Help Me With… New FAQ

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Rugs add comfort and visual interest to a space, and help unify its furnishings. But before you buy, beware: this is one area of decorating where size and placement really matter. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your rugs make the most impact.

Note: If your rug doesn’t reach under all the furniture in your room’s central area, it’s too small.

In a standard living or family room:

A rug should be proportional to a room’s floor space. Ideally, it should leave an equal amount of floor bare all around it, such as two feet beyond the carpet on all sides. This applies regardless of obstacles like fireplace hearths, radiators and furniture set against the wall.

If you can’t achieve this, an alternative is to place your rug so that it reaches under all or most of the furniture in the central area of your room to unify the seating arrangement. However, it isn’t essential that the back legs of sofas or chairs sit on the carpet.

There shouldn’t be more than two feet of empty rug beyond the furniture. If, when a seating arrangement is in place, there is more than two feet of rug behind a sofa or chair, set a table there to fill the empty space.

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In a dining area in a larger room:

If your dining area is part of a larger room – perhaps it’s a large breakfast room within a kitchen- its rug should extend beyond the edges of the table by 18 to 24 inches on each side. Ideally, the chairs should sit on the rug even when pulled away from the table.

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In a combined living/dining room: 

The same rules for sizing and placement apply to rugs in open-concept or dual- function spaces, where two rugs are used to define distinct spaces, perhaps a living area and a dining area. Follow the rules for living and dining areas; just be sure that there is some space between the two rugs.

In a bedroom:

Use the same rule as in a living room: choose a rug that leaves approximately two feet of bare floor at the edges. However, if your bed is not centered in the room (and this is often the case), centering the rug under the bed could look awkward. As an alternative, use two or three smaller rugs in the bedroom – one on each side of the bed, and perhaps a third at the end of the bed- instead of one large rug.

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Photographer: 1. Colin Way, House & Home March 2013; 2. Michael Graydon, House & Home December 2013; 3. Angus Fergusson, House & Home July 2013

Designer: 1. Nam Dang-Mitchell; 2. Tommy Smythe, Lindsey Levy and Lindsay Mens Craig, Sarah Richardson Design

Source: House & Home Decorating 101

Stylist: 3. Holly Meighen

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Framed artwork and pictures add a splash of color and character to a space. It may seem simple to just add one to any given wall, but there are rules to be followed. A wall beside a pretty window, for example, doesn’t need to be filled with art; the view should be the focal point. Don’t hang pictures too high or at different heights in a room. Keep them at the same level so your gaze doesn’t jump up and down from piece to piece. Here are some tips that will help you make the right decision when displaying art in different areas of your home!

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1. “Ground” your art by hanging it above a sofa, chair or table. Think of each pairing as a single unit; the furniture anchors the work, and you’ll avoid a “floating” effect.

2. Consider proportion. Choose a larger picture, or a pairing of pictures, to hang over substantial furniture, like the sofa; place smaller works over a table or chair.

3. Centre pieces – 6″ to 8″ over a sofa or chair, 8″ to 10″ above a table – with enough room to accommodate the height of books or a vase. Or use this rule of thumb: the center of each picture should be about 60″ from the floor.

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4. Large works above a mantel become a key focal point in any room. If a favorite mirror or picture is too small, hang it with a piece of a similar size or flank it with sconces.

5. Test drive a picture by leaning it against the wall atop a piece of furniture. When you’re sure it’s right for the spot, then commit to putting a hole in the wall.

Tip: If you’re hanging pictures in a group, trace each work onto paper and tape the templates to the wall. Rearrange the templates until you find a configuration you like. Measure down from the top of each frame to where the hook will be and poke a pencil through the paper to mark the spot. Hammer nails through a piece of tape to avoid making cracks in the wall. If using two nails to support a heavy picture, use a level to make sure the nails are at the same height.

6. Though you may be tempted to hang a picture in every empty space, please don’t! Consider a grouping of smaller pictures. (As shown above.) Gallery walls can give just much drama as a large stand-alone picture.

To compose a grouping, work outward from the central picture. To maintain a clean look, keep one edge of each piece aligned with the edge of at least one other piece in the group, and space them 3″ to 4″ apart.

Photographer: 1. Stacey Brandford, House & Home March 2014; 2. Tony Soluri, House & Home April 2013; 3. Stacey Brandford, House & Home March 2014

Designer: 1. Michelle Lloyd Bermann; 2. Katherine Newman; 3. Michelle Lloyd Bermann

Source: House & Home Decorating 101

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Existing rads don’t need to hinder your interior’s style. Here, we recommend three relatively simple, inexpensive ways you can incorporate radiators into your decorating scheme. As our illustrations show, by painting, topping or covering them, you can tum radiators into attractive and/or functional design elements.

Paint It

If your radiator is ornamental, leaving it exposed and painting it may be the best way to add character to your room. (As a bonus, painting is the cheapest option.)

Before painting a bare radiator clean it first with trisodium phosphate (TSP), rinse, then sand and prime it with an oil primer tinted to match your paint (a latex primer, which is water-based, may rust).

It is then safe to use either regular oil or latex paints, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages: Latex paint is flexible and breathes, while oil tends to crack because it retains heat. Oil has a more attractive finish and is slower to dry, making it easier to maneuver when painting the radiator’s nooks and crannies with a brush.

Color wise, you can choose white paint to keep it simple, make a
 statement with an accent color (like purple, above), paint it to match your trim, or choose black for a handsome look. A glossy finish enhances the shape and is easiest to wipe down.

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Top It 

Topping an attractive radiator with a painted-wood shelf adds extra function: you get a surface for storage or display.

You can easily make a simple top yourself. Cut a slab of 3/4″-thick plywood a couple of inches wider and deeper than the radiator. Trim all four edges of the plywood slab with casing or narrow crown molding, which will create a rim that prevents the top from slipping off the radiator.

Prime and paint both the top and the radiator the same color – we suggest black or white (or try the color of your room’s trim) for a classic look, so the result reads as one piece. (See notes on painting under “Paint it”, left.)

If the radiator sits behind a sofa, it can act as a smart sofa table and hold books and magazines.

If it sits out in the open, pull up a chair next to it and top it with a lamp, books and collectibles for a pretty vignette

Cover It

If you have an unattractive radiator that you’d like to camouflage, or you want a more finished look, create a classic-style cabinet like ours with an extended top and flanking cupboards for storage. Doors allow access to the storage as well as the radiator, which is important for cleaning and maintenance. The furniture feet and woven metal mesh paneling are decorative embellishments, but they also provide for air circulation below and in front. Our cover is painted a creamy white and has dark, clean-lined hardware for an elegant statement.

We recommend using medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or plywood to build a radiator cover, particularly if it sits in front of a window. These materials can handle exposure to different temperatures at one time (cold from the window and heat from the radiator), which can cause the joints on solid wood to separate and the wood to warp or crack because it’s expanding and contracting at the same time. Use solid wood Just for the trim.

Leave a few inches breathing room at the front and sides between the cover and the radiator itself.

Mesh comes in all sorts of materials and motifs (like X’s, circles, diamonds), so choose one that best suits your decor. For example, chicken wire complements a country interior and perforated heavy metals can look contemporary. Look for them at home improvement stores.

Moving into a place with no radiators? Take your cover with you. Add a back and bottom and you’ve got a display piece for your new home.

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Photographer: 1. Donna Griffith, House & Home December 2009; 2. Donna Griffith, House & Home December 2009; 3. Michael Alberstat, House & Home June 2007

Designer: 1. Sally Armstrong; 2. Sally Armstrong; 3. Chareen Parsons

Source:House & Home Decorating 101

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When it’s time to paint the exterior 
of your home, choose two or three colors plus a door color — one that contrasts and isn’t used on any other element. More elements provide more opportunity for different paint colors.

A classic trim color is white or creamy white. To highlight the architecture
 and the shape of the house, use a contrasting color on the trim.

To draw attention to key elements, like the front door, paint them in darker or brighter accent colors that contrast with the house’s body.

By contrast, don’t draw attention to less attractive features, like garage doors. Here, opt for one of the subtler trim colors.

Try to create balance with your paint colors — you don’t want your house to look top- or bottom-heavy. Sketch a simple line drawing of your house and fill in the parts you want to paint in dark colors. Try to balance light and dark colors on your drawing, and use that as your guide.

Photographer: Michele Poole, House & Home July 2015

Designer: t-Olive Properties

Source: House & Home Decorating 101

If there are 12 inches or more between the top of your window molding and the ceiling or crown molding, hang the drapery rod at the halfway point.

If there are less than 12 inches between the window molding and ceiling or crown molding, hang the drapery rod directly below the ceiling or crown molding. This will help make the ceiling look higher.

 If your ceiling is low, regardless of the space between the window molding and ceiling, hang the rod right at the ceiling. This, coupled with the vertical line of the drapery, will make the ceiling look higher.

If your window moldings are pretty, don’t cover them up — make them the focal point. Hang the rod at the very bottom of the molding, or even just below the molding at the top of the window frame.

SIP Fall 2013

Here are general tips that you can use when shopping for tiles, plus ideas for different looks for floors and walls.

Size And Style 

The most common size of wall tile is 4″ x 4″. It’s often laid square, but can be varied as a focal point or border by turning it diagonal.

  • For an airy look in a room with tiled walls, choose simple, straight-laid or large tiles; the smaller the tile or the more intricate the pattern, the busier the look.
  • If you’re mixing and matching wall tiles, keep in mind that different types have different thicknesses; this can work to your advantage if you want to create texture.
  • Top a wall that’s only tiled partway up with matching cap pieces. Not all tile styles come with these; laying the tiles without them creates a sharper edge and more modern look.

The most common size for floor tiles is 12″ x 12″. The size and shape of a room often determines the size and pattern of floor tiles. For example, large tiles work best on the floor of a large space, where smaller tiles might create a busy look. Mosaics are stunning in a small space, like a powder room, that benefits from more detail.

  • If you want a floor pattern created from different-sized tiles, choose tiles of the same thickness so you don’t trip on the edges.
  • It’s possible to use floor tiles on walls, but it’s not generally advisable to use wall tiles on floors since they’re often not as strong.

Finish 

Most tiles are only glazed on their tops; if your wall won’t have a border of cap pieces or wood trim, make sure the tiles at the edge of the pattern are glazed on the sides for a finished look.

A tile with a glossy glaze or one made of glass or polished stone imparts a more modern look or a formal feel.

For a softer look, choose a honed tile, which has a soft, buttery look, or one with a matte finish.

For an area that requires a lot of wiping, like a backsplash, choose tiles with a shiny finish.

When choosing floor tiles, consider safety: highly polished tiles are very slippery; matte tiles are less so. If you want a high-shine floor, use small tiles, which have more grout lines to create slip resistance.

In high-traffic areas like mudrooms, slate tiles are a great option because of their rough texture, but their ridges trap dirt, so they require more cleaning than smoother tile.

Stone tiles are more porous than ceramic or porcelain and must be treated with a sealer if used in areas that are exposed to moisture or grease. (Slate is the most absorbent stone, followed by limestone, marble, then granite.)

Grout 

There are many colors of grout to choose from. One option is to match grout to the tile’s tone so the grout blends in. Keep together cool tones (grey grout with blue tiles) or warm tones (taupe grout with beige tiles).

For a graphic look, a dark tile with a white grout is always crisp and fresh.

White grout can look dirty quickly, especially on floors or in showers, where mildew builds up; to camouflage dirt, use a darker grout. However, avoid using grout that’s too dark or you’ll obtain the opposite effect of hiding dirt: the grout may look dirty even when it’s clean.

Quantity 

To find out how much tile you need, multiply the length and width of your room to determine the square footage. Subtract the areas that don’t need to be tiled, like under cupboards. Add 10 to 15 per cent for waste and cuts. If you’re tiling on the diagonal, add 20 percent.

Photographer: Sarah Dorio, House & Home Fall 2013

Designer: Mark Williams

Source: House & Home Decorating 101

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Place your fixture where it “grounds” the dining table. It shouldn’t look like it’s “floating” alone in the room. Hang it 30 to 34 inches above the tabletop or five to 5-1/2 feet from the floor.

Don’t automatically install a junction box (the electrical box the chandelier hangs from) in the center of the room. Tables often sit to one side of a room where traffic flow is lighter, so center the box above the table itself. Also, don’t swag a too-long cord or chain across the ceiling; it will clutter up the look. Have an electrician move the junction box.

In a bedroom, foyer, or living room, your ceiling fixture should be centered either in the center of the room, or in some cases, over a specific piece of furniture. For example, in a large bedroom, it’s fine to center your fixture over your bed.

Photographer: Donna Griffith, House & Home December 2014

Designer: 1. Jill Kantelberg

Source: House & Home Decorating 101

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Calculate the right fixture size for your room using this basic formula: measure the room’s width in feet and multiply it by two. The resulting number is the approximate measurement — in inches — that is the ideal diameter for your fixture. For example, a 10-foot-wide room would have a chandelier of about 20 inches in diameter. Alternatively, the fixture should have a diameter of about one-third the length of the table.

Alternative Options 

Instead of a chandelier, try hanging two or three small fixtures, like glass hurricane lamps or contemporary pendants, in a row down the table’s length.

Group three or four similar hanging fixtures at different heights about the center of the table.

For a rustic look, hang oversized exterior fixtures, such as lanterns.

To soften too-bright light from a chandelier, cover the bulbs with little shades.

No junction box? Set one or two elegant lamps on the table.

Photographer: Donna Griffith, House & Home December 2014

Designer: Gwen Krieger and Mary Jane Ridley, Blue Hat Studio

Source: House & Home Decorating 101

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There are three types of whites: warm whites have yellow undertones; cool whites have blue undertones; pure whites have no undertone. Here are three ways to use white in a living room.

All White

A white-on-white scheme has a soft, pretty look, which can also be used in a modern room. To create a pleasing visual tension, paint walls, trim and wooden furniture in a variety of whites. Using all warm whites will keep the room from looking cold and sterile; DO NOT use only cool whites. Finish the floor in a glossy white paint to imbue a farmhouse-rustic effect. Don’t forget to use a variety of textures, and include ultra pale colors, which can easily be considered part of the white family.

Accent your space with a mirror or pictures in silver frames; a ceramic or glass-based lamp with a pleated shade or a collection of cream ware or milk glass make for great décor pieces as well.

White With Color And Pattern

Using more than a few accents can turn a “white” room into a “blue and white room” – a different style altogether. For this scheme, paint walls a pure white, and introduce warmth with white accessories and a pale, natural wood floor.

Inject just one strong accent color to liven up the look; cool colors, like cobalt, aqua blue and grass green work best as they keep the white looking fresh. Incorporate patterned pillows in the accent color. Top the side table with colored glassware in a variety of shapes for punch or cool lighting pieces for dimension.

White With Naturals

Pairing whites with warm natural materials, like wood and raffia, creates a clean-lined, modern aesthetic. Texture is key to the look. Walls can be painted either a pure white or a warm white that’s not too creamy.

Finish floors in a sophisticated light or stain to ground the space. Top the sofa with pillows in materials like woven raffia or cork, and linens, cottons or chunky wool knits in different shades of white. Introduce wood pieces with chocolate-brown, dark walnut or wenge stains. Also, accessorize with contemporary pieces to tie everything together.

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Whether your outdoor space consists of a balcony, a patio or a large backyard, effective storage for tools, pots and other garden miscellany is a must. The dream? Storage units, large or small, that keep contents close at hand for easy access and out of the way when not in use. Here are three attractive storage options to keep supplies both in their place and out of sight. Happy organizing!

Tight Spots 

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When space is at a premium, garden elements combining form with more than one function are invaluable. One of the best investments: a hollow wooden storage bench that provides both seating and hidden storage in a single neat package you can tuck into any corner. Although sizes can vary, a standard storage bench typically measures 46” long by 18” deep, making it suitable for hand towels, flowerpots, cushions and toys.

When choosing a storage bench, opt for one with a huge lid for easy access to the interior. Top it off with on long seat cushion that also lifts away easily.

Tall Orders 

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For a unit combining valuable storage space with a versatile work surface, choose a potting bench with low shelves, a few drawers, a work surface with or without a soil bin and some upper shelves for storing and displaying small items.

Measuring about 60″ high by 45″ wide by 25″ deep, the average potting bench serves as a vertical, more flexible alternative to a single-compartment storage bench. Choosing one with doors across the lower shelves will ensure items such as bags of soil, large pots and toolboxes are concealed from view. Keep supplies like small tools, garden gloves, seed packets and plant tags in the drawers. On the exposed upper shelves, store or display heirloom pots, baskets and other visually attractive items.

Living Large 

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On larger properties, a garden shed offers innumerable advantages. Although, sheds come in a variety of sizes, smaller models generally offer 150 to 200 cubic feet of storage space, while larger versions can provide 250 to 400 cubic feet of space. Before deciding on the size for you, think about the shed’s intended uses and itemize what will go in it. Don’t forget to consider all seasons. If you’re going to store furniture during the winter as well as tools and equipment all year long, for instance, a larger model is best.

In terms of styles, sheds encompass everything from shingle roofs and channel siding to stable-style doors, glass windows and cupolas. When evaluating appearance, consider how the shed will relate to both the house and the yard. They don’t have to match, but colors, building materials and architectural styles should complement the house.

Photographer: 1. Michael Graydon, House & Home April 2012; 2. Michael Graydon, & Home July 2012; 3. Michael Graydon, & Home July 2012

Designer: 1. Gillian Green; 2. Stacy Begg; 3. Stacy Begg

Source: House & Home Decorating 101

To make your furniture stay in place, use rubber “feet” that slip over the bottoms of the legs to help stop it from sliding so easily. Think of the rubber grip on the bottom of a cane, and you’ll get the picture. To find them, try hardware stores and medical supply stores.

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Our team completely redesigns every issue of House & Home for our digital edition.  It takes extra time to create and deliver issues to digital newsstands after our print magazine arrives at some Canadian retailers. We hope you’ll agree it’s worth the wait!

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I upgraded my iOS device. How do I get my subscription back?

From time to time, iOS software updates may disconnect your device from your Apple account, or even remove magazine issues that you have downloaded. It is easy to restore your issues.
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Contact isupport@hhmedia.com if doing the above still does not solve the issue.

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Contact isupport@hhmedia.com if doing the above still does not solve the issue.


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