Taking colour to the next level

It’s easy to stick to a neutral colour palette when buying furniture and accessories. It’s easy, timeless and everything goes together. But don’t think that colour can’t have those qualities too. Bright and saturated accessories, furniture and walls can really add personality to your living space, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot to buy into this trend – the commitment level is totally up to you!

Spring Fling

Now that the sun is out, I’m so tempted to bring some bright pops of colour indoors. I have very neutral furniture – grey couch, white shelving, black and white rug – and it could definitely use a refresh. I’m not ready for a big investment such as brand new furniture, so I’ll test it out for a while to see if I’m ready for the next level. Easy pieces to integrate into your current decor can be oversized art, throw pillows, colourful pottery, and bar stools. 

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Spring @ The Bay

Last week I was lucky enough to attend an event at The Bay launching their home department Spring lineup. The Bay’s downtown Toronto location showcased amazing home furnishings from top designers on the sixth floor, and kitchenwares in their new and improved space on the seventh floor, which was renovated in 2014. For years the top floor at the flagship location was overlooked and outdated, but now is a haven for anyone looking for small appliances, housewares, and bridal registries, thanks to the addition of Kleinfeld’s last year. Here is the HBC Home Look Book to get you inspired for Spring.

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Top shelf

For some reason, I am always drawn to shelves. Even though I definitely do not need nor have any room for new furniture, I am very tempted with a good shelving unit. Perhaps it is because it is a blank slate – you can use it to store just about anything, and therefore it could be used in living rooms, bedrooms, and even kitchens. I love it – a good bookshelf can be a practical focal point of the room that allows lifestyle to become the art in the room.


The beauty about shelves is that you can find pretty much anything to match your own personal style – modern, mid-century, traditional, rustic, or a clean Scandinavian look. Continue reading

The IKEA Effect

Even the biggest IKEA fan knows what it means to visit on a weekend. It is a major undertaking that will leave your emotions and wallets drained. But I love it. Walking away with your haul, dizzy with thoughts of how you can rearrange your living room to fit that new console table, how your couch will look with those fantastic throw pillows.

And then there is that thrill of building your furniture yourself. Wait, what? What thrill? Do you mean the painful 6 hours of assembling those wardrobes, only to have the doors still slightly askew? I don’t think I know anyone who actually enjoys assembling furniture with just an Allen key, but perhaps it’s the idea of the finished product that keeps us going. Putting in all the time and sweat to build that table, those shelves, install that pendant lamp, makes you feel pretty awesome. There is even a name for this feeling – “The IKEA Effect“, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, which proves we place way more value on something that we built ourselves, even if it is from a pre-made kit.

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The gallery wall

Hanging things on the wall is a big commitment. For four or five years, I have been admiring all kinds and variations of ‘gallery walls’, but I have still yet to do the real thing. I will hang posters and prints here and there, but a gallery wall seems like a big undertaking, lining everything up with such precision, and also nailing so many holes into one wall. There are many interpretations of this trend, from perfectly symmetrical to the mixed-frame organic approach.

Map symmetrical

The symmetrical arrangement

  • Frames are arranged uniformly, with the same size and colour – in groups of 3 in a row, or a grid of 4, 6 or 8.
  • Height of arrangement depends on the furniture below – if you are doing a grid design, lower furniture (like a bench or console table) works best, so art is the main focus.
  • Best for art with similar themes, or a continuous image displayed over multiple frames.

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IDS Highlights

A few weeks ago, I attended IDS – the Interior Design Show here in Toronto. It was my first time, and I was pretty excited just to walk down the isles and check out all the big names in the industry. And also daydream of the house I will build when I win the lottery. It was a great experience and I highly recommend it for next year. Yes, you may not be able to afford anything, except maybe for magazine subscriptions, but it has great vibrant energy and will even get you excited about faucets. Plus, you don’t get the pushy sales vibe you feel from the typical home shows – everyone here is genuinely excited about their works of art.

My favourite highlight was the IKEA booth, where they showed off their new Sektion kitchen cabinets three different ways, with two designed by home decor magazine editor teams. Not all the products were from IKEA, but that’s exactly what they wanted – to feature how you can use IKEA as a base, then go wild with your own style.

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