5 Tips for Accessorizing Your Space

Decor accessorizing is one of my fave things about interior design and decor; it’s like a treasure hunt and I do like a good bargain, as well as the fun and challenge of using items for purposes other than their intended use. This week I share tips for accessorizing as the final touch to updating and refreshing your spaces. Read on for guidance!

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2019 Home Decor Trends Guaranteed to Inspire You

I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Interior Design Show in Toronto, Canada – this is one of the not to be missed shows for designers and decorators from around the world. A wide range of product companies descend on Toronto to showcase new products and discuss trends and new developments. While I strolled the trade floor and chatted with the company reps, I noticed a number of trends that will be informing design and decor in the coming months and years ahead. I want to share these trends to inspire you as you contemplate spring updates to your abode. Read on!

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Easy Decor Updates for Spring

Hello and happy spring! Who hasn’t been enjoying this glorious sun and longer days?! All this extra light brings more energy and puts a smile on everyone’s face – have you noticed that when you’re out and about? I don’t know about you, but this change of seasons and increased energy make me want to make some changes from my transitional winter decor to a more spring-like look. Read on for some easy updates.

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Whimsical Decor for Every Style

I am so excited to share my July Guest Blogger post with you. As with so many of us, Kim Converse is a creative who has always pursued her artistic side but as a hobby. She is now able to do what she loves full time but her current creations are quite diverse from her original textile artistic productions.

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Design Informs Art

In my interior design biz I have come across a number of fascinating, unique and interesting artists, ‘creatives’ and designers. These are folks who are pursuing their passions and sharing the results with a broader audience in a number of different ways.

They have caught my eye and attention as their creations align with my aesthetic that design and decor should be comfortable and livable, simple not complicated and include a touch of whimsy – a necessary element to any design.

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Ideas for Simple Winter Decor

While it is far too early to decorate for spring which is a loooong way off for those of us surviving the cold, snowy winter in the northern hemisphere, what can we do to decorate for the winter season now that the holidays are behind us?

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4 Steps to Hanging a Gallery Wall

Over time we accumulate pictures, art work, mementos and decor items that we’d like to display and enjoy rather than leave tucked away in cupboards and drawers. This is often best achieved in the form of a gallery wall. The following steps will help you achieve a beautiful look without creating more work and effort.

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When Pigs Fly

I seem to have developed an attraction to flying pigs, yes, flying pigs! Is it the meaning behind them, “when pigs fly”, or just that they’re cute? I think it’s both. “When pigs fly” keeps me pushing towards goals, setting even more challenging goals and working hard to achieve those goals I have set for myself be it personal or business.

But flying pigs are cute; I have a couple incorporated into my décor. They’re fun, whimsical and add a touch of ‘quirk’ to my décor no matter what room or area of my home they are in. The one on my kitchen windowsill is a cute little one called Petunia that is a beautiful pale pink. As I do dishes or am moving around the kitchen cooking and baking, she reminds me to breath, see life as an endless journey of joy and laugher and reminds me of my goals, my future vision and that determination is the root of achievement.

Petunia Pig.jpg

The verdigris flying pig which is much larger has a delightful look of joy on his face. What a charming reminder that life should be lived, every action we undertake should fill us with joy,  and that we should surround ourselves with people and things that make us happy.

Verdigris Pig.jpg

As I decorate my home, I always use items that delight me, will always bring me joy and will always put a smile on my face every time I walk into that room. Despite the item’s colour, shape, texture or purpose, incorporating items that delight me make my space personal, whimsical, add a touch of the unexpected and make that space just a little bit swank.

What is in your décor that makes you smile, makes you happy and brings joy to your space?

 

My Source of Inspiration

Happy Friday all – hope you have a relaxing weekend planned! In chatting with family, friends and clients, I often get asked where I find my inspiration. Admittedly some days I don’t feel too inspired but, on the days I do, there are many sources of creativity. It comes from a wide range of places – hiking and observing, listening and sensing nature; magazines that illustrate many styles and approaches to design and décor; the colours and textures of natural elements; and, playing with and re-arranging accessories to find new looks and layouts for vignettes.

But there is one event that is a fantastic and almost overwhelming source of inspiration, motivation, enthusiasm and ideas that feed my décor and design passion. It is the annual Interior Design Show that takes place every January in Toronto (the fall show takes place in Vancouver). This is design and décor writ large and has participation and presentations from some of the biggest names in the biz as well as a number of brands whose booths showcase the latest products and designs.

IDS also showcases up and coming designers, artisans and craftsmen who challenge the status quo and present creations that are at once innovative, funky, practical and out of the box but will meets the emerging needs in our ever changing society.

This year, inspiration and motivation have come from these Canadian companies:

W Studio Decorative Carpets (www.wstudio.ca)

These decorative carpets are works of art, hand knotted with sustainable materials such as wool and silk. They are so unique and beautiful it’s almost a shame to walk on them! W Studio provides highly personalized service and has an extensive collection which ensures there is a perfect carpet for every décor style.

Junction Wood + Metal (www.junctionwoodandmetal.com)

The Junction Wood + Metal Company designs and creates stylish and unique furniture pieces. The pieces are crafted from sustainable woods around Ontario such as walnut, maple or white oak, or reclaimed century old douglas fir or pine. The metal bases of the tables are hand welded and frequently powder coated to maximize strength and durability. Tables are made to order in a variety of finishes, base colours and sizes ensuring you can find a piece perfect for your space and décor.

Dusil Design & Landscape Inc. (www.dusildesign.com)

Dusil Design is a one-of-a-kind design company that develops residential landscape designs to meet client’s needs. But what really caught my eye at IDS were Alica’s metal sculptures and privacy screens. This energetic and creative designer makes custom pieces that are available in natural rust or protective paint finishes. Many are designed as garden art to enliven outdoor spaces and provide some privacy but would be equally suited to interior décor. This makes for unique pieces that provide a focal point and conversation piece and the addition of lights adds yet another dimension.

Beauti-Tone (https://www.homehardware.ca/en/index/beauti-tone)

Beauti-Tone is the only Canadian owned and manufactured retail paint brand produces a full range of paint products in water and solvent based formulas as well as the popular line of Natura products, all which are exclusive to Home Hardware. Their install at IDS was varied and unique and stood out among the paint companies featured at the show.

Canadian designer Simon Chang, in partnership with Beauti-tone, has developed a line of beautiful designer colours featured in a wall of stilettos. This unique feature was playful and attracted a lot of attention, although sadly none of the shoes were for sale!

Simon Chang Shoes.jpg

The Beauti-tone 2017 Colour of the Year, You Look Mauve-lous (SC169-0), was featured in the home library install of the booth and featured books and objets d’art painted in the colour. This relaxing calm colour is perfect for accessories, accents and pairs well with many shades on the colour wheel.

Canadian Green Design (http://www.canadiangreendesign.com)

Canadian Green Design uses woods from around the world, including the bottom of lakes, to create one of a kind pieces for your home from tables and lighting to doors, shelving and wine racks. Each piece is polished to enhance and highlight the live edge and natural textures, patterns and colours of the wood. The woods are mixed with glass, metal and other materials resulting in unique artistic additions to any décor.

I always come back from IDS brimming with motivation, ideas and plans for new projects as well as enthusiasm for what is yet to come in the design and décor world. Can’t wait to share more with you so stay tuned! In the meantime have a fantastic weekend and remember to keep it swank!

 

Trends Made Simple

Happy New Year! This time of year is always energizing as we head into a brand new year – a blank slate with so many exciting possibilities, projects and plans. This is also the time of year the décor magazines, websites and blogs are filled with ideas and opinions about what is ‘trendy’ for the coming year with respect to style, architecture and colour – are you inundated and overwhelmed yet?!

The subtle or not so subtle message is that our current décor is no longer stylish or relevant and it’s time to refresh it all. The subtle message is that if we don’t implement the trending design elements, our décor will appear outdated and inappropriate.  This drives me crazy!! I don’t know about you but my budget doesn’t allow me to start afresh every year. Think of the environmental nightmare were we to do just that and the absence of our personal style and flair?

So how do we avoid becoming ‘sheep’, yet continue to stay somewhat up-to-date and stylish and reflect our own décor style with flair?

Solid Foundation

First, start with a solid foundation. It is important that a room have good ‘bones’ and structure. Basic elements such as a sofa and chairs and side tables, should be classic and timeless and allow for small and subtle changes to be easily made around them. If these elements are neutral in terms of style, shape, colour and finish, it is easy to incorporate elements of trends such as colour, pattern and texture. Trendy styles quickly become dated and are costly and disruptive to update.

Photo Courtesy of E. Armstrong

Photo Courtesy of E. Armstrong

Colour

Every paint company selects a ‘colour of the year’. Again, this should be an inspiration and if it is too intense for your décor or taste, consider a slightly lighter or less intense shade. If you want to make some simple updates, consider where you could use the colour to maximize impact at minimal cost. Consider pillows, a throw, lampshades, candles, decorative accessories or table linens. A trending colour can also be used on an accent wall or in draperies if you are prepared to take on a larger project and update.

Fabric

Trending fabrics and patterns can be reflected in pillows or draperies or your bed linens. I also love the randomness of contrasting patterns (having everything matching is predictable and uninspired). Think stripes or checks with floral, chevrons with polka dots or geometric patterns with stripes or polka dots. The continuity and cohesiveness of these contrasting patterns comes with ensuring the scale of the patterns is consistent in size, that the tone or hue of colour is compatible and that the size of the item - for example pillows - is the same.

Hardware

New hardware on doors and cabinets is an easy and economical way to update the décor in your kitchens and bathrooms as trends change. If you are doing a major renovation or building a new home, basic cabinets are timeless and classic and easily adapted to décor trends.

Rugs

Replacing a tired or worn out area rug with one in a trending colour and material is another quick and practical way to update your décor. These are easy to add to every room in the house and can be coordinated with linens, pillows, throws and décor items such as candles and decorative accessories for a rejuvenated and updated look.

Mix It Up

I love the unique decor that comes with mixing contrasting materials and styles. This is an effective way of mixing your current décor with the trending elements that you love. Again, continuity and cohesiveness can be achieved by selecting a limited number of materials (I’m referring here to wood, ceramic, granite, metal, concrete, glass, etc.). Too many together can result in a space that appears disjointed and chaotic. The same applies to patterns and colour; ensure the tone and hue of colour are consistent and patterns are of similar scale to create a relaxing, comfortable space.

Photo Courtesy of E. Armstrong

Photo Courtesy of E. Armstrong

Combining differing styles can be a unique and funky way to reflect your style preferences and personality, so have some fun! I have seen French country chic with a touch of industrial or coastal with overtones of Boho – it can work and result in stunning and sophisticated rooms!

Have Fun!

These are just some of the many ways in which trending styles and colours can be integrated into your existing décor in a simple and stylish way. Refreshing the look of you home does not necessarily mean a big price tag; you can reflect your décor personality and flair in a unique way. And most importantly, have fun! Create your own look, reflect your own style and remember comfortable and elegant interiors can be achieved through simple updates.

 

Simply Christmas

Happy Friday all! I hope your week has been fab and that you have a restful, relaxing weekend planned. Here at Simply Swank Décor, we are gearing up for the festive season and have been designing Christmas décor ideas for each and every area of the home. I will be writing about these in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

Not long ago I wrote about transitioning from summer to fall décor (how can we be discussing Christmas décor already?!). As you may recall, I have a foundation in each of the primary areas around my home that I decorate for the season and/or occasion, i.e., mantel, top of the hutch, and the dining table centerpiece. At Christmas, I go a bit further (add in my EL’s eye roll here!) and add a touch of Christmas to the bathrooms, kitchen, entry way and of course the front porch.

The dining table centerpiece was the first to be done (yep, way early there!) due to a photo shoot I did for a December magazine article. I decided to leave it in place and let it shape and influence the Christmas décor in other areas of our home. I really love and appreciate natural elements and as I transition our home to coastal décor, natural elements continue to play a huge role.

For the centerpiece, I left the foundation rocks in the wooden tray and swapped out the orange candles used in the fall for a trio of pale blue/sea green candles. They coordinate beautifully with my set of pale turquoise and white placemats and burlap table runner. I added in silver spray painted mini pinecones, some small white and silver ornaments and starfish. I initially added some grape vine stars that I had painted silver but much prefer the starfish.

I would love to know what your Christmas décor plans are and be sure to share pics – always love to see what all of you are doing. Have a great weekend!

Simply Cozy

Fall, with its cooler evenings and milder days, makes us start snuggling in. After the summer we’ve had (record breaking heat, severe drought), it was hard to imagine the autumn season would arrive. But here it is!

You may find yourself looking for a lap throw to snuggle under while reading in the morning or evening, creating a warm glow with candles, and transitioning to warmer, earthy colours in our décor accessories. Transitioning from a lighter, airy summer décor to a warmer, cozier fall style can be a simple and easy process that doesn’t take loads of time. Summer is a time of light and airy décor. In fall, the use of richer, warmer colours and textures dials up the cozy and makes our homes relaxed and comfortable and mixing contrasting patterns and textures adds even more depth and comfort.

The following ideas can be adapted to many décor styles and create rooms you may never want to leave!

Throws – drape one over the arm of your sofa or favourite chair. Available in a wide range of colours, throws can also be found in many materials such as chenille, wool or mohair and are also available in strips, plaids and solids.

Pillows – no husband that I know likes throw cushions but what a simple and easy way to change the look of any room! There are some really fun cushions out there in a wide variety of colours, patterns, textures (faux fur is back :) and appliqués.

Candles – one of my fav décor elements! In fall I love the deep amber and orange as well as cream colours available and many stores now carry unscented candles in a wide variety of colours and sizes.

Natural Elements – leaves, fruit, pinecones and nuts and grapevine can all be beautifully incorporated into fall décor and many of these items can easily transition from fall to winter and Christmas décor (yes, I said it!). They are plentiful at the grocery store, the farmers market or in your own backyard.

Area rugs – adding an area rug or two to the side of the bed, in front of a sofa (layering an area rug over wall-to-wall creates depth and texture) kitchen or entranceway can enhance the coziness and add a splash of warm colour to your home.

Enjoy updating your home for fall and be sure to cozy up with a cuppa when you are finished so you can admire and enjoy your changes. Wishing all of you a blessed Thanksgiving and remember to be grateful and give thanks for the simple pleasures and treasures in your life.

Simple Fall Decor

Fall has arrived! Unofficially of course, but the temperate days and cooler nights signal that it is here. With the change of seasons many of us make some updates to our décor to reflect the fall season.

I have three main display areas in my living room and kitchen area and changes in these areas signal a change in the season and/or celebrations. While updates to these areas sound like a lot of work, I have established a ‘foundation’ display in each area that I can easily and simply update. I can update one at a time or all at once as my schedule allows, which makes for an easy transformation.

The top of the hutch has a foundation of a cork filled bird cage (a very pleasant and enjoyable work in progress!), a grapevine wreath, a hurricane vase and a candle lantern. The bird cage always remains as is. However, the wreath has greenery on it in summer which is layered with maple leaf shaped mini glimmer lights in fall (http://www.pier1.com/glimmer-strings#nav=top); the candle lantern is empty in summer but mini gourds, pine cones, pumpkins and cinnamon sticks fill it in the fall; the hurricane vase contains sand and sea shells along with a white or pale blue candle in summer which is swapped out for acorns with a cream coloured candle in fall. The filler items around this ‘foundation’ can be clear or sea blue glass bottles or more pillar candles in summer and clear glass and a white pumpkin in fall.

The fireplace mantel foundation is made up of a large rectangular silver framed mirror casually leaning against the wall along with a large apothecary candle jar and two pillar candle stands all in sea green glass. In summer these are enhanced with starfish, seashells and sea green coloured candles. The fall transition means a white candle in the apothecary jar, removal of the seashells and the addition of clear glass and white pumpkins and one of the pillar candles for balance. I did keep one starfish this year – I thought it was a lovely contrast to the teal coloured gourd. It’s a simple but festive display!

The dining table in the kitchen has a foundation of seasonal coloured/styled table runner and shallow rectangular wooden tray. The tray is filled with stones, a small glass candle holder and a couple of glass votive holders and décor elements change around this to reflect the season or celebration. In fall the stones are topped by small pinecones, acorns, colourful fall leaves and mini pumpkins and/or gourds; the candle is swapped out for a cream coloured or orange one and fall scented candles are added to the votives.

I also have a large metal bucket in a corner of the dining area and the contents are always swapped out for something more appropriate to the season or celebration – in fall it’s a large bouquet of fall leaves (maple and maiden’s hair), bittersweet and mini jute pumpkins.

Having a foundation of décor elements in each of these areas keep updates from being overwhelming and time consuming and allows for quick and simple refreshes. It also eases storage as the décor items can be stored away by location and easily pulled out one at a time or all at once, as your time allows.

Have fun transitioning your home for fall and be sure to share pics – I would love to see what you’re up to!

 

 

Cohesiveness in a Chaotic World

Creating a cohesive design and look isn’t as difficult or tricky as you might think; with some fundamental understanding of colour, scale and the rule of 3 (what I refer to as the ‘rule of odd’), anyone can bring balance to their space with bold, contrasting prints.

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