Less is More

As a decorator and home stager I often encounter homes where I have to let the client know that while they have some lovely things, you can’t see them from their other stuff! It’s a basic yet profound rule I’ve learned that applies to so many things in life- less is more. Whether it’s the number of items squeezed onto a mantle (seriously, how do these things not fall off?), what we keep on our kitchen or bath counters, or even what we put in our mouths (eventually too many cookies or chips catches up to us).

De-cluttering is touted as the most important thing to do when selling your home. I agree with this as well. I advise homeowners to make rooms feel as spacious and open as possible by removing excess things. But why wouldn’t we want to live like this always, not just when selling our homes?

I strongly believe that beyond just de-cluttering our ‘stuff’, there is more impact to our beautiful objects when displayed on their own, instead of mixed in with other decorative pieces, fabrics, art, rugs, etc…Now I don’t mean you should only have one lovely thing per room, but I am of the belief, despite what many high-paid tv designers show, when your eye can’t focus on any one thing, some of the impact is lost.

Take for example this very expensive (no doubt), highly-curated dining room. There are some lovely items here ranging from the bold,metallic wallpaper; multi-patterned chairs; geometric mirror; heirloom art, silk drapes and statement lighting. But I can’t appreciate any of them to the same degree as I would on their own, as I feel they drown each other out somewhat.

Eloborate DIning roomHowever, when there are a few outstanding elements, they can truly shine. Here’s an example of that:

Dining Room elementsThe serene art, outstanding lamp and beautiful wood table stand out to me while the other items fade into the background and don’t compete. I would still remove a few excess items but hey, I know it’s for show 🙂

So while these are just my own views and opinions, I do think with spring arriving, we can all benefit from a little de-cluttering of excess from our lives and rooms. Less truly can be more!


Ready to Go Outdoors?

I know I am!  This never-ending winter has made me long for sitting out, bbq’s, gardening… even moving the lawn seems preferable to the alternative we’ve had for so many months.

Why not create a cozy and ‘bohemian’ inspired room outdoors that can act as a additional and interesting aspect to your indoors. Here are some great ideas to implement this outdoor room that don’t require a ton of money.

Stump for a coffee table? Unfortunately with this year’s ice storm is southern Ontario, a higher than average number of trees have come down. If you find you (or someone you know) has some stumps remaining, why not create a unique coffee table that is bound to get some conversation going- “remember that crazy ice storm of 2013?”…

Bohemian Outdoor room by HGTV.ca

Bohemian Outdoor room by HGTV.ca

Add in a wonderful bright, colourful rug and matching throw and you’ve got an outdoor living room that will make you smile with every visit.

Lighting should not be ignored! Where there is electricity, you can’t go wrong with a stainless steel pendant that will blend in with just about anything.


Outdoor Stainless Pendant by HGTV.ca

Outdoor Stainless Pendant by HGTV.ca

Where there is no hardwiring, consider re-purposing a chandelier with battery powered candles for a soft and elegant glow.

Outdoor Battery-operated Chandelier by HGTV.ca

Outdoor Battery-operated Chandelier by HGTV.ca

You may also want to light the way to your outdoor room. Use a standard (& cheap) globe fixture with a strand of white lights inside of it.


Light the pathway by HGTV.ca

Light the pathway by HGTV.ca

Don’t forget whimsical patterned pillows and art or mirrors where appropriate. Bright colours are certainly a sign of spring and warming temps. I have grown pretty tired of always seeing the same monochromatic, plastic, neutral placemats in grey/beige/black. How much more fun would it be to eat off of these?


Bright Placemats by Style at Home

Bright Placemats by Style at Home

I think the grey and cold winter has really made me want to add some extra spice in colour, pattern and feeling this year.  What better room to do that in that your outdoor one?!

Spring Ahead!

Well it’s that time of year again when we can’t continue to put off doing the things that we’ve managed to put off all winter. I’ve compiled a couple lists below of spring cleaning ideas (the not-so-fun one) and spring décor ideas (the fun one). Here in Toronto the weather has truly been magnificent- mid 20’s in the middle of March… Celsius that is! That should be enough to motivate you to try something from these lists 🙂

Spring Cleaning 101

The following are some tips that can be applied across all rooms in general:

1. Put all your cleaning supplies, including dust cloths and paper towels, into a clean bucket to carry from room to room.

2. Work on one room at a time, even if you’ll be doing similar chores like washing walls or vacuuming in several rooms. You’ll get a greater feeling of accomplishment, and that will keep you going.

 3. Thoroughly dust and vacuum all surfaces, from crown mouldings to baseboards and under furniture. Carefully dust light bulbs, chandeliers and wall sconces- all the things you normally don’t dust!

4. When tidying, reduce trips around the house by temporarily depositing items in one spot en route to, but not necessarily at their final destination.

5. Do two things at once. While laundry is going, wash some windows.

6. Take down sheers and curtains and wash or send out for dry cleaning. Wash interior windows as well as windowsills. Consider leaving the windows bare for a while (as long as privacy is not a concern).

7. Now is the time to tackle those small repairs. If you’re not handy, hire someone.

8. Got vinegar? Then you have a terrific natural window and surface cleaner. Mix half and half with water for a natural sparkle.

9. Roll up area rugs and vacuum the floor beneath them; then vacuum both sides of the rug thoroughly. Consider putting away the rugs till fall.

10. Bananas as a plant polish? Who knew! Use the underside of the banana peel to gently clean the leaves of plants- it works terrifically to bring out the shine in your greenery.

Lastly, open those newly washed windows wide and let the fresh spring air in!

Springtime Vibe in Decor

Here are a few of my favourite ideas for bringing some spring freshness into your home decor:

Branches:  The pared-down simplicity of blossoming backyard clippings like forsythia and dogwood captures the vitality of spring.

Rag Rugs: Swap out heavy oriental and wool rugs for a breezy rag rug.

Natural Materials: Nothing says “spring fresh” like natural materials. Grass cloth wallcoverings, rattan storage boxes, sisal mats and raw, unfinished wooden frames blur the distinction between indoors and out.

I used grass cloth behind the bed to add texture- this room feels spring-like to me.
Photo: SET For Design

Wood-handled cutlery: Gives you a feeling of having a perpetual picnic 🙂

Garden Stools: What started out as outdoor furniture has quickly become a staple indoors. Use it for extra seating or as side tables to perch books and drinks. Their small size and interesting shapes make them perfect for lightening up.

Garden Stools

Garden Stools as side tables
Photo: ApartmentTherapy.com

Slipcovers: White or light-coloured slipcovers will make any dark, winter-weary furniture feel springtime fresh.

Textiles: Switch up your bedding, blankets, throw pillows and even your napkins to reflect a fresher, livelier colour palette. You can completely change the look of a room in a short amount of time and effort.

Tangerine: While it might not be what you have in mind for a paint colour, 2012’s Pantone colour of the year can be incorporated with smaller items such as orange storage boxes, cushions or vases.

Tangerine pops for your home
Photo: AOL Shopping

Fragrant Linens: In a steam iron or a spray bottle, fragrant water adds a crisp and comforting spring scent to freshly laundered linens.

Happy Spring everyone!