Furnish a room in 6 easy steps

Are you looking for help to furnish a room? Here’s my six steps that you can follow to furnish your perfect space. I’ll be using one of my client’s living room as an example. Click here to see the original post. 

Here’s the before so you can see where we started from.

So you can see from the before pictures that we were basically starting from scratch the only thing that we kept was the television.

FUNCTION AND FEEL

The first thing I asked this client was questions on how she wanted the room to function. This is key to having a room that works for you and your family. Form always follows function.

For this client, she wanted space for her and her son and to entertain guests. She knew she needed more storage, better lighting and comfortable seating. She also wanted to address the drapery treatment and was already planning to put in hardwood floors.

I also ask my clients how they want the room to feel. This really helps to fine tune your design choices. This client wanted fresh, beachy and bright. So take a moment to think how you want your room to function and feel.

LAYOUT

So once you have the function question answered, draw up a little sketch or use an online program of your space. I use the paid version of Room Sketcher but they do have a simplified free version available here . Better Homes and Gardens has one as well. I haven’t used it but you can click here to go to their site.

Play around and see what works. This is the key step you need to furnish your room. At this point don’t be too concerned with colours, these design plans often have limited colour choices, right now you are most concerned about what will fit.

If you are looking at your family room and you need seating for 4-6 people. Well, now you can decide whether you want a sofa that is long enough for napping, with a love seat and a chair. Or do you want two love seats and two chairs? This is where you will see what will actually fit and what won’t. Keep in mind that you need a minimum of 3-4′ of space for traffic flow areas and that coffee tables should be at least 18″ from sofa/chairs to be useful and comfortable.

FOR EXAMPLE

Here’s what the living room and adjoining dining room layout looked like for this client.

Living room and dining room layout

Living room and dining room layout

If the program has 3D rendering it will really help you visualize the space. I find it very useful to help clients visualize and for deciding on item’s heights. This is also where I focus of the shapes of items. Since most furniture is square or rectangle I try to incorporate some round, oval or irregular shapes to balance the design.

Living room 3D rendering

Living room/dining room layout 3D

A sectional worked well in this small living area and maximized the seating as well as comfort factor. A colourful occasional chair adds some pattern and can be pulled up closer to the sectional when company is over or even used at the dining table when needed.

A television console with cupboards, a large coffee table with drawers and shelves and a dining room buffet situated between the living room and dining room offers storage for both rooms. It also gives her a place to put a larger table lamp and add in a small gallery wall.

My client ended up going with a sofa with a chaise lounger at one end instead of a full sectional as she didn’t want to block too much light from the window. The key here was she knew what size of sectional/sofa would work and then she went shopping. She also decided to wait on getting an area rug and see if she really missed having one or not. Design is fluid and often Plan B or Plan C is utilized as you go along.

FURNISH

Now make a list of the pieces you will need to furnish this room. Perhaps you will be using something you already have. Just make sure that the dimensions work in your layout. Remember to measure everything so that you don’t have any unexpected surprises. It’s also very important to measure your main door frame or any stairs to ensure you can get any larger pieces of new furniture in your house or up or down the stairs!!

This is also where you want to think about window treatments. Do you need blinds and drapes, or just blinds. Is privacy or sun protection an issue? If so, you definitely want to ensure you have blinds or at least lined drapery.

Furnish a room in 6 easy steps

Also don’t forget the lighting and smaller case goods, like end tables, foot stools, night tables, etc…. This is the best place to play with placement and see if you can fit in a floor lamp or perhaps even a large house plant in that corner.

Here is the mood board for this project. This was done up together with a list of items to be ordered/purchased and their costs.

Mood board living room and dining room

BUDGET

We can’t forget the budget. It really does make some decisions for you. I am a splurge and save kind of gal, as I love a few luxury pieces but then my practical side comes in. I LOVE to find a bargain or perhaps repurpose or reuse an item.

Make up a spreadsheet with the list of the items you need to purchase/find on the left and then start sourcing with your budget in mind. As you go along you will have to decide where to splurge and where to save or perhaps plan for a larger purchase over time.

Furnish a room in 6 easy steps

COLOUR SCHEME

Now this is where the colour scheme comes in. Are you using some existing pieces? Use them as your guide. An area rug, art piece or even the fabric on a throw cushion can be your jumping off point for the colour scheme. Keep in mind the colours in the rest of your home and how much light this room gets. If this is a main room, you want to ensure that it won’t clash with the hallway or other rooms adjacent to it.

If you need further inspiration or are starting from scratch, look around your home, what is your favourite room? What colours are in there? Or do a Pinterest search and just start pinning rooms that you love. A common colour thread will emerge quickly.

Once you have decided on the colours of all the major pieces you can now choose a paint colour. Paint colours should always come last. As it is much easier to choose a paint colour to go with your sofa fabric than the other way around.

Furnish a room in 6 easy steps

ACCESSORIES

Once you have made all these decisions and ordered your furniture you can start the fun part. Accessory shopping! You can either shop your home or hit the stores for the finishing touches. I like to keep at least 10% of the budget for accessories. Don’t skip this step, it gives your room it’s personality. Buy more accessories than you think you’ll need so that you can try them out in your space. Just make sure that there is a good store exchange policy so that you can return the items that are not needed.

Furnish a room in 6 easy steps

That’s it you are done!

Now sit back and enjoy your perfect space.

And if all of this seems way too complicated or time consuming for you, just contact me.

I’d be happy to help design your perfect room.

Whether from start to finish or by just giving you the design plans to do it yourself. It’s entirely up to you.

Designing a modern cottage bath on a budget

This is the second in a series I’m writing about the renovation and makeover of my country log cottage. Here’s how I gutted and designed a new modern cottage bath on a pretty low budget.

Modern cottage bath with subway tile and repurposed library table as vanity

It is a little scary but it started out like this.

Before photo of bath with details on changes

If you look closely on the above picture, you can see right where the shower base meets the floor, there is a large crack.  That’s where the floor was totally rotten. Like I mean so rotten, I was scared whenever someone used the bathroom that they would fall through the floor. You could actually see the basement through the crack.  Yikes! Obviously we knew this before we bought. So, this bathroom was pretty much the first job we tackled once we had possession. We basically had to take everything out and start over. Even the side of the cabinet had significant water damage as well as the wall so everything came out.

Like the cottage living room post (click here to read it), I’m showing you on the before picture what the plan was and how it was executed. So, here’s a visual breakdown of what we did for our modern cottage bath.

After bath photo showing some of the changes that were made

First, we gutted everything. Next we put in a completely new subfloor, installed new water resistant drywall and used the Kerdi shower system to ensure that the shower would be completely waterproof. Hubby got to work on all this nastiness and I got to go shopping. Not quite fair, I know.

I wanted an interesting, inexpensive vanity that was open on the bottom to help make the tiny bath feel more spacious. I had previously used an antique dresser in my powder room at home so I thought potentially something like that but without the drawers, some kind of table. As luck would have it I found an antique library table when I went with some fellow designers to the Brimfield Antique Show (you can read that post here). I knew it would be perfect, once I figured out how to raise it a few inches since it was a little short.

Before of the antique library table used as a bathroom vanity

Once I found this piece, it all started to click together. I wanted to highlight the barley twist legs so I decided that I would paint the legs. I had recently heard about the Canadian paint company, Fat Paint, so I contacted Victoria the owner, and told her what I was looking for. She offered to customize a colour for me so I just needed to choose one.

I know, this is where everyone wonders how did I choose a colour? It is actually quite systematic. I went shopping for flooring tiles, as I would need them sooner rather than later. I was also curious to see what I could find. The tile I settled on looks like wood but it isn’t, it is ceramic. We also ran it into the hallway outside the bathroom and in the nearby laundry room. Well, this floor went with the nearby slate floor and it had the slightest touch of turquoise in it, so it became the jumping off point for the colour scheme. I decided on a darker turquoise for the vanity that would really highlight the carved legs.

From here, I chose the shower wall tiles and the river rock coloration, then lastly I chose the wall colour, Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue, a soft version of the vanity’s legs. This is exactly why you always choose paint last in your renovation. So much easier to choose a paint colour to work with your fixtures, as there are endless colours of paint in comparison to tile selections.

Modern cottage bath with painted open repurposed vanity and square sink

Once I had decided on the vanity colour, I got in touch with Victoria and she automatically offered to mix me up a custom colour and ship it to me free of charge so I could try it out. Talk about service!

I found some prefab wood legs at my local Home Depot that I figured would work as extensions on the bottom of the table. So my husband, attached them and I set about painting the base. You can barely tell that the bottom six inches or so of the table is not original and I’m sure if I hadn’t told you, you would never have noticed. If you are thinking of painting a wood piece and want to do minimum sanding and prepping, check out my post here about how Fat Paint works. It saves you so much time.

Last but not least, I refinished the top with quite a few coats of durable polyurethane so that it would stand up to some splashing.

I loved that the library table had a nice little lower shelf as I was planning to pick up some baskets for storage. And those baskets would also help to hide the necessary plumbing underneath the sink. Since this is the main floor bath and acts as a powder room most of the time, I knew I wouldn’t need closed storage.

Close up of repurposed library table with painted barley twist legs

Next I chose a rectangular sink because I wanted it to mirror the shape of the table itself. I love this one from Kohler, it’s timeless, works perfectly with the square base of the Delta Dryden faucet and gives me that modern cottage bath feel I was after. BTW – Another great cost saving for me was Delta offered me the shower and sink fixtures free of charge for an honest opinion of them.  You can read my original post here.  

The lilypad artwork in the above photo is actually a photograph from a local artist. I love picking up original pieces from the area. My husband loved it and it was the perfect colours and feel for our modern cottage bath.

Library table turned bathroom vanity

Photo credit Melissa Kew Photography

For the shower I had my heart set on river rock tile. How perfect are they for it a beach front cottage? To offset the cost of them, I used simple grey matte oversized subway tiles on the rest of the shower walls.

Grey matte subway tile subway with bronze fixtures and river rock floor

I added a border of marble and glass tiles 2/3 of the way up that ties in the bath colours. My husband, figured out that he could run the subway tiles vertically above the border, so we did just that. This is called a soldier’s course, in case you are interested. This also has the added bonus of making a low ceiling feel higher. In this low ceiling bathroom that was a huge plus.

Close up of subway tile and border tile with bronze shower fixtures

I love the square Dryden fixtures and they add the right amount of masculinity to my modern cottage bath. Below, you can see the little niche for shampoo and soaps, he did with the river rock tile.

Shower niche with river rock tile

We removed the second shower head and raised the remaining one up to a proper height, since it was low. A great cost savings on the shower was the fact that we reused the shower glass and door. We just ordered new bronze trim and a handle to match the shower and sink fixtures. And thankfully we didn’t break it removing it and reinstalling it. We did sweat that alot!

Round reclaimed wood mirror with bronze bath faucet and lighting

Photo credit Melissa Kew Photography

A new toilet was installed and I sourced an oval mirror, to balance all the squares and rectangles in the space. It’s made from repurposed wood and has a nice rustic feel for a country bath. I had two sconce lights placed on either side of the mirror to replace the one hollywood strip. Did you know that being lit from each side is eminently more flattering than overhead lighting aka Hag lighting? The sconces themselves are simple and slightly industrial with a dark finish to match the fixtures.

Bronze faucet with repurposed antique library table vanity and reclaimed wood mirror

We also installed a few of these cute little deer hooks so that hanging up towels is quick and easy.

Shower with subway tile, river rock floor and bronze fixtures

My husband, was a huge part of this renovation. He did all the demo, all the tile work, all the installations except where we needed professionals. So obviously if you can do some of the work yourself that will be a great savings. Just remember though, that you should know what you can or cannot tackle. Sometimes DIY leads to even more expense when you have to call in the experts to fix a wrong.

All in, this renovation cost us under $8,000. Which is actually very reasonable as an average bathroom renovation costs around $20,000 and quickly goes up. Keeping everything in the same footprint in this tiny bathroom helped to keep the cost low. The majority of the cost was definitely the Kerdi Shower system. We didn’t want to skimp on that as we didn’t want a repeat of the water damage that had happened.

So there you have it, our modern cottage bath.

Modern cottage bath with unique vanity and river rock shower floor

So when can we start working on your bathroom renovation?

9 easy steps to go all the way with design

9 easy steps to go all the way with your design

Are you struggling with finishing or even starting to design a room. It’s something we have all experienced, even us decorators and designers. Life is so distracting sometimes and it can be hard to move forward. However, the key is to keep making decisions and to focus on ONE ROOM AT A TIME!!!

I know, I know, I always say that your home should be cohesive and it does, but trying to design a whole home can be hugely overwhelming. So tackle one room at a time and I think you’ll see that one room leads to another.

Here’s the way I design:

1.  Make a plan. Decide on how you will be using the room, who will be using the room and what you need to do that properly.  If it’s a family room and you will be using it to watch television and do crafts. You’ll need to have comfy seating for the tv and a large table with appropriate flooring and lighting for craft time.

2.  Plan your lighting. Lighting is so important to a room.  Just think how annoyed you are when you don’t have the proper lighting when you are trying to do something.  Make sure there is ambient lighting (the general lighting for a room) and the appropriate task lighting (such as table lamps for reading or pot lights set over the craft table).  Decorative lighting can be added for mood and ambience in the form of sconces, candles or a decorative floor or table lamp.

3.  Style and colour. This goes along with #1 in that you need to have an idea of what style you would like.  The best way to do this is with magazines – pull out pictures and keep a file or make a pinterest board. I’m eventually going to post some tips on keeping your pinterest boards on point.  After you have a bunch in the file or pins on your pinterest board, a clearer picture of your style will emerge. Tada you have your inspiration. Colour will also show up in these photos. The colour of the walls will be determined at a later stage once you have the bigger pieces decided upon.

4.  Large pieces. Now is the time to invest in the larger more expensive pieces for the room.  Such as a sofa, area rug, draperies and case goods.  These are the items that you will be keeping for the long term and they form the base of your design.  This is where you usually spend the bulk of your budget and because of this I usually stick with classics and neutrals for these items.  You can however diverge from this tract, if for example you love red and fall in love with a red sofa.  GO FOR IT!  This is what will make your room, you!

A note here about pattern, if the larger items that you have decided upon are all solids you may want to add some pattern either in the area rug or in a smaller upholstered chair or ottoman. This gives the room some pizzazz.  Otherwise I would consider adding some wallpaper to the walls instead of a solid paint colour.  The key with pattern is to ensure that the pattern sizes are not all the same. For example, if you have a large pattern on the area rug then have a smaller pattern on the ottoman, so vary the scale of your patterns.

5.  Shopping. Okay now that you’ve decided on the larger items and their cost, you can form a budget.  This will guide you as to where you can splurge and where you can save.  A great room always has some of each in it – that is what makes it interesting.  Remember to keep some money for paint and accessories (usually about 15-20% of the budget).

6.  Paint colour.  I look at all the major items purchased and the rest of the home and then decide what would be the best colour choice.  Paint is one of the most inexpensive parts of the design process and with so many colours, this works the best. Once I know the main colour of the walls, I can then go on to the next step, accessory shopping.

7. Accessories. I do up a list of what I think I’ll need. For example, small round end table, gold framed rectangular mirror approximately 24”x12”.  This is also when I check to see if there is an abundance of one shape in the room.  If there are lots of square items, I balant with some round smaller items and accessories.  Most decorators and designers will pick up way more accessories while shopping. Gives us a great bunch of choices when doing the final placement.  Just return the items that you don’t need. So be sure the store you are shopping at has a great return policy.

8.  Keep on track.  Now is when you’ll usually get distracted and start looking for items for another room in your home.  Try and keep focused and only purchase for the one room. Your budget will thank you and you’ll have one room done instead of all of them in progress.

9.  Put everything in place. If you have managed to hold off now is the time to put everything in place.  Of course, first off the room should be painted and then the larger items positioned in place. Then the smaller furniture pieces and accessories, such as artwork, mirrors and decorative pieces are added.  And Voila!! a perfectly finished design!!

Lisa

 

The 6 questions you need to answer before you start designing your space

6 questions you need to answer before you start designing your space.

When I’m starting a client’s decorating or renovation project, function always comes before form. What I mean by that, is the function of the space has to be determined before we get to the layout or furnishings. The foundation has to be solid so that we can move ahead with the pretty. You wouldn’t spend money on having fabulous wallpaper installed when the wall is crumbling…right? Even the prettiest room has to function properly.

So on my first client visit I ask these 6 questions:

1. What do you use the room for?

All rooms have a purpose, perhaps even many purposes. If you need a room to function as a family room and as a home office, then that will determine how the layout gets decided and what furnishings are needed.

2. How many people will be using the room?

A dining room that sits 12 will be set up differently than one that sits 4. So think about the number of people using the room on a daily basis and perhaps those special occasions when you’ll need to accommodate a larger group.

3. Are there young children and pets that will be using the room?

Of course, if you have pets and young children that live or visit your home  you’ll need some adjustments for them and likely for your piece of mind. In this case, think easy care fabrics, hard floors (like hardwood and tile) and washable throw pillows.

4. Are there any allergies to be aware of?

This is something that is often missed but critical if you or a family member has environmental allergies. Those goose down feather pillows may cause needless suffering and that paint should be low VOC.

5. What is the feeling or mood you want the room to convey?

The answer to this question, shows me the direction to go in design wise. If you say you want it to feel like a hug, then I’m thinking mid-tone warm colours, lots of soft textiles and larger “sink-in” sofas and chairs.  If you want it to feel like a fresh breeze, then light toned cooler colours and clean minimal furnishings are what I’d be suggesting.

6. How long do you plan to stay in your home?

This is the big budget question. If you are in your forever home then you can decorate to your tastes exactly and also you will likely feel comfortable with a larger budget. If you are thinking you’ll move within 10 years than perhaps temper the design to appeal to a larger audience and the budget will likely be a little stricter.

Answer these questions and it’ll lead you in the right direction to set up your floor plan, the style and type of furniture you need and what your budget range should be.

Lisa

Entrance reveal post!

And it’s Friday! Happy Canada Day weekend everyone! Here’s hoping the rain in the Nation’s Capital goes away!

Today, I’m sharing the reveal of my entrance. If you’d like to read the journey, click here to read Monday’s post.

 

fullsizerender-6

So, this is the paper that I ultimately decided upon. It took awhile to get in and I just managed to get it up just before my daughter’s shower…phew. That was a close one. I originally was going to do all the walls, but time was short and I just managed to do the one large wall. And now, I’m thinking I may just leave it as is….hmmm.

The entrance was painted in Benjamin Moore’s Picket Fence (a soft and warm grey) a few months ago, which picks up on the grey veining in the floor tile.

Entryafterpaint

It has looked like this for a few months. Soooo boring!!

And now it looks like this!

Entry after

So much better! I also changed out the entry light, wall sconces and ceiling fixture this past winter when I was doing a little house refreshing.

entry after

Introducing the soft greys and taupes makes the house feel fresher and more contemporary. In an ideal world I would change out the entry tile but that will not be happening. The blue vase and entry mat pick up on the navy in the dining room, living room and upstairs loft.

Entry after Entry with wallpaper

So leave as is or continue the wallpapering on the remaining entry walls?

Happy Canada Day!

Lisa