May 22, 2012
By Silvana Longo & Lydia McNutt
Jane Lockhart talks colour
Though not a common item on your shopping list, colour is the most basic décor essential.
A room’s colour sets the tone for the look and feel of the space, and it affects all the other rooms that surround it. Most importantly, colour is a reflection of your personal style. Shopping for colour can be daunting, so colour expert Jane Lockhart offers her expert tips on how to choose the right hue.
Consult an expert. Interior designers and decorators are worth their weight in gold and can save you a lot of stress, anxiety and money by using their vast experience to help you choose the perfect palette.
Infuse some personality and function. A colour can speak volumes in a room and directly influence the ambiance and personality
of the space. Choose colours based on how you want the room to feel and work. Light affects colour, so be aware of how light moves through your house.
Consider your furnishings. Draw inspiration for a colour scheme from your existing furnishings – an upholstered sofa, an oriental rug or favorite piece of art. It’s easier to match a colour to something you love than to find something to complement a new wall colour!
Get inspired. Peruse glossy décor magazines and designers’ websites for ideas. Pay attention to furniture styles, colour schemes and architectural elements. Your colour choices should enhance and complement your style and period elements. Make note of the featured brand and colour number, or take a photo, clip a magazine article or bring a piece of fabric to a reputable paint store to have it professionally colour matched to any brand.
Choose the right finish. Typically, home interior paint comes in satin finish, semi-gloss, high gloss and flat finishes. Semi-gloss and high gloss paints are more durable and easier to clean, making them ideal finishes for mouldings and kitchen and baths. Flat and satin finishes lend a soft, elegant look to living rooms, bedrooms and family rooms.
JANE’S TOP SHOPS
1. Crate & Barrel
651 Queen St. W., Toronto
80 Ronald Ave., Toronto
664 Annette St., Toronto
4. Union Lighting
1491 Castlefield Ave., Toronto
5. Speers Road Broadloom
400 Speers Rd., Oakville
Hellen Buttigieg keeps it clean
Assign a home. Before buying anything, determine where it will live. To keep your space organized, every item needs a home. Save steps and time by storing items in the area where they will be used. This increases the likelihood that they’ll be returned to that spot after use. Items used together should be stored together. Create ‘kits’ for regular tasks like sewing, gardening, or washing the car.
Use bins and baskets to hide a multitude of sins, but always store like with like. Choose containers that suit your décor and organizing style. If the bins aren’t clear, make sure you label them. To maximize space, choose containers that stack. Square is better than round, as you can stash more inside. Keep similar items together to make it easier to find what you need. Before you set foot in a store to buy any containers, declutter first – you’ll have a better idea of what you actually need (size, style and quantity).
Maximize vertical space. Using vertical space frees up horizontal space, which is more limited. Add shelves above existing ones, over doorframes and as a border just below the ceiling. Purchase the tallest bookcases and wardrobes that your space will accommodate, and add bins or baskets on top for additional storage. Use over-the-door hangers, hooks, and pegboards. Mount small appliances under cabinets.
Think outside the storage box. Just because an item is designed for one purpose doesn’t mean you can’t use it for something different. Get creative. An over-the-door shoe holder can be used in the bathroom to house hair products, makeup and facial wipes in the pockets. A framed cork board with push pins can be a fun way to display costume jewelry – cover it with pretty fabric to complement your decor. Stash cherished mementos in vintage suitcases – stack several and use as a side table.
Use the ‘One-In One-Out’ rule. When you purchase one item, it should replace another similar item. This rule will not only keep you organized almost effortlessly – it will make you think twice before you hand over your hard-earned cash.
HELLEN’S TOP SHOPS
1934 Queen St. E., Toronto
2329 Yonge St., Toronto
3. Pottery Barn
100 Bloor St. W., Toronto
4. Bed, Bath and Beyond
200 North Service Rd. W., Oakville
6. 628 Queen St. W., Toronto
Lisa Canning on small spaces
Plan. Big or small, a well-designed space begins with a good plan. Measure your space, taking note of electrical outlets, light fixtures and structural obstructions like bulkheads and columns. Take these measurements and input them into an online planning tool like Icovia (icovia.com). This tool allows you to insert furnishings, change their sizes and generate a shopping list with exact measurements. Keep proportions in mind when planning the layout of your furniture and don’t be shy to take painter’s tape to the floor to visually block out how your furniture will fit.
Furniture with function. In a booming condo market, innovative retailers have understood the need for multi-functional pieces to help small-space dwellers lead more functional and stylish lives. Available through VNO Designs, the Lacuna table begins as a customizable piece of wall art and drops down to reveal a functional dining table for five. At BoConcept, a sleek coffee table reveals hidden compartments with functional storage. Crate & Barrel’s Willow Twin Sleeper Sofa is a compact overstuffed chair that unfolds for your unexpected overnight guest. These double-duty pieces not only work hard for you but look great too.
Don’t be afraid of pattern. I am often asked if a small space can handle a bold wallpaper – and my answer is a vehement “yes!” A patterned wallpaper in a small space can lend itself to a cosy, intimate atmosphere. But do watch scale. A wallpaper with an oversized print may feel too overpowering in a small space. To keep the look cohesive, draw your colour palette from the wallpaper. Add throw pillows in a coordinating colour or paint adjacent walls to complement.
The 70-5-25 rule. A challenge with small spaces is that you can often see the entire room at first glance. This means that creating harmony and balance is important to ensure the room does not feel disjointed or cluttered. I find an easy principle to employ to achieve this is a rule of 70-25-5: 70 per cent of a main colour, 25 per cent of a secondary colour and five per cent of a “surprise” colour. For example, light grey walls and a dark grey sofa could be the dominant colour, a black coffee table as the secondary colour, and throw pillows in a punch of lime green as the pop of colour. I find using this principle allows me to achieve big impact, especially in small spaces.
Three things not to forget. If you are looking to start somewhere, begin with these three elements: paint, light fixtures and window treatments. Even if you have great furniture in a space, I find a home doesn’t feel “lived in” until these items are in place. I often recommend that clients tackle these often-neglected areas before they buy furniture so they do not get put on the decorating back burner.
LISA’S TOP SHOPS
1. BoConcept Furniture
230 Adelaide St. E., Toronto
2. Design Republic
639 Queen St. W., Toronto
3. Elte 2nd Floor
80 Ronald Ave., Toronto
4. inVU Drapery Co.
2784 Yonge St., Toronto
5. West Elm
109 Atlantic Ave., Toronto
Yanic Simard designs with black
Finding your inspiration. The thought of designing with black and only black might seem a little intimidating, so finding inspiration first to give you some ideas and some confidence is the perfect way to start. Inspiration can stem from anywhere. Watching movies is a great source for me – I get a lot of creative ideas from the sets. Looking through design magazines and watching home décor shows are evidently an ideal way, but even just looking through Benjamin Moore’s Paint Deck – they actually have 52 different shades of black!
The idea of layering. The key to designing with black is to avoid having it fall flat. Adding different levels of the colour adds interest and depth, such as having one area rug lay on top of another. A beautiful 8×10 or 9×12 black rug with a subtle tone on tone pattern looks amazing with a silky jet black cowhide diagonally positioned over it. Another way to layer is with toss cushions – mixing and matching different materials such as silk, cotton, leather and velvet all in the colour black looks very sharp.
Adding a mix of finishes. You need to add a bit of contrast with your black scheme so things don’t begin to disappear into one another. Introducing elements of chrome, marble and glass will inject some punch and life into the setting.
Treating your walls. Painting walls and trim black is bold, dramatic and sure to make a statement; especially when you experiment and go out on a limb with the sheen. Try painting your doors and trim out in a satin or a semi-gloss and painting the ceiling and all of the walls in flat. You can add even more personality with a black-on-black wallpaper. Graham and Brown has some remarkable and trendy wall coverings that definitely fit the bill, including one of my personal favourites “Braille Chester” in Noir by Marcel Wanders which we will actually be installing in our design studio.
Injecting some warmth. Incorporating different shades of black can be a nice way of doing this (some blacks are greyer, more purple, greener, lighter, darker, etc.) but if you’re still hesitant on the idea of designing with black and only black, bringing in a hint of colour might make you ease up a bit. Navy blue or deep rusty red looks really elegant and classy paired with the true dark hue.
YANIC’S TOP SHOPS
1. 1212 Décor
1212 Yonge Street, Toronto
2. Graham & Brown
3. Design Solutions
143 King Street E Toronto
2640 Bristol Circle,
Suite 200 Oakville
5. 507 Antiques
50 Carroll St, Toronto
Glen Peloso accessorizes
Accessories in a room are like the accessories of an outfit. They can change an outfit from a strict business suit to something a little gentler, simply by adding a ruffle or a soft scarf. The same is true of the accessories of a room. Based on the layout and feel of your furniture and fabrics, you can decide if you want the room to feel masculine or more feminine. There is no right or wrong, it is really a matter of preference. I always think it is best to decide on a direction for the accessories before you set out to shop. There are a variety of directions, but in general you can divide into “shiny” which would be glass, chrome, mirror and high gloss, “natural” which would be reclaimed woods, leather, ceramics and hand-made items, “antique” which is self explanatory, or “eclectic” which would contain a selection of all of the above. Again no direction is wrong for a room, however it will change the way the room feels.
Ensure accessories “pull the room together” in a feel and colour scheme you like. When you look at the throw pillows of a well-coordinated room you will see that colours from the drapery have been repeated in the cushions, or colours or fabrics from the sofa have been used to repeat the colour in another area of the room.
Remember that “art” isn’t considered an “accessory” but is its own category. The art doesn’t have to match anything in the room. A very modern piece would be very happy in a very traditional room. The only requirement of the art is that you like it. The frame may want to complement the room but even that isn’t essential. I rarely – if ever – advise clients on the selection, but have opinions when it comes to size and placement in the room.
Before you set foot in a store, know what areas of the room you want to accessorize. All too often people shop on the “isn’t that cute” rule, however, and the items selected end up being the wrong proportions or they don’t coordinate with each other. Go with specifics. Know that you are looking for something that is eight inches high, 14 inches across, for example, and that you would like it to be something “natural” in style or colour. To assist you in making that determination, one good way to think about it is in triangles. Accessories tend to look best when they create a triangle either with the peak being far to the right or left or in the centre, so think “group of three.”
Accessories are the one element of a room that can be changed seasonally or every couple of years. They tend to be the least expensive part of the décor, so changing them from time to time won’t break the bank – but may deposit some big smiles when you are relaxing in the room and enjoying the finished product.
GLEN’S TOP SHOPS
1. Sun-Brite Drapery
7695 Jane St., Unit 11, Concord
2. Crate & Barrel
Visit the website for a location
4. Julien Armand
2880 Dundas St. W., Toronto
Heather Segreti sizes it up
A floor plan drawn to scale is always the best way to ensure proper placement. With that being said, putting the pieces of furniture on a plan will only work if you know what the standard guidelines for placement are. Yes, there are standard and – more importantly – minimum clearances that will facilitate optimal traffic flow through your space. The best resource for this information would be Wiley’s Publication – Architectural Graphic Standards – Interior Graphic Standards edition. After 75 years of continuous publication, Architectural Graphic Standards is one of the most trusted and relied-upon architectural references in the design and construction industries.
Get out the masking tape. You can use low-tack painters or masking tape to essentially draw the footprint of your desired purchase on the floor. For example, if the sofa you are considering purchasing is 72 inches long and 40 inches deep, then use your measuring tape to locate this rectangular shape on the floor and then outline the shape with your tape. This is a great way to visualize the piece and see its proportions in relation to your existing pieces of furniture. This technique also works for artwork and large mirrors. For example if you are looking to create a feature wall with multiple frames in all different sizes, you can tape these shapes on the wall accordingly, record the sizes and feel confident when you purchase.
The tablet trend. Have your iPad on hand. A digital camera is a given, but the new trend in tablets has taken shopping to a new level. Pre-shoot the spaces in your home and literally bring your room with you to every retailer you visit. The advantage of the large screen and lightweight tablet is easy access. I have used this technique when purchasing carpets for clients’ spaces, and it also works wonderfully when purchasing artwork and accessories. This really allows you to envision the showroom item in your home and make a decision on the spot.
Don’t be overwhelmed by a brilliant display in a showroom, this may not have the same effect in your space. Try not to stray from your original design style. Just because it looks great in the showroom doesn’t mean it will look great in your space. Remember, all retail stores are set up to catch your eye and get you to buy! Impulse is a great business for retailers, so stick to your design style.
If you question the purchase more than once, it’s not for you! If you really want to be certain, take a photo, walk away and then see if you are drawn back. Go home and measure, tape
and look at the photo in your own space. Instinct can be your greatest ally!
HEATHER’S TOP SHOPS
1. Zilli Home
672 Chrislea Rd., Woodbridge
2. Prima Lighting
255 Bass Pro Mills Dr., Thornhill
3. Au Lit Fine Linens
2045 Yonge St., Toronto
4. Home Couture by Maria
And Baby Décor
2104 Hwy. 7 West, Unit 19, Concord
5. Teatro Verde
98 Yorkville, Toronto
6. Restoration Hardware
2901 Bayview Ave., North York