Decorating & Design

August 24, 2009

Pretty Treasures

Pretty Bits - inspiration

Sure makeovers are fun, but sometimes it’s the small touches — the pretty bits — that really bring a place to life. And you know what? They can be cheap and easy to do! Adding that little something can do wonders — you don’t always need an overhaul. Here are a few tricks from my home:

Pretty Bits - clear glass lamps

We all love those simple clear glass lamps made popular by Ralph Lauren and his ilk, but here is an affordable version. It’s the Ljusås Usta from Ikea ($70) and I switched out the shade for another Ikea model to get a shape I liked better. I love the cloth-covered cord and how it twists inside.

Pretty Bits - vintage silver vase

You know I love vintage, and silver is one of my favs! Old silver like this vase can be found at junk shops for a song and used in so many ways. I’m especially loving the grimy tarnished look these days paired with fresh blooms in the bathroom, but it can also look quite posh when polished up. When the flowers fade it makes an elegant and unexpected toothbrush holder.

Pretty Bits - recycled glass vases

We all know the importance of being green and practicing the three Rs. Save any pretty little bottles and use them for a fresh display like this one. It’s so easy to break up one little bunch of flowers from the corner store into bottles like this. It really makes each flower look more important and you can spread them out along a table or mantelpiece.

Pretty Bits - wallpaper, bulletin board, ribbon]

The entranceway of my apartment building was looking a little rough and it didn’t help when people kept taping notes onto the wall for other residents to see. I used an inexpensive corkboard, some leftover wallpaper, ribbon and my printer to make a welcoming bulletin board.

Pretty Bits - Bulletin Board

Now, residents and guests are greeted with a cheery notice wall and a little colour and design. It’s fun and makes me smile when I come home instead of rolling my eyes!

Pretty Bits - vintage plates with cheap ikea and dollarama bowls

Display your stuff! I have an issue with collecting and I’m trying to stop. But since I like the things I’ve collected, I’m going to show them off. This entirely functional tableau in my kitchen is made up of pasta bowls from Ikea, café au lait bowls from Dollarama (yes, $1!), and a vintage plate from my mom’s house. We always ate our birthday cake off this little beauty. Bottom line — all very cheap!

Pretty Bits - old oil paintings

Old-school art is another trick of mine. I look for little oil paintings, sketches and even paint by numbers like this one at thrift shops. It seems like everyone was an amateur artist back in the day, and these humble little works add personality and wit. Oh, and if you like the painting but hate the frame (which happens 85% of the time for me) just tape off the artwork and paint the frame white!

Pretty Bits - potted plants

I love a potted plant in a terracotta pot but I think they’re that much cuter with a little vintage saucer underneath. I pick these up at garage sales and throw them under my potted plants to catch extra water.

Remember to add those layers and details and your place will sing with style in no time!

Photo credits:
{frolic!}, August 13, 2009
Michael Penney