‘To feather, or not to feather?’ That is the question. Ahem, ‘feather’? Aye, ones ‘nest’, that is. Yup, the home styling monolith that is The BC Home and Garden Show is rolling into Vancouver once again and there couldn’t be a better time to make more of your current space. Especially now the Canadian housing market isn’t just as confident as it once was. The good news, however, is that Vancouver homes have held their value more than in other Canadian province’s and that, as far as we’re concerned, is cause for celebration!
We’ll be talking, at the show, about ways in which you can update kitchens and bathrooms (to make you happier with the homes you already occupy) but there are many other areas that should be addressed to bolster your homes appeal. This in mind, we thought it might be useful to prepare, for your style hungry delectation, a useful guide to what’s hot and what’s not.. So go on; put that realtors number away and forget moving. And start IMPROVING!
1. Paint One Wall
Yup, confident blocks of colour really change the feel of rooms without major decorating upheaval. Understand ‘restraint’ because less, darlings, is generally more!
2. Pitch in the pillows
Add pillows, throws and accessories to add drama to an otherwise muted scheme. Doing this will create decorating ease further down the line as you’ll be able to alter mood on a whim by replacing old accessories with new!
3. Add a Bit of Mother Nature
Plants or flowers will add visual warmth and personality. If you’re not particularly green fingered, ask your local garden centre to recommend horticulture that requires minimal care. Just PLEASE don’t use fake plants. That is SO a C and J no-no!
4. Put Some Colour on the Floor
A colourful rug, strategically placed in front of a chair or under your bed, will add style and texture. Choose a contrast colour, inspired by fabric you’re using elsewhere, or look for something with an interesting pattern that ties into your theme.
5. Get Arty
A colourful and strategically placed piece of art won’t only add a decorative touch, it will introduce drama and fun. Could be the only thing standing between you and a vibrant scheme is a fabulous painting or some brightly matted and framed prints. The devil, as we like to report, is in the detail.
Having just returned from Paris where we visited ‘Maison et Objets’, Europe’s foremost design exhibition, we’re excited to be proffering advice to help you stay on the right track. One of the aspects we saw in abundance was colour; great shots of neon yellows and orange (to name but a few) but this season played elegantly against a backdrop of muted grey. Grey, as we see it, is the new beige – still neutral, but cooler, crisper and much more sophisticated. And don’t be afraid to mix styles – one large antique piece in a modern home can look fantastic. Informal styles are the way forward, especially in open concept living, but try to do them in a formal manner by keeping things neat and ordered and by reigning in the clutter. If staying in is the new going out, then make yours a great night in! And the good news is that as you make more of your home, you’ll be protecting its value into the bargain. Which means that if you do eventually decide to move on, your bricks and mortar will be eminently more sellable.
Ten Ways To Do More For Less
Painting a room is relatively inexpensive and will elicit maximum results for minimum effort. Proper preparation costs nothing, so do it all carefully and the finished results will properly deliver.
Do It Yourself, But Do It Properly
Do what you can but don‘t be a ‘have a go hero’ if you‘re not up to the job in hand. Think how much you’d save if you could actually paint, tile or make curtains… and then estimate how much wasted time and cash there’d be if your home became a series of botched jobs. Yup, if DIY‘s not your thing, then try DFY - Done For You. Or in other words - call in the pro’s!
Use What You’ve Got
Raid the basement, fish out Granny’s old dresser and give it a facelift. A lick of paint and new handles could make it worthy of becoming centre stage, once again. Or reach for the sewing machine and make some new slip covers for your dated sofa. Or drill holes and add some shelves to a dated armoire to turn it into a media centre which could happily house your TV or DVD.
Move things around
Sometimes a change of orientation is all that’s needed to provide a whole new look. This in mind, move your sofa to the other side of the room, try your bed on another wall or simply clear clutter and re arrange accessories to re dress your space.
Ok, so you’re handy with a sewing machine but know nothing about electrics. - So what you going to do about your terrible kitchen lighting? Hold on a minute… Your next door neighbour’s a friendly electrician, but he has TERRIBLE curtains… Why not offer to make some fabulous new drapes in exchange for fitting some overhead lighting! Or get the gang round for a painting party in return for music, pizza and beer!
Second hand doesn’t mean second best so cast your net round charity stores, online auctions, estate sales and salvage yards for fabulous home bargains. But remember; ’think twice, buy once’ - just because something appears to be a bargain, it doesn’t mean you should have it. Avoid ‘snatch and grab’ impulse buys and invest in classic pieces that will stand the test of time. Or buy items which can be transformed into useful pieces. We’ve reupholstered many an old sofa on Home Heist only to give our homeowners their favourite couch back - but by this time dramatically restyled!
Search out the ‘scratch and dent’
Ask in furniture stores to discover whether they offer discounts on damaged items, customer returns or even last season’s stock. Some stores have dedicated clearance centres so it’s worth scouting around. We regularly buy Home Heist sofa’s from The Bay’s clearance centre and they’re always fabulous! Remember our motto; ‘It’s not HOW MUCH money you spend but HOW YOU SPEND IT that makes all the difference.’
Design rooms with a neutral backdrop and choose plain walls and furniture. Next, adjust your overall look by using cleverly selected accessories. Bear in mind that it’s cheaper to change ‘decorative jewellery’ rather than a whole room so, if you’re a habitual decorator and constantly redesigning, let the seasons guide you.
‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ - so goes the old maxim but it’s still easily one of our strongest home mantras. Good storage makes for great rooms. Period. So, with this in mind, go large on storage and low on clutter - especially when you’re living in a more compact space.
Clean, clean and clean again!
It’s amazing how different your home feels after a good swish round with your favourite cleaning products! So brandish mops and cloths and fall in love once again with your biggest investment!
Wanna move ‘cos space is tight? Nope! Stay where you are but make your space feel bigger. Here’s our guide…
Keep Walkways DefinedWhen you can see floors, rooms look larger so make sure you can move easily through space without obstacles. Keep taller, bulkier items on the walls and go low with sofas and coffee tables etc to keep eye lines clear. Don’t, however, push everything into corners and leave the centre clear - contrary to popular belief, this won’t make space look larger, it’ll just make it look bare!
Use Light Colours
Dark colours ‘draw in’ and make space feel small, whereas lighter shades will open up your rooms. But panic not; you don’t have to paint your entire home white - instead try pastels, neutrals or naturals, all of which enjoy the same expansive qualities of white, while being much warmer.
Blend Your FeaturesSimplify your space by painting walls, trim, and detailing in slightly different shades of the same colour. Paring down in this way softens impact and helps space look larger.
Reflect on this…Mirrors, in any form, are great for bouncing light and opening up space. On previous episodes of Home Heist we’ve clad entire walls with mirror, we’ve hung clusters of junk shop mirrors across chimney breasts and we’ve used mirrored consoles and coffee tables to help ‘enlarge’ space. Glass tables, too, and even glass accessories, can increase the felling of space thanks to their invisibility…
Trick your eye
Change perspective by hanging a series of landscape pictures with long narrow scenes of the great outdoors to make you feel you’re somewhere large and fabulous. We used two long landscapes either side of a kitchen table and the effect worked perfectly.
Big Is BestUse a few well chosen larger items of furniture instead of clusters of smaller items and avoid too many collectibles and knick knacks in favour of one or two larger statement pieces.
Pare Down Your WindowsA simple blind or sheer fabric drapes will help keep windows defined and allow the maximum amount of light to pass through. Larger drapes consume too much wall space and absorb lots of light.
Demand Double DutySelect furniture items with hidden extra function such as a headboard with storage behind. If you can get two functions for the price of one then you’ll clearly consume less space. Check out our multi-purpose chapter for more info.
Maximise LightElectric light can be a very effective means by which to ‘increase’ space. Highlight each of the four corners of your room to expand its size, illuminate a row of art in a hallway with picture lamps to elongate perceived length and brighten up dark nooks with spotlights to create a more expansive feel.
Lose the rubbish
Declutter, declutter, declutter. Enough said!
During our design atom splitting master classes at the BC Home and Garden Show we’ll be talking about how to combine nesting with investing, showing you how to create individual style while at the same time enhancing your home’s value. And we’ll be putting the emphasis on budget conscious ideas that won’t break the bank. So please come by and say hi! We like to think we’re the friendliest boys in the business… so don’t be shy! We look forward to seeing you!