Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We Answer Wednesday - How to Improve the lighting look in your room (any room)

"I have overhead lighting in my living room but it still looks and feels dark most of the time.  How can I improve the lighting in my living room?"

This is a great question and actually a very common concern. More often than not, homes are not designed and built with a lighting plan in mind.  Some builders are now offering that opportunity to buyers who have purchased from plans, to meet with an in-house design/decor consultant and review the lighting plans and they can make adjustments and some additions (at an extra cost).  But what about someone who has purchased an existing home? What can you do?

You still have options.  You could meet an electrician and see where you could add some extra ambient lighting sources such as pot lights.  But that can be costly.

What you want to do and can do quite easily is layer your lighting. Think of your lighting plan a having 3 layers.  Each layer plays a role in the whole plan. Layering your lighting means to have different sources of lighting in one room.  Each source has a different function but they each contribute to the look and feel of the room. This way you can change up the lighting scheme throughout the day and to set the mood you like.  This is also a great idea for a room that serves multiple purposes (which is the case for most of us).

 Light blue & white home decor with different patterns and textures create a calm and serene mood in this stunning living room.:
Photo from
This space uses different types of lighting - the ambient light from the ceiling fixtures and task lighting from the kitchen island pendants and the table lamps.  Look closely there are some candles on the coffee table too.

So what are the 3 types of lighting that should be in a room?

LAYER 1- Ambient lighting: this is the room's overall light wash, this could be natural light streaming in from a window or it could be from overhead lighting.  This is your basic layer of lighting.  This type of light illuminates open areas, walls and main furniture pieces. For overhead ambient light, a dimmer switch is a great idea as it offers you options throughout the day to change it up with your mood. Examples of Ambient lighting include: overhead fixtures, pot lights, natural light beaming in from a window, and torchiere.

LAYER 2- Task lighting: this type of lighting is designed to help you perform activities at close range.  This type of lighting is more area specific.  For example, wall sconces or a swing arm floor lamp behind a chair is great for reading or a hanging pendant over a kitchen island are some examples of task lighting.  Task lighting is another layer in your lighting plan. Examples of task lighting include: table lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces, and swing arm lamps.

Swing arm sconces instead of bedside lamps - save room on the nightstand
Photo from

LAYER 3- Accent lighting: this style of lighting adds a touch of drama to your space. This really allows you to change up the mood in your room quite easily.  Accent lights really let you direct the eye to objects you want to draw attention to, for instance picture lights or candles.  This type of lighting adds warmth (as well as drama) to a space. Examples of accent lighting include: picture lighting, library lights, spot lights, track lights, mini chandeliers and candle light.

Master bedroom: I like the large mirrrors on one wall. Great idea!:
Photo from Mattamy Homes
Another great example of layering your lighting.  We see here the overhead lighting from the ceiling fan (double duty piece) and the pot lights.  The table and floor lamps add some great task lighting, perfect for reading.  And the wall mounted candle sconces add some accent lighting when needed.

Playing with the 3 layers of lighting helps create the mood in the room.  So for a gathering of friends and family, to create a cozy mood use layers 1 (on a dimmer) and 2.  For a more romantic mood, try blending various types of layer 3 (only spotlights mixed in with some candle light is very seductive).

When you are making your lighting plan you can mix up the styles of lighting from one category.  So a room could have a large picture window letting in lots of natural light (depending on time of day) with a beautiful overhead fixture and a few pot lights in the bookcases with a matching pair of table lamps flanking the sofa and a floor lamp or wall sconce behind a reading chair.  Add in some candle light or even twinkle lights by the fireplace and you have a room with a layer lighting plan that allows you to set any mood you like.  Plus this way you have light throughout the entire room, so it will never feel dark.

Transitional Living Room with High ceiling, metal fireplace, Carpet, Pendant light, Exposed beam, Hardwood floors:
Photo from Zillow

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We Answer Wednesday - 6 Best Trim Paint Colours

"My house needs a fresh paint job.  I feel good about picking a wall colour but do you have any suggestions for the perfect white trim paint colour?"

You are so right, picking the right white can be tricky.  The look of a fresh coat of paint is spectacular and painting that trim really completes the feel. But like every other colour - there are many qhites to choose from.  Not knowing which paint colour you will choose, your safest best is you use a pure and true white tone, you can't go wrong with that. We have a few favourites to share with you.

1. Simply White by Benjamin Moore - this was BM colour of the year for 2016. 

Simply White by Benjamin Moore.  Crisp, clean, but not too stark a white.  No surprise undertones.:

2. Cloud White by Benjamin Moore - this is a designer (and painter) go-to.

Benjamin Moore paint by Candice Olson CLOUD WHITE OC-130.  This is my go-to neutral wall color. #paint #cream:

3. Decorator's White by Benjamin Moore -just like the name, it is a decorator's (and painter's) favourite.  It's clean and crisp.
Best White Paint Who: Jeff Andrews What: Decorator’s White, CC-20, Benjamin Moore Why: “I love this white for ceilings and woodwork, or in any room where I want a bright, clean white. It works well in all applications and with every kind of light source. Some whites can be cold and slightly blue, while others can have a creamy, yellow tone, but Decorator’s White is a true white that is both warm and modern. It’s been my go-to paint for years.”:

4. Ultra Pure White by BEHR - so clean and so crisp -this is one of the purest whites you will see.

Behr Ultra Pure White:

5. Extra White by Sherwin-Williams - a great white trim choice, bright white!

sherwin williams extra white - trim & ceiling paint color:

6. All White by Farrow & Ball - a perfect white

Farrow & Ball Modern No.2005 All White - Emulsion Paint - 2.5L

 Other trim painting tips:

Caulking - be sure that before you start painting that trim to caulk any gaps

Order - paint the trim first and then the walls

Finish - be sure to use a semi-gloss  when it comes to choosing a finish for your trim. A semi-gloss adds even more brightness but also when it comes to cleaning, the dust doesn't stick!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

We Answer Wednesday - Lightening up a dark wood kitchen

"We renovated our kitchen about 10 years ago.  We chose a dark espresso stain cabinet.  Even though we have decent natural light, we feel the kitchen looks a bit on the dark side.  How can we lighten up the kitchen without replacing the cabinetry doors?"

The lighter and brighter kitchens are definitely trending right now but the espresso look is still a choice that people are drawn too, not everyone likes the airy feel of a white kitchen.  But if you want to lighten up your darker kitchen there are some easy and simple changes you can make (or hire someone to install for you) that won't break the bank!

Try adding a backplash tile that is light in colour and even explore the idea of a glossy finish (this will allow light to bounce off of the tile and into the room).  even a glass tile can do wonders - it's like adding jewelry to an outfit....Another tip, try installing (or have a professional) install some under valance lighting - this will add more light to your kitchen.

Chic butler's pantry design with espresso stained kitchen cabinets, white & gray glass tiles backsplash, hammered sink, polished nickel faucet and marble counter tops.:
Photo from DecorPad

 Try replacing your counter top with a stone counter top in a light tone.  This is also a popular trend for 2017.  With a lighter counter top the whole kitchen will look lighter, think of all of the surface space in a fresh and lighter tone....

Amazing contemporary kitchen design with espresso stained kitchen cabinets & kitchen island, white stone counter tops, gray glass tiles backsplash and brushed nickel faucet.:
 Photo from DecorPad

 Try brightening up your kitchen with some lighter paint - you will be amazed at the low cost and the big difference it can make.

Pictures of Beautiful Kitchen Designs & Layouts From HGTV : Page 10 : Rooms : Home & Garden Television:
Photo from HGTV

 Consider a partial kitchen update...yes this is more expensive but it might be worth it if you feel your kitchen is just too dark.  this might also be a good idea down the line if you are looking to make updates for resale...replace or paint your upper cabinets in a lighter paint.  some call this a two tone kitchen other call this a Tuxedo kitchen and we will be seeing more of this look in the coming years.  this can really open up and brighten up the look in your kitchen.

 Two Tone Tuxedo Kitchen:
 Photo from Bright Green Door

Other tricks....
- take a look at the wattage of your light bulbs and go brighter!
- burnt out light bulb? be sure to replace them!
- do you have pendant lighting? Maybe swap out our pendants for something with a glass or chrome finish to allow more light in the room
- if you have dark stools, swap them out for a lighter colour or even a chrome
- opt for appliances with a reflective surface
- can you add more pot lighting to your kitchen?
- lighten up that floor, whether it is wood or tile a lighter tone will make a big difference


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

We Answer Wednesday - Christmas Tree Ideas for Small Spaces

"I really want a Christmas Tree but I'm in a small apartment.  Any ideas how I can still have a tree without taking over my whole space?"

You can absolutely have a tree in your space - Christmas trees aren't just for large homes!

Depending on the size of your space and where you want to put your tree you may need to get a little creative but we have some ideas for you.

A smaller tree can still make a big impact!  To make it look even larger without all the bulk try placing it on a stool.  This image has a mini tree placed in a steel bucket (for a bit of a rustic feel) and propped up on a stool.  this gives the tree height but the stool isn't big and full.

Don't have a ton of room to deck the halls? Don't worry, we've got 7 ideas to spruce up your small space.:
Photo from House Beautiful Magazine

Instead of a whole tree why not make use of some branches? They are easy to find this time of year and they are an affordable option.  We love the simplicity of some evergreen branches in a glass vases, add some colourful decor and you are set.

 Holiday Decor for small spaces.  Put branches in a vase to create your own tree.:
Photo from

This idea is nothing short of brilliant!  This 'half tree' (aka Corner or Flat back Christmas trees) takes up half the space of a full Christmas tree but you can push it right up against the wall so it won't eat into your living space.  Half the lights, half the decorations so half the work!

My Better Half Christmas Tree. Snuggles against the wall so it saves space in your place. Your neighbors won't know it's just half a tree! (Psst, it's on sale!):
Photo from Treetopia Christmas Trees

 Want the look of a gorgeous Christmas tree without all the work and mess? Try a hanging Christmas tree canvas.  IKEA knows all about decorating and furnishing small spaces and they knew that the Christmas tree would also be a challenge - so they came up with this!

Ikea's Christmas tree curtain as a background.:
Photo from

 Have you heard of a pencil tree? These are tall and skinny trees, they are perfect for anyone short on extra space as they don't fill the room but they are full of holiday cheer.

Decorating Contemporary Homes Interior Tabletop Decorated Christmas Trees Christmas Decorating Ideas For The Home 554x743 Living Room Ideas For Small Space Traditional Christmas Tree Decor:
 Photo from 

Maybe you want something child friendly? This wall hanging felt tree is perfect for the little ones in your life.  It's fun and festive and bonus - it's mess free! It's child height so even the little ones can participate in decorating too - perfect for parents, grandparents or aunts and uncles! 

This kids felt Christmas tree is great for kids who want to participate in tree decorating, but are a little too small to reach many branches and/or:
 Photo from Etsy

The shape of a tree can be an inspiration, too! Use cards, twigs, photos, branches and even lights to create a beautiful wall art display in honour of the Christmas tree.  

christmas tree made with photos pictures - kerstboom van foto's maken:

 Photo from

Another fun and simple idea is the Christmas tree wall vinyl - this is so easy to put up and it won't cause nay damage to your walls.  There are so many different designs you might find it challenging to pick one!

45*82cm Christmas Tree Wall Sticker Vinyl Removable Wall Stickers Home Wall Decor Poster vinilos paredes:
Photo from 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

5 Home Staging Tricks - that work!

We have been staging homes for the resale (and new home market) for a number of years now and while styles and trends change there are definitely some tried and true home staging tricks that work every time!

1. Inviting entry with potted plants or flowers - this little trick makes everyone feel welcome, it adds a splash of colour and a 'breath of fresh air'.  The front door is the first impression so you want to start off on the right foot! Be sure to maintain these plants/flowers and keep it seasonal for maximum effect.

 Charming Fiberglass Front Doors With Glass : Glass Front Door With ...:
Photo from

2. Extra pillows on the bed and the sofa - fluffy pillows have a real warmth to them and they certainly add that element to a living room, family room and bedroom.  Throw pillows also allow you to add an extra design touch to a space - a pop of colour and some pattern make a space look instantly fresh and with a designer's touch.

Here are some great sofa styling tips:

Here are some great bed styling tips:

In this room the pop of bright color from 2 pillows is accentuated by the grey and white colors surrounding them. White is a bright color too. In this case it is positioned on every surface in this room. The white coffee table (from HomeGoods) helps visually in making this vignette feel complete and anchors the space.  Sponsored by HomeGoods:
Photo from

3.  Clean white towels - ever notice that in boutique and luxury hotels you always see these plush, clean white towels and robes? Well, take that cue and stage your bathroom with some fresh and clean pure white towels, buyers will immediately think of luxury, relaxation or a spa experience - play into that feeling and use it to your advantage. This simple addition will make buyers associate that feeling with your bathroom.

Master Bath:
 Photo from

4. Setting the table - staging is all about presenting the home in it's best light, but we want to be sure to make buyers feel like this is their next home not like they are just visiting. By setting the table you are 'setting the scene', buyers will be able to better picture themselves hosting a dinner party, entertaining for the holidays or having Sunday family dinner.  It's another emotional connection made with staging that helps the buyers feel more at home.

Home Staging before and after photos:
 Photo from

5. Add a pop of colour in the kitchen - the kitchen is one the hot spots when it comes to selling your home.  Buyers want a  clean and current looking kitchen, and they are willing to pay more for a home that has updated kitchens and bathrooms.  But even the most stunning kitchen can look a little flat in the listing photos - try adding a fresh pop of colour, we love a bowl of lemons, yellow always photographs well and it really attracts the eye.  But fresh flowers, fruit bowl, a tray with wine, a colourful tea kettle are all great ideas to add just a little accent to the kitchen without distracting or over powering the space.

 Tips for getting the most from your fresh flowers - ZDesign At Home:

Photo from ZDesign at Home

We all know that cleaning, decluttering and repairs are needed plus we know that updates in paint, flooring and lighting make great returns and great impressions on buyers.  Current finishes in bathrooms and kitchens are also a hot commodity but there are certain staging tricks that really connect with buyers

Friday, December 9, 2016

2017 Colour of the Year: Greenery

So it was just announced  by Pantone that the Colour of the Year for 2017 is Greenery. 

Pantone describes this shade as "greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate."

 Pantone's 2017 Spring Colors are kale, hazelnut, lapis blue, niagara, primrose yellow, greenery, flame, island paradise, pink yarrow, and pale dogwood.

This colour definitely makes us think of spring and really brings us in tune with nature.

We knew that 2017 trends would definitely have a real connection with nature with the resurgence of wood and wood grain and a real draw towards warmer and natural textures this colour fits right in with that scene.

 This colour is on the bolder side with a lot of energy but you can bring it into your space with ease....

1. Shades of Green - when it comes to decorating with the colour of the year (any year) make that colour fit into your style so that might means finding a shade that is less saturated and one that is softer (or the opposite) and then bringing that into your space.  Don't worry so much about taking the trend literally.

How to Combine Home Accessories | Home Decor Accessories & Furniture Ideas for Every Room | HGTV:
 Photo from HGTV

2. Quantity - at first, be sure to add a small amount just to test the waters and keep it simple with accessories like decor pieces, florals, pillows - things that aren't big budget breakers but will give the room a fresh look.  if you like what you see you can always add more but small changes can give you big results!

White and Green Interiors. Green Interior Ideas. White bookcase with green decor. #GreenInteriors #GreenInteriorIdeas. Evars and Anderson Interior Design.:
 Photo from Home Bunch

3.  Mix it in with your current scheme - you might think that this colour isn't overly versatile but that's not true! It really works well with so many other colours - it pairs beautifully with neutrals like grey, navy, white, chocolate brown and more plus it plays well with other colourful options like yellow, pink, cobalt blue....

 Google Afbeeldingen resultaat voor
Photo from adore home

4. Add life to any room - the wonderful part about this colour is that it is true to mother nature and it gives every single space a fresh new burst of life! Try adding a floral arrangement, a bowl of apples (or even limes) or a plant in any room and you won't believe what a change it makes.

Stylish home: Ginger jars and other ceramics:
Photo from

5. Play with pattern - adding a splash of the trendy colour into a mix of different patterns will really give your space a designer look and feel.  we love this combination of the softer greenery colour paired with white and this denim and navy blue.

Mixed patterns. They all work together! Fabrics, Window Treatments, Furniture, Bedding, Fabric by the Yard, Custom Decorating, Calico Corners � Calico Home.:
 Photo from

6. Works with any style - some colours don't translate well with certain styles of decor but greenery really works with any style.  If you love a Country look it works with florals and gingham, like a more traditional style? Try adding some greenery in a toile print or in some botanical art.  If you are more modern and streamlined - greenery is a great splash in art or pillows even a great accent chair.  If your style is more vintage or retro - the possibilities are endless!

In the airy breakfast nook of a Toronto home designed by Anne Hepfer, a whimsical Oly Studio pendant light hangs above a Van Rossum dining table. Hepfer chose apple-green chairs to help brighten the space and bring the outdoors in. |
Photo from Architectural Digest

7. Make it interesting and a little unexpected - this might not for everyone but if you are someone who really likes this colour (or any colour) and you aren't afraid to show it - use it where one might not expect to see it!  Areas like lighting - a colourful pendant in a kitchen can make a big and bold statement. Furniture pieces like a sofa or bar stools.  Wall paper accent walls in a front entry. Paint a piece of furniture that needs a bit of a makeover.

lime green industrial barn light, pantone greenery, spring green, apple green, lime green, bright green:
Photo from concepts & Colorways

You can absolutely 'take a risk' with greenery and bring it into your space.  Even just the smallest addition of this beautiful colour will do wonders for your space!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

We Answer Wednesday - How to create a welcoming guest room

"Christmas break is coming soon and we have out of town guests staying with us for a few days, how can we make them feel at home when staying with us?"

Hosting out of town guests is a part of the holidays and you definitely want your guests to feel comfortable.  When it comes to hosting house guests you really want to think of the details - it really is the small things that make the difference!

It's always nice to have a guest room that looks and feels like a bedroom - you really want your house guests to feel like they are welcome and a part of your home.  A cohesive looking bedroom is always a welcoming touch.  We always recommend decorating a guest bedroom in a soothing and calming theme and in neutral colour tones.

 love the different patterns with similar colors:

These elements are musts when having guests stay over for a few days:

1. Fresh bedding and an extra blanket and pillows
2. Night stand with lamp and alarm clock
3. Trash bin
5. WiFi password
6. Clean towels (a set for each guest)
7. Available outlet to charge phones, tablets etc...
8. Bottled water and snacks
9. Clothing hangers and space in the closet (and/or dresser)

Create a welcoming feeling by making a welcome basket for any of your guests! Fill it with their favorite things!:

It's always a great idea to stock up on some extra toiletries too - everyone always forgets something...

- toothbrush
- tooth paste
- dental floss
- ibuprofen
- hair dryer
- shampoo and conditioner
- q-tips
- hand lotion

Make a cute over sized throw that's perfect for staying cozy this Fall!:

Some little extras that add a little something special...

- fresh flowers or potted plant
- Spare reading materials (books or magazines)
- Notepad and pen

Be sure to tour your guests around the house and let them know where to find essentials like bathrooms, laundry, coffee and how to work the TV.