Monday, January 25, 2010

Everything You Need To Know About Vignettes - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

If you have ever watched a design show, you have certainly heard the term “Vignette” thrown around, but may not really understand what this is. This week’s Around The House takes a look at vignettes, and answers all of your questions, starting with what it is, to tips for creating the perfect vignette for your home.

What Is A Vignette?
Decorative vignettes are eye-catching displays of treasured objects and/or accessories, usually with a similar theme, found on console tables, end tables and nestled on shelves, and can even include wall art. These arrangements add detail to your home's decor and a personal touch to your rooms. Vignettes can be placed at an entrance, as a space filler, or as the focal point of a room.

Choosing The Space
Take a look around your home and see what areas could use a little something extra. Do you have a console table or mantel that just isn’t doing enough for the room? Not enough books to fill a bookcase? Perhaps the top of your staircase is looking a little bare? Find an area that could use a little jazzing up, and build a vignette. If you don’t already have the “resting surface” such as a mantel or table, find one that will fill the space, but won’t clutter it. For example, if you’re looking adding something to the top of your stairs, make sure that the table or desk you choose does not get in the way of the flow of traffic. Have an old trunk laying around the house that you don’t use? Instead of buying a new table, consider making use of the trunk instead.

Getting Started
Take a look at the space surrounding the area where you would like to place the vignette. Decide the theme that you would like the arrangement to have. This can be an accent colour, a hobby, a season, or a decorating style such as country or contemporary. Decide whether you wish to gather items that you already have in your home, or if you want to purchase the items new. Take a look at what you already have before making this decision.

Once you have chosen the theme and the items for your vignette, play with them, keeping in mind that they may not all make the final cut. Choose 3 pieces to be the focal point, then add complimentary pieces. A decorator’s rule is to group objects in odd numbers, but of course there can always be exceptions to the rule. Take various heights into consideration to add depth to the vignette. Be sure that items are similar but still distinctly different. For example, choose 3 vases of the same colour, but in varying shapes and sizes. The key to a visually pleasing vignette is the relationships between objects. Make use of colour, shapes and heights and keep the materials similar, but not necessarily the same.

Finally, review the results. Take a digital picture and examine it. What works and what doesn’t? Make the changes as needed, and feel free to change up every few months to keep it interesting and fresh.

Written by Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes

Monday, January 18, 2010

Make A Big Statement In A Small Space - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

Whether you’re a student trying to make the most of your small apartment on a budget, or living in a metropolis filled with high-cost low on space living accommodations, there are ways to maximize your space. I have put together some tips for selecting the right furniture and colours, as well as managing your storage.

Choosing the right furniture is definitely key in maximizing your space. You can gain space by simply choosing smaller, but still functional furniture. For example, consider an armless couch. While you’ll still have the same space for sitting, you won’t need to take up extra room with the arms. Plus, the couch looks less bulky, and helps to open the space. Downsize your end tables. You may also consider nesting tables as an alternative, and eliminate the coffee table. The smaller nesting tables can be pulled out as needed for entertaining guests. Another alternative to the coffee table is the storage ottoman. This helps to increase your storage space, and many come with a reversible lid that can be used as an extra seat for a guest on one side, and a tray table on the reverse side. Multi-functional furniture is key in small space living, whether it’s a desk that looks like a wardrobe and can close up out of site, or a couch that turns into a bed. While you may not have room for a lot of furniture, be sure to make the most of what you do have.

Make use of your space from floor to ceiling. Owning the property will allow you more flexibility in this, but there are solutions if you’re renting that can be temporary as well. Removing closet doors will help to open up the space, making it easier to manoeuvre, and much less inhibiting. A closet organizer will help to maximize the space, as well as keep it functional and of course, organized. If you can’t install a custom closet, make use of stackable storage bins, and clearly label. Pack away clothes that are out of season, and purge regularly. If you own, consider adding built-ins in the living room to help with media storage, and other miscellaneous storage. Open up a kitchen by replacing the panels in the cabinet doors with frosted or clear glass. This will also force you to keep the cupboards organized. The number one rule when working in a small space is to remember a place for everything, and everything in it’s place. It is cliché, but it works.

Choosing the right colours for your small space can be a challenge. In order to avoid crowding a space with colour, try to avoid using more than 3 colours in any given room. If you’re renting, you’re likely allowed to paint, but will need to return the walls to neutral before moving out. To save yourself some work, go ahead and start with a nice neutral shade, and spruce it up with accent colours in an area rug, throws, cushions, and other accessories. If you own, go ahead and paint what you want, but keep to the lighter shades and avoid dark colours. To make a small room look bigger, paint the ceiling a shade lighter than the walls. For some great colour ideas, check out last week’s article on colour trends for 2010.

Written by Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes

Monday, January 11, 2010

Colour Trends 2010 - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

Touched on briefly in last week’s ATH, 2010’s colours are expected to add lots of excitement to our homes. Big and bold is where we’re headed. Be fearless with colour, and break all the rules. Here are some hot colours to watch for:

We started to see the emergence of “green” in 2009 in both colour and eco-awareness. This will continue for 2010, “Olive Green”, the traditional colour for peace, taking center stage as this year’s hottest hue, giving a kickback to the 70’s and keeping with the return of retro. Remember the green and gold appliances we saw in the 70’s? Find these colours returning in furniture and accent pieces! Combine the retro with modern by pairing green with a fresh pink. Choose a lime green and a soft pink for a bold statement, such as Fussy Pink and Clean Green from Sherwin Williams. Did you know? Green is considered the most restful colour for the eyes.

Bright and bold, look for yellow as a room feature or as an accent colour. Classic white contemporary will be warmed with a touch of yellow. Also see yellow take centre stage in kitchens, as it is often associated with food. Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness and stimulates mental activity. Use this colour in any room in your house, from kitchen to bath, office, or child’s room. Did you know? Yellow is the first colour that kids will tend to reach for! Yellow is the color of sunshine. It's associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. Brighten up a room in your home is my favourite yellow, Lemon Meringue by Benjamin Moore.

Artisan Inspiration
Earth inspired colours from around the globe, especially Asia and India, will emerge as hot colours. Invoke some old world charm to your home with a blend of teal, orange, and gold. Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow and is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Whether you have traveled the world, or just dream of reaching a foreign land, the bold colours will transform any room into a great escape. Indian Maize from PPG Pittsburgh Paints is a nice gold, pair with Opulent Orange from Behr Paints.

Neutrals No Longer Boring!
Not sure about the big and bold, but still want to update the boring beige? Consider using neutrals that step away from the standard grays and taupes. Instead look to spruce up a neutral room with soft hues of lemon yellow and pale blue. Mauve is another peace inspiring colour that will help to brighten up the neutrals. Look for Studio Mauve from Sherwin Williams to break away from traditional.

Written by Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes

Monday, January 4, 2010

Setting The Trend for 2010 - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

Lots of fun and exciting trends emerge for 2010. Some began their appearance first in 2009, but we will see them reach a new level in 2010. Get ready for more “green” products, both in colour and eco-awareness, as well as a break from the modern contemporary to add some warmth, coziness, and colour to the traditional contemporary style. Colours will reflect some retro appeal, and appear big and bold (more on this in next week’s ATH article). As well, accent walls make a grand return, with lots of different styles and textures explored. The big theme for 2010 will be mixing it up. Forget the rules you knew when it came to decorating, and feel free to be creative and expressive in colours, patterns, and styles.

Accent Walls
While accent walls have been around for a while, 2010 you will see lots of different styles and textures in accent walls. While a simple bold colour can still be seen as a great accent, other materials such as wallpaper, which began its return in 2009, will be much more prominent. Look for bold patterns, as well as paintable wallpapers that add even more texture to a room. Accent walls will also feature textures such as grasscloth in various styles and patterns, and wainscoting, as seen in the image to right.

Not limited simply to the walls, textures will add a sense of comfort to a room. Layer and mix various fabrics such as wool, velvet, organic fabrics, furs, and even leathers. Also, as wallpaper makes it’s big comeback look for wallpapered ceilings to add texture to any room.

Bold Mix of Patterns
Another way to add texture will be through patterns. Forget symmetry. Who says you can only have one pattern in a room? Mix and match various patterns, such as stripes with paisleys and flowers with checkers. Have fun with patterns in your walls, textiles, and accent pieces.

Mix High with Low
If there is one great thing that emerged from our most recent recession, it’s the importance of “thrifty” living and sustainability. 2010 will feature a great deal of re-purposing, keeping with the eco-friendly theme, as well as adding character. To avoid looking like a thrift-store junkie, mix select high-end pieces with the classic refurbished pieces. Again, showcasing the retro theme, and mixing the old with the new.

Original Art
Another trend that the recession inspired was do-it-yourself artwork. While I love to support local emerging artists, I also appreciate the uniqueness and originality of this new art trend. Consider painting a wall with chalk board paint to allow the freedom to change up quotes and images as often as you like. Encourage your guests to contribute to the masterpiece. Or purchase word decals to create a phrase to reflect your home’s style and your personality. Various sites online to order from.

Written by Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes