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Fool-proof Techniques to “UP” Your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal matters! Just like first impressions matter. From the outside of your home to the inside. Transforming your exteriors look by updating the quick and easy things first. Like cleaning up the grass, to trimming the trees to a good sweep with a broom. Here are some tips to get you started. I get it – some projects outside feel like so much work, but have some fun with it, and do it in small bits.

Colour

Planter Beds, Window Boxes & Ground Plants, will instantly add colour and charm. Keep in mind a colour theme. Sometimes putting every colour flower, can get to busy looking. I’m sure you all know by now, I love pink, so I do pink, white and yellow. Its eye catching and fun. Highlight the corners of your property, along the driveway and along your entryway, with colour. As with everything for your home, mix the plant and flower sizes, colour and textures. This goes for small bushes and flowering small trees. Now, that wasn’t difficult, was it? On another note for colour, any paint chip in the Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams deck, can be used as an outdoor colour. The trick here is to keep it neutral and than add your pop of colour. Work with your brick or siding colour, to get you started.                                        

Landscape

One of the biggest differences when updating your exterior appeal is landscaping. Don’t go out and buy a whole bunch of small shrubs/trees and just plant them in empty spots. You need to take some time and come up with a plan for the landscape. You need to consider having a good balance; with the lawn, plants, shrubs, and your pathway lighting. You always want to try and give your house the appearance, that the outside marries the inside. I am not a landscape designer, however if you’re a local in the Newmarket/Aurora area, consider having a chat with New Roots Garden Centre, they are family owned and extremely knowledgeable. (I do not get any kickbacks from them; they offer a complimentary quote – you can’t get any better than that!).

Front Door

People often neglect to update their front door. This one people always seem to forget about. However, this is your vocal point, so go to town! A fresh coat of paint or stain on the door would be great. And update the hardware on the door too. If your budget allows, purchase a new door (there are sales all the time) and what a grand entrance it will make. Choose a nice pop colour for the door. People think that everything must match. What matters is that it all flows. You don’t want a bright green door on a red brick house, with a black garage. That’s what I mean, too much going on and to many colours! Having some type of window in the door at the top of it or in the middle, will allow the natural light in. Once that’s done, don’t forget to add a huge outdoor welcome mat. It’s very inviting for your guests.

Lighting

Create a red-carpet entryway! Great lighting is inviting to your visitors and delivery people. Add some low voltage landscape walkway lights. This makes a great impact, in addition to providing safety and security. Add fixtures by your doorway and a clear bright light above your house numbers (this is critical for emergency people, to be able to read house numbers). Add wall scones on each side of the front door. And don’t forget garage lighting. Two large glass coach lights will light up the front of your home and your driveway. Lighting inside and out is the key element in any design project.

Gutters, Down Spouts & Railings

If you have an older home with aged gutters, downspouts and/or peeling paint – I recommend to replace it. Adding a fresh coat of paint or some new siding will instantly transform your curb appeal. If you happen to be going to list your house, anytime you see cracks or rust, it can turn away potential buyers (just saying!). Also, repair any cracks or holes in your driveway, to freshen up the overall look of your home.

So take some time, stand out in front of your home and see what needs updating, fixing or just cleaning up. Create a simple, step by step plan and get started. If you start now, in the next couple of weeks you will be all done. And then you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful new and updated curb appeal you’ve created. If you get stuck or overwhelmed, reach out for help.

Your style, our expertise!

Until next time,

Kathy  

5 Tips on How to Mix Patterns like a PRO!

There are so many different patterns to choose from and it can be overwhelming for some!

Lots of people, still struggle with breaking the mold of the matchy-matchy look. I remember growing up, the curtains, sofa and pillows all matched. …yikes! Thank goodness this is almost absolute.

I get asked all the time, how do I mix patterns? Can I put stripes with flowers? Do the colours matter? How many patterns can I mix in a room?

Patterns mixing can be scary, between colour, scale and patterns, there is a lot to consider! Some decorating mistakes can be costly, and understanding some tricks of the trade will avoid this. There are some foundational elements that make pattern mixing important to keep in mind.

Our goal is to make it easy for you, here are five simple tricks to help you on your way….

Balance – Keep top of mind

  • Distribute patterns evenly
  • Use at least 3 patterns evenly in a room
  • Use colours that compliment one another
  • Balance prints of different scale; large, medium and small
  • Keep fabrics in the same colour family

Patterns – Choose ones you love

  • Ensure you don’t place too many patterns on top of each other (i.e.; damask – works with strips/solids. Florals – stripes, geometric, checks. Paisley – curtains, throws, pillows etc.)
  • Patterns don’t have to be full of different colours
  • Co-ordinating and complementing is key
  • Mix patterns with solids
  • Choose one pattern to be the dominant one

Style – There are many however, here are four to start

  • Stripes are one of the easiest to work with
  • Florals are the opposite of stripes
  • Geometrics are all about repeating simple, linear, and basic shapes
  • Organics have a lot of patterns – inspired by nature, motifs, non-geometric, including animal prints

Colour – Remember your primary colours

  • Connect at least one colour from one item to the next
  • Use your favourite colour and mix designs with the same colour hues
  • Choose complimentary colours
  • Use the colour theory wheel above to assist you
  • Mixing patterns within a restrained palette is a good way to use variety without having varying contrast

Approach – 60-30-10 (doesn’t have to be exact – but have structure of dominance)

  • Mix two or more major patterns with a small accent
  • Choose a major pattern to dominate the room
  • 60 % of a visible pattern (like a large rug)
  • Choose 30% for co-ordinating pattern (like drapes)
  • Be bold with 1% contrasting – chairs, pillows etc.

Have a strategy for mixing items. Keep your patterns straight. Solids are not considered patterns, however when trying to get a series of patterns to work together. Solids can help bring a scheme together without causing more busyness and/or a distraction.  Stripes are most designers secret weapon. (Don’t tell anyone I told you)

Mixing patterns is truly an art, there is a fine line between too-much and too-little. Always, consider function! Don’t over coordinate (I see this over and over). Remember relying on accents to support patterns. Mix and match with incorporating your style.

Now you’re off to the races…. and don’t forget to have some fun, too!

We would love to get in touch with you! Feel free to send us a note and a photo and we’ll send you some ideas. And of course, if you have any questions, comments, or would like to work with us – feel free to contact us directly by email.

Until Next Time!

Kathy

Decorating Your Home on a BUDGET!

Creating an impact for your living-room (or another room in your home), that is affordable and can spice up your space, doesn’t have to be stressful.

Before we breakdown some budget friendly ideas, it’s important to ensure that the space you want to change is: de-cluttered, clean, and organized. This helps make the process go a lot smoother.

Paint

Bring it on! This is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to transform a room. You can either go for a new dramatic look with a deep colour or a safe bet – a neutral colour. When choosing a neutral wall, it often allows for easy rotation of seasonal accents. However, if you consider the dramatic impact (love it), start by doing one wall and see how you like it. For example, a soft white keeps the space light and airy. Some people love everything light and then accent with soft darker tones in furnishings, carpets or cushions. Farm houses and ranch style homes use this colour a lot, especially their kitchens and front hallways.

I wanted to tell you a little secret. Behr Marquee paint (available at Home Depot) offers a one-coat coverage, so you don’t have to buy a primer as well as paint. Just saying…

Cushions and Pillows

Here is where you can have some fun! I love changing pillows, adding pillows, even throwing pillows. And keep up with all the fun, try not to do all matchy, matchy ones, mix it up – I say anything goes!

One important thing to remember when doing cushions, is to make sure you use or purchase ones that are big – like 22 inches and above. Nothing looks more awkward than when the cushions are too small for the piece they are placed on. Or you can sew your own – this always makes for a good story. Another easy way to purchase expensive pillows is purchase them after the season has passed and keep them in a clear bag with a bounce sheet for next season.

Window Treatments

There are many options when it comes to window treatments. And what you prefer on your windows. For myself, we only have curtains up in the dining-room, because you can see it from the pathway. All the other windows in my home have blinds, to allow for as much natural light as possible. But that’s just me. If you like, you can use white sheers all year round. However, to introduce a fresh element, try choosing linen gray treatments for a change and for the long dreary cold winter months.

Another tip is to always hang your curtains or window treatments as close to the ceiling as you can. Why? This draws your eye up and creates the illusions of bigger and fuller. And if you’re crafty, you can go to your local fabric store and purchase some fabric, grommets and thread, and you can create your own.                                                            

Shop Your Own Home

Walk through your space and see what is in the cupboards, bedrooms, storage closet etc. and see if you can re-purpose some accessories from there and bring them into the living-room. More times than I can count, people have interesting items stored above the fridge or on a high shelf. See what’s there and be creative, to see how you can repurpose it. Grab some baskets and place a few up to-date magazines or a throw blanket in and use it to accessorize the end table beside the couch. So cozy!

An heirloom piece, a serving tray, a small lamp, some old pictures (which you can re-frame yourself), a small dish that is too small for any eating purpose, throw a couple of crystals, some little candies etc. in it and place on an end table. Use them and again, and they tell another story. Show off your own personal style.

If you have plants or succulents, bring them into the space. If you don’t, I would recommend getting some. Most stores sell plants. They are good for oxygen in your space, they warm up your home and they bring the outdoors in. Succulents are the easiest and lowest maintenance plants to have. I have them sitting on my kitchen window ledge, so when I’m doing the dishes, I see them, and they make me smile.

We Can Help

These are just a few ideas to get you started. But add some pillows or change your lighting, add some paint or move around some throws and carpets. Just have some fun with it. Like I say, it’s your home, your stories. If you’re feeling stuck and really don’t know what you do, feel free to send us a note and a photo and we’ll send you some ideas. And of course, feel free to contact us directly by email.

Happy Decorating!

Kathy