the tones and styles all have a 1920s English vibe, giving the room an aura of grandeur.
3. Begin with the biggest element. To be sure you get the right mix, start with the largest element in the space and choose your first fabric pattern there. From there, layer in patterns on smaller, less dominant pieces. In this living room, choosing the patterned rug first would be a good starting point.
3 reasons to choose oversized pendant lights.
When it comes to home decor, it can be tough to know which trends are fleeting and which have staying power, but there's one we know is well worth the investment: statement lighting. Replacing your existing fixtures with standout pendants can provide a lot of bang for your decor bucks, and though they come in all shapes and sizes, we think the bigger the better. If you're still on the fence about supersizing your lighting, here's why we're totally on board with the trend.
1. They instantly modernize a space. Whether your style is cool contemporary or classic and traditional, adding oversized pendants is an easy way to push the boundaries. And they come in a range of styles, so you can add some fresh tension without compromising your aesthetic. Just think of it as clicking the refresh button.
2. They're a high-impact focal point. Every room should make a statement, and what better way to set the tone than with lighting? Oversized pendant lights provide visual weight to anchor a space, while adding a healthy dose of drama.
3. They work in a variety of rooms. Here, a pair of matching pendants finishes off a dining area, but oversized pendants would also work above a kitchen island (though if you have a smaller island, opt for a single pendant.) They can also find a happy home over a bed, or in a living room with a central floor plan.
Bright idea: Installing a dimmer switch gives large pendants a soft glow and allows you to adjust the lighting depending on the mood or occasion.
Showing Off Your Art
Tips for curating a better gallery wall.
Everyone loves a gallery wall, and for good reason: they show off favourite paintings, drawings and prints, adding a hit of personality to otherwise boring walls. Take inspiration from this pretty example in H&H editor-in-chief Suzanne Dimma's Toronto home, where she and her husband, Arriz Hassam, expertly mixed metallic and wooden frames for a sophisticated yet eclectic look. Don't be intimidated by your own assortment of images — a mix of styles looks great, as long as you follow a few simple rules to keep it all tied together.
1. Match shapes, not sizes. A mixed grid of different-sized artworks doesn't have to look messy; in fact, symmetry can detract from your collection's individuality. For a stylish and unique look, choose art of various styles and sizes, but keep the shape of the frames consistent, such as the rectangles shown above.
2. Stagger your frames. You don't need to re-frame each piece of art for a uniform finish. As long as you choose frames in complementary tones and materials, your collection will still feel cohesive. If you do need to buy new frames, go for two or three different styles or colours and stagger them in a subtle pattern across the wall.
3. Watch your spacing. You don't have to measure the exact spacing between artworks as long as the overall look is consistent. Test your spacing by stepping away from the wall to view the gallery as a whole. Two pieces should never hang far enough apart that they look like parts of separate collections; nor should they almost touch. As a general rule of thumb, a space of two to four inches between each frame looks clean and professional.
Refresh Your Kitchen
Three ways to spruce up the hub of every party!
It doesn't matter how large the party gets, eventually, everyone always winds up in the kitchen — and who can blame them? It's hard to stay away when mouth-watering smells start wafting from the oven! Of course, kitchens aren't just where you go to sample what's cooking; they're hard-working spaces, too, and they tend to show it. Luckily, a few easy pick-me-ups will make your kitchen so pretty, your guests won't even notice the dirty dishes.
1. Repaint your cabinets. Shelves and storage take up major wall space in most kitchens and dated cabinets can set the tone for the whole room. But that doesn't mean you have to pull them out and start again! In fact, a fresh coat of paint is all it takes to create a dramatically different look. It's finicky work, but goes a long way to freshen up your space.
2. Choose new hardware. Swapping old knobs and pulls for newer styles takes no time at all and you'd be surprised by its impact on the room. There are plenty of chic, affordable options to choose from and, if you do plan to repaint your storage, you'll probably want new hardware to match.
3. Update your light fixtures. Lighting makes all the difference when it comes to creating a cosy interior, but kitchens are often outfitted with fluorescent or other harsh lights that feel far from welcoming. While high visibility is a must for cooking, a couple of added sconces can provide softer light for when the precision work is over. Or, choose a light fixture with a dimmer, which lets you transition from workspace to lounge atmosphere.
Organizing Kids' Rooms
3 easy tips to corral clutter.
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).
Creating Cosy Outdoor Spaces
3 ways to extend the life of your patio.
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.
3 ways to jazz up your dining room chairs.
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!
Making A Cramped Bedroom Feel Spacious
Three quick tips.
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.
Three great reasons to swap your art for storage.
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!