Alternative Wall Decor

Decorating walls can be tough – even designers can find themselves struggling to fill negative wall space. A well designed room has a balanced proportion of positive (furniture, decor, art) AND negative (empty floor and wall) space. In today’s world of open concept living, it can be challenging to fill negative wall space as you don’t want to have too many competing pieces of art around. These instances call for some creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking to figure out what ELSE you can use to decorate your walls. Here are some of our favourites:

  1. Woven Wall Baskets have livened up a number of our designs over the past few months. We have used them individually to fill a tiny wall, as a small group of three slightly staggered, and as a larger, asymmetrical grouping where they are slightly overlapping each other.
  2. Juju Hats are another piece of alternative wall decor that we have been loving. The softness of the feathers and the texture that they bring to a space adds immediate warmth and helps to fill empty wall space without grabbing too much attention. TIP: Try creating a collage of binga baskets AND one or two juju hats for an amazing display of pattern and texture. We recently completed a project where we did this over a sideboard in a dining room and the finished look is to die for!
  3. Wall Hangings have been around for a while and we don’t see them going anywhere in the near future. They are usually soft and natural in colour which means they won’t steal too much of your attention, and that makes them perfect for filling empty wall space.

Remember to always take a step back and assess your space before committing to too many pieces of wall decor. You don’t have to have every wall in your home covered with art and accessories. Let your walls breathe a little bit while keeping in mind that you need some empty space to balance out the rest of your furnishings and accessories.

Visit our shop to create a little magic of your own.

Updating Your Kitchen on a Budget

Your kitchen is often the biggest and most costly room in your home to renovate. However, if your kitchen has good quality cabinets and a decent layout, you can save money by reusing your cabinets (with some minor updating) and making other small, less costly changes that will give your kitchen a refresh without breaking the bank.

Updating Cabinetry Colour

Changing the colour of your cabinets will give your entire kitchen a whole new feel, and, if you are lucky enough to have solid wood cabinetry, then your kitchen refresh just got a whole lot easier. There are a couple of routes you might choose to take with your cabinets. You can either 1) sand down your wooden cabinets and update with a modern stain, or 2) give a light sanding and update your cabinets with a modern paint colour. Don’t worry, if you are reading this and wondering how to update your MDF cabinets, then we are here to tell you that you can still give your cabinets a makeover – you just need to do a little bit of extra prep and make sure to use the proper type of primer and paint.

Door Profiles

Do you know what we mean when we say door profile? It has to do with the detailing of your cabinet door/drawer fronts. A few common profiles are shaker, slab, single or double arch raised panels. There are MANY different profiles to choose from, and we couldn’t possibly list them all here, but they are generally different variations of the three styles above. The single or double arch is now considered dated and typically clients want that profile replaced. Shaker style is very popular and a good choice as they are quite classic.

Change the Hardware

Hands down, the EASIEST way to change the look of your kitchen is to change the knobs and pulls on your drawer/door fronts. There are hundreds (thousands?) of options out there and you can often find some for reasonable prices at your local hardware store. Since hardware is so easily replaced, you can have some fun here and not worry as much about whether you will be happy with your decision five years from now. The main thing to consider here is the scale of your knob or pull compared to the size of your cabinet door or drawers. They are definitely not one size fits all, so you might need to grab the same style in a few different sizes.

Update the Lighting

One of the best ways to update your kitchen is to add lighting. Many outdated kitchens only have one light fixture in the centre of the room, and that is just not enough! Your kitchen should have a combination of general lighting (such as evenly spaced pot lights), task lighting (like lighting over your sink, stove and under your cabinets), accent lighting (to showcase what is inside glass cabinets or on floating shelves) and most importantly pendant lights over your island.  Honestly, we sometimes encounter homes that don’t have lights over the island. Remember lighting is the jewelry in your home!

Updated Lighting

Update the Countertops

Changing out your kitchen’s countertops will have a HUGE impact on your kitchen’s style. Our favourite material to use in a kitchen is engineered quartz. It is a mix of natural stone and man-made resin, which comes in hundreds of different colours and patterns. It is highly durable and typically is what you will see in today’s new home builds. As pretty as marble countertops are, they are just not practical in a frequently used kitchen as they stain easily, and acidic foods will remove the polish resulting in certain areas looking matte instead of glossy. When it comes to granite, although it is a beautiful and durable natural material, it still requires regular sealing. It also chips easier than quartz and it is harder to hide the seams where the fabricators and installers join the pieces together. All in all, quartz is more durable than granite or marble, and there are endless colour and pattern options which make it hard to beat.

Countertop Update


Change the Backsplash

Last but not least, to give your kitchen a new vibe, update the backsplash. Like countertops, there are hundreds of options to choose from and many different materials. It is also not uncommon today to see the countertop material continuing up the wall for a clean, modern look. That might not be feasible if you are on a budget, but the good news is that backsplash tiles can be found at extremely affordable prices and makes it one of the best ways (along with new hardware) to update your kitchen for a low to moderate cost.

Proper Height for Your Dining Table Light

Adding a hanging light fixture over your dining table can have a huge impact on your dining room’s design. When placed properly, it adds an ambiance to the room that just can’t be achieved with a fixture that is flush to the ceiling. The tricky part is knowing how big the fixture should be in relation to your table, and how high it should be above your table’s surface. We deal with this often, and through our experiences we can provide you with some guidelines to follow when picking out and hanging a fixture over your dining table.

First, consider the scale of the fixture compared to your table. A fixture that is too small will feel underwhelming, and a fixture that is too big will take over the room. Also consider how big your dining room is. You can get away with a larger fixture if you have an open concept room. A small room might mean you need to go slightly smaller with the light fixture. Typically, the diameter of your light fixture should be about 12 inches less than the width of your table. So, if your table is 36 inches wide, then your fixture should be about 24 inches in diameter.

When deciding how high the fixture should be, the rule of thumb is for the bottom of the fixture to be about 30 to 36 inches above the surface of your table. If you have a really tall ceiling, you should add a few inches to that distance. This is a guideline only, so do what feels best while you are standing in the room. A few points to consider are that you don’t want it to be too low and shining too bright into your eyes while you are sitting at the table, but you don’t want it to be so high that it is not providing adequate lighting.

Always look at the fixture from various points in your home when deciding on the height. If you have an open concept dining/living area, go sit in the living room and look towards the dining table and light fixture. Also walk out and back in to the room, paying attention to the light fixture’s height and scale compared to the room and dining table. It is possible you will need to make some minor adjustments based on how it looks from all angles of the space.

When in doubt, give us a call and we will be happy to come to your home and guide you through the process. Even the smallest additions to your home come with many decisions, and we are experienced in making them.

Dining Table Light Height

DIY Stair Runner

Runners are back in, and we love how they can transform a stairwell.  However, if you’ve ever priced out a runner you know they can be pretty expensive.  And then the cost of install…ughh.

Good news is there is an affordable option.  You can purchase a set of runners and lay them one after another.   They are very easy to install, and something you can do within an hour. I’ll walk you through how I did this runner and where you can purchase them.

Before and after DIY stair runner

Tools you will need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Pneumatic staple gun
  • Staples

Step 1 – Determine the size of the runners you need

First thing you need to do is measure the width of your stair tread.  You will want to leave approximately 4 inches or so on either side. You will want to buy a runner as close to this width as possible.

Then measure from the bottom of the first stair tread to under the nose of the stair tread and to the back of the next riser.  Then times this by the number of stair treads.  This is the total length you will need to cover.

How do I measure for a stair runner

Step 2 – Laying the Stair Runner

Lay the first runner out on the first tread so it is evenly spaced between the stair tread. Double check your measurements on both sides to make sure it is evenly spaced between the stair tread.

Measuring for a DIY stair runner

 

Then wrap it tightly around the nose of the tread and wrap it to the bottom of the trim along the first stair tread.  Use a pneumatic stapler and place your first staple along the bottom and continue to staple it along the bottom.

Installing a stair runner DIY

Your next spot to staple will be tight under the first stair tread nose.

How to install a stair runner

And then at the back of the first tread into the second stair riser.

How to install a stair runner yourself

 

Continue until you are getting close to running out of your first runner.

DIY stair runner installation yourself

This is where you are going to stop and cut your first runner.  Hold it flat and tight up under the nose of the tread and make a mark where you are going to cut the runner.  I left enough room for the edging of the next runner to be tucked very neatly into place. Staple it in place after cutting off the excess.

How to install a stair runner yourself

Start your next runner under the nose of the tread lining up the edges of the runner below it.  Staple it in place and keep going until you are done!

After photo of a DIY stair runner

 

Tip:  Use some caulking along the edges of the treads to clean it up nicely when you are done.

Where to buy the runner:

Runners come in different sizes, and for this one we needed three to run the entire length. I find Wayfair has lots of options.  Click here to buy  this runner.

Tips:

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint first.
  • Use some caulking along the edges of the treads to clean it up nicely when you are done.
  • Order a bit longer than what you need as there will be some wastage.

Click here to check out another mix and match runner installed at another clients!

Styling a Coffee Table

There is a specific piece of furniture in every home that wears many different hats – the coffee table. It is a piece you gather around with family and friends. You may use it as a dining table from time to time, a foot rest, a work desk and sometimes even a place to play board or card games. Inevitably it is also common for a coffee table to end up as a catch all for things used on a daily basis that no one quite knows where to put away (like your TV’s three separate remotes and the latest novel you have on the go). Because of this it can be difficult to actually know what to put on your coffee table in terms of decor, so here are our tried and true tips to styling a coffee table. Continue reading “Styling a Coffee Table”

Making a zippered pillow

Sometimes I get frustrated with the limited variety of pillows available within Halifax. Sure, you can go into HomeSense and find three to four rows of pillows on any given day. But the reality is there is still little selection! I’ve seen the same pillow in HomeSense a thousand times. Sometimes I can’t even find the colour, let alone the tone or texture I’m looking for. Two hundred grey pillows to choose from, and not one yellow pillow, or teal pillow in your selection today HomeSense? Even blue can be hard to find most days.

Then I have other pillows that I will never use again that are stock piled separately. These ones are colours or patterns that I really don’t like. Given that the cheapest pillow you can find is often $39 I like to up-cycle these ones.

I look in my inventory and yes, I have over a hundred pillows sitting there looking at me saying “take me”, “use me”. But honestly for one of my projects this week, even with all these pillows batting their eyes at me I still need one more to complete one of my projects this week. It’s a yellow geometric pillow that I want and I have the material that I found in a remnants bin at the fabric store.

I couldn’t for the life of me remember how to do the zipper, even though it had only been about 3 weeks since my last one. It might have been that it was 9:30 at night and I was just tired. I contemplated just forgetting about it for the night and going to bed. But I needed the pillow and it was tonight or tomorrow night. Scratching my head, and really not having a clue, I stared at the material for a bit but honestly I couldn’t for the life of me remember! I considered asking Suri, but decided to use my laptop instead. Setting up my sewing machine, back to back on my desk with my laptop I grabbed another chair for the other side of my desk.

Googling it I found the same tutorial I used the first time on Heytherehome.com. Skimming quickly I remembered right away. I have to admit, I wasn’t up to reading it again…I just needed to see the image for the zipper placement again quickly.

zipper pillow 2
easy-zippered-pillow-cover-tutorial
zipper pillow 3

Twenty minutes or so later, ta da, my yellow geometric zippered pillow!

yellow geometric pillow
It’s really not that hard, and it’s a great way to reuse old pillows and save money. Check the remnants bins at your local fabric store, or wait for a sale on fabric. Oh, you will need a zipper as well, they will run you around $4.00 each, but again you can wait for a sale.
Here’s a link to the full tutorial is you’re up to trying it yourself: Zippered Pillow tutorial
I promise, it’s really not that hard!