Friday, February 11, 2011

Love Your Home Week - Day 5

Love Your Home Week comes to a close with one last small project idea with big results:

Replace Your Bedding

While a decent bedding set can be costly, if it's the only thing you do in your master or guest bedroom to change the overall look, it is money well spent! This time of year home stores often have promotions, so if it's not in the budget, watch for the sales. Our bedrooms are often neglected as a room that we "only sleep in" or as a room that "no one really sees", but perhaps it's time to finally spoil the room that you spend approximately a third of your day in. When updating your bedding, be sure to splurge on new pillows as well. These should be replaced at the very least annually.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love Your Home Week - Day 4

Love Your Home Week continues with more small project ideas with big results:

Replace Out-dated Hardware

Replace your hardware on cupboards in your home, whether it’s your kitchen cabinets, your bathroom cabinets, or your dresser. Updated pulls and handles can make a world of difference. If you're selling your home, updated pulls will instantly increase your home's value, for a minimal investment.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love Your Home Week - Day 3

Love Your Home Week continues with small project ideas with big results, starting with:


I speak often of the wonders of paint. It really is the most cost effective way to dramatically change the look of a room. If you’re not interested in a painting a whole room, consider a focal wall. Take a look at your furniture. Have a table or accent piece that is dated, but isn’t in the budget to replace? Give it a face- lift with a fresh coat of paint.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Love Your Home - Day 2

In honour of Valentine's, Love Your Home Week continues:

Re-Arrange Your Space

Sometimes we get so accustomed to our room layout, that it doesn’t occur to us to change it. In Home Staging, I find that the number one problem with most homes is the furniture arrangement. Every consultation I do includes at least one new furniture arrangement, sometimes more. It’s amazing what re-configuring can do to a space. Be sure to measure before doing any heavy lifting. For rooms that are used often for entertaining, determine your focal point. If you have a fireplace, or distinct architectural features, this can be obvious. Otherwise, perhaps it’s a bold painting, or a focal wall, or maybe it’s a vignette. Whatever it is, once you have determined your focal point, arrange the furniture to compliment it instead of distracting from it, or worse yet, hiding it. If re-arranging the furniture isn't feasible, consider updating the room with a colourful area rug. This is an especially great decorating tip for apartments, where painting may not be an option.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Love Your Home Week - Day 1

There are many ways to show your home a little TLC, and what better time to do this then Valentine's Day! This week I'll give you tips for some small projects with big results to show your home how much you care.

Day 1 - Clear Out The Clutter
Yes, this generally falls under “Spring Cleaning”, but in the springtime I like to be outside, so to me this is a great winter project. Nothing revives a room more than simply re-organizing. As much as I strive for a place for everything, and everything in it’s place, clutter can inevitably build up, especially after the holidays, as you try to fit in all the new, without clearing out the old. Go through your closet and clear out the clothes you don’t wear and donate them to a local charity. Then take a look around the rest of your home with fresh eyes. Are your toiletries taking over your bathroom? Pick up some matching decorative baskets and group like items together. Weed out items that are not used every day and find them a new home. I picked up these baskets at the dollar store for $2 each, but no one really needs to know that!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Marilyn Denis Is BACK!!

The popular former Cityline host Marilyn Denis is back on National Television with The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV (@MarilynDenisCTV). Her return a couple of weeks ago has been incredibly received and I look forward to sitting down with my PVR each night to catch her show. She features a variety of topics, from celebrity guests, to fashion trends, to how to be fit and healthy. And yes, she even showcases a little home decor (and yes, I would LOVE to be a guest on her show to give her some of my amazing Around The House ideas). But until then, be sure to check her out 10am EST on CTV. Welcome back Marilyn!

Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rules for Working With Designers

Hiring - How do you choose?
The best way to find a reliable professional in any field is by references. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. If this proves to be a dead end, then search yellow pages and online search engines, but references should still be available. Don't be afraid to ask for testimonials, references, and to look at their portfolio. This will give you a good idea of how they do business, and whether or not they're a good fit for you and your project. Whether they are referred by friends or family or not, be sure to ask them questions, such as how long they've been in business for, as well as their knowledge on the specific project that you're looking at taking on.

Most designers and stagers will charge for a quote. This is because in order to quote, they need to conceptually develop a plan for your home, and this means revealing their great ideas. Remember that you're paying for their expertise, and not their time, though often the charges are quantified in terms of time or on a per project basis, for easy billing. If the designer or stager offers to provide you with a quote at no charge, be careful as you may get what you paid for, or didn't pay for.

Clarify What You Want
Be sure to e clear with your expectations for timeline, budget, and what you like and don't like. Don't allow any professional to get started without clarifying to you what you are getting, and what you will be paying.

Do not pay for work that has not been performed. For larger projects, a deposit may be required, but be sure not to pay in full until the project has been completed to your satisfaction.

Making Decisions
Don't be afraid to speak your mind. Obviously, if you've chosen to hire a professional, then you have done so for their expertise and their opinion, but that does not mean that your opinion doesn't count. The end result still needs to reflect your style and taste. Designers will push you beyond your comfort zone. As a general rule, find your comfort zone, then step at least 1 step past this. If you trust your designer, they may be able to get you further past your comfort zone with a design that you will love.

Have Fun
Renovations are exciting. Whether your staging to sell, or renovating, leave the stress to your designer, and enjoy your home.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Organizing Tip - Electrical Cords

Do you have a chaotic mess of cords behind your tv, stereo, and computer? Here are some easy tips for minimizing the confusion:

1. Use twist ties to keep all hidden cords together. These can also be used to control extra long cords - gather up the loose cord and secure with a twist tie when the correct length is achieved.

2. Label your cords! This one is a bit of a "why didn't I think of that?" idea - stick a label at the base of the cord identifying what the cord belongs to. This will eliminate the "what does this plug go with?" confusion.

3. For exposed cords, invest in a cord wrap. It's basically a plastic tube that wraps around your cords, and is available in various sizes, and can usually be found in black or white. This will help to blend the cords in with your baseboards so it's not such a tangled, exposed mess.