The votes have been tallied!

Here’s how you voted in the design polls:

How would you describe your style?

Preview

16 % Coastal

16 % French Country

16 % Other

What would you add to your backyard if space was not an issue?

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20 % Deck

20 % Outdoor Fireplace

20 % All of the above

Which room in your home would you make bigger?

Three-way tie between Master Bedroom, Kitchen and Mudroom.

Did you vote in my latest poll? 

Change the look of your living room in an afternoon

The fireplace mantel in my living room was feeling a little bland. It was in need of a refresh. So, I now had a project for Saturday afternoon. I hit Moss on the Danforth in search of accent pieces.

I found these two stainless steel lanterns. They’re modern looking, but evoke the feeling you get during of a seaside vacation. Just what I was looking for. I added two white candles to finish the look.

Coastal Lanterns
Coastal Lanterns

I headed home. No need to spend any more money. I have a kitchen shelf full of vases. I pull out three similar glass vases. These will do just fine. Now, I’m on a mission for seashells and rocks to keep with the modern coastal design. I know I have both from a trip down south years ago.

Seashells
Seashells

I fill the vases and add them to the mantel. I stumble across more filler in the dining room credenza. (You just never know where you’ll find filler.) I head back to the kitchen where I keep my tea lights and candle holders. I grab two of each.

Tea Lights
Tea Lights

 

I add each of the items to the mantel, but something is still missing. I make my way up to my home office. A quick scan of the room and I spot a small, silver clock and a white, dove figurine. They’re the finishing touches I was looking for. I think I’m all set.

 

Small Clock
Small Clock

 

After rearranging the items a few times, I step back and exam the display. I call up my husband from the basement, where he was watching TV, to give me his opinion. And there you have it. I spent very little money and two hours on a Saturday afternoon to change the look of my fireplace mantel.

Fireplace Mantel Display
Fireplace Mantel Display

 

What do you think? Any other quick and inexpensive home projects you can do in one afternoon?

Six tricks to help de-clutter your bathroom

Is your bathroom small, cramped and disorganized? Well, you’re not alone. Better Homes and Gardens has the following storage solutions for tiny bathrooms:

Here are my space-saving ideas:

If possible, try to incorporate storage into the design of your bathroom. Add built-in shelves to your shower to hold your soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream and razor. Check out Leslie Rocha’s clever use of an “L” shaped, shower shelf (photographed below) in her recently renovated bathroom.

Bathroom Storage, Photo by L.Rocha
Bathroom Storage, Photo by L.Rocha

Install floating shelves above the toilet for additional storage or to display decorative items. Use a tray to keep similar and small items together or display items in clear containers such as soaps, brushes or swabs.

Floating Shelf
Floating Shelf

Consider a mirrored medicine cabinet for make-up and other toiletries. IKEA has many different styles to choose from.

A vanity is a great way to hide cleaning supplies. Stack bins on the shelves or hang organizers on the cabinet doors to keep items neat and tidy. Check out the latest trends on bathroom vanities from Interior Designer Jane Lockhart.

Place pretty baskets or bins on the floor or on shelves to store extra rolls of toilet paper or clean towels.

For additional storage, add a stylish shelf above the bathroom door to help keep loose items out of sight.

There never seems to be enough space in my bathroom? How do you de-clutter your bathroom?

Read this before you redo your bathroom

Leslie Rocha and her husband are renovating their 1,500 square foot, semi-detached home north of Danforth Avenue. The couple’s first project was a one-month bathroom remodel.

“We started from scratch. It was a full gut job. The renovation included new plumbing, reconfiguring the layout, expanding the footprint and installing a new window,” said Leslie.

The house was built-in the 1920s and with older homes it has its share of challenges.

“The first challenge was the plumbing. We had to relocate pipes in the bathroom to make it work. Then the stack was in the way so, we had to design around it and decided to cover it. We also removed the low ceiling in the shower to allow for more natural light and to open up the space. The flow of the bathroom was cramped, so we decided to extend it by a foot into the third bedroom,” added Leslie.

After living in a construction zone for over a month, dealing with contractors and a messy house, the couple ended up with their “dream” bathroom.

The renovation was a learning experience for the newlyweds. In the months to come they will start to redesign the main floor of their home, but before they do they have these bathroom renovating tips to share:

1. Plan it out thoroughly. “We spent three months researching and planning out every single detail. We left extra money in the budget, so that we would have some wiggle room in case of unexpected surprises especially with such an old house.”

2. Pay attention to the small details. “Think about where you want to place the vents and outlets. Our contractor put an outlet above the sink and on the same wall as the mirror. Looking back now, it should have been placed on the opposite wall.”

New Vanity & Lights
New Vanity & Lights, Photo by L. Rocha

3. Look at your lifestyle and your needs. “I love the bathtub, but in the future it may be difficult to bathe our kids once we start a family.”

New Bathtub & Window
New Bathtub & Window, Photo by L. Rocha

4. Make it as functional as possible. “You want to have enough room to store your everyday essentials.” For more tips, consider these suggestions from the Style at Home experts.

Tell me are you thinking about updating the look of your bathroom? What’s the one must-have item?

Five easy steps to styling your shelves

Styling Shelves
Tips for Styling Shelves

Divide up your books and stack them on different shelves either horizontally or vertically. Use unique bookends to add visual interest to the shelves. Take a look at how Style at Home Design Editor Christine Hanlon put a simple twist on this concept and covered books in natural paper.

Add picture frames to the shelves. Choose different shapes and sizes. I like to use black or silver picture frames with a white matt board in a grouping.

Place baskets, boxes or tins scattered on shelves and store items, such as photos or other odds and ends. Stick to a similar style such as these simple, white storage boxes from IKEA to help unify the space.

Pick your favourite collectibles and display a few on each shelf. Don’t have any collectibles? Use vases, jars and figurines. Check out Bouclair for a mix of reasonably priced decorative accents.

Lastly, use a tray to group items together and help keep your shelves looking neat and tidy.

Let me know if I left anything off my list?

Top paint trends for 2015

I grew up in a mostly beige house. My parents shied away from colour.

When I was a teen, I painted my bedroom mint green. In my first condo, I experimented with accent walls. And in my first home, I picked steel grey for my kitchen.

Choosing a paint colour is easy for some and overwhelming for others. It can be hard to image what your room will look like from a small paint chip. There are so many paint colours it can be confusing. And then there’s the fear of picking the wrong colour and having to live with it.

Paint chips
Paint chips

Nowadays, the experts are making it easier to pick paint colours.

Benjamin Moore has chosen Guilford Green as the colour of the year and describe it as a silvery green that works with everything. The colour was on display at the International Design Show inToronto.

Guilford Green
Guilford Green

Para Paints has selected Spectrolite as its colour of the year. It is a deep shade of celestial blue.

While Farrow & Ball picked paler colours for the trends of 2015, including Pink Ground, Light Blue and Breakfast Room Green.

While BEHR shows off Essential Teal, Secret Blush and Sonic Blue in the 2015 Colour and Style trends video.

Deciding on a wall colour is personal. You know the colours you love instantly by the way they make you feel.

What colours do you tend to stick with?

Highlights from the International Design Show in Toronto

Wandering through the display kitchens and bathrooms, flipping through fabric swatches and paint chips at the International Design Show is an annual tradition for me. I’m always looking for ‘inspiration’ and that one unique piece for my place.

This year’s show featured beautifully, hand-crafted, wooden furniture perfect for your summer home (if you’re lucky enough to have one).

Wooden furniture
Wooden furniture

Sticking with the cottage theme, Urban Barn showed off its beach and nautical inspired pillows, throws and accessories for your living room, bedroom or home office.

Anchor pillow
Anchor pillow

If ‘anchors’ aren’t your thing, there were also plenty of ‘Canadiana’ cottage accessories on display.

Canadiana cottage
Canadiana cottage

I don’t know about you, but I sure am ready for summer. So too, are the designers at the show. A touch of outdoors was brought indoors for those already shopping for patio furniture.

Miniature greenhouse
Miniature greenhouse

Before I was done strolling up and down the aisles, I came across this napkin and thought to myself, ‘this is why I come to the design show.’ Where do you find your inspiration?

Where do you find inspiration?
Where do you find inspiration?