This muted media room gives us a lesson on how to do white right
Take design cues from this serene all-white living space.
While a neutral scheme may look easy to execute, it’s often just the opposite. This muted media room gives us a lesson on how to do white right.
Find cheap and chic kitchen perk-ups for your home.
Organizing, styling and mini-makeover ideas to transform the hub of your home.
Photography by Stacey Brandford
1 Elevate the everyday – invest in a set of handmade cereal bowls.
2 Granny Smith apples – a stylist's secret weapon – are a pretty countertop accent and a healthy snack all in one.
3 When was the last time your toaster made toast the way you like it? If you can’t remember, it's time for a new one.
4 Use a bench with storage as a kitchen banquette.
5 Treat yourself to a fresh set of dishtowels. Reuse the old ones as rags to polish silver, shine shoes or wipe up paint spills.
6 Display a vintage dishware collection on open shelves.
7 Hot-glue a seldom used vintage kitchen utensil in a shadow box and start a collection to adorn your walls.
8 Overhaul the area under your sink cabinet to make room for garbage, recycling and composting.
9 Bake a pie or layer cake – your kitchen will be transformed in less than an hour.
10 Hide the counter clutter of keys, cellphones and sunglasses inside a Moroccan tajine.
11 Remove everything from the tops of cabinets. Thoroughly clean the area. Do not replace the items!
12 Get rid of any chipped plates or cups – they're getting you down.
13 Dress the windowsill with two or three pots of moss or herbs.
14 If you have glass door cabinets but can't keep what’s inside looking tidy, line the glass panels with wallpaper or fabric, or apply frosted window film.
15 Install energy-efficient under cabinet lighting.
16 Use crystal flutes for your orange juice tomorrow morning. Champagne optional!
17 Create a photo wall of family members with their birthday cakes over the years.
18 Conceal scratches or dents on an old fridge with decorative wall decals.
19 A rough-hewn wooden bowl looks just as great empty as it does filled with rustic breads, artichokes or newspapers.
20 If there isn't a window above your sink, hang a mirror there.
21 Add French flair: opt for a rustic table and chairs in the centre of your kitchen rather than an island.
22 Wallpaper the ceiling.
23 Tall ceilings? Install a large nontypical central light, like a chandelier, lantern or industrial pendant.
24 Cook up some natural air freshener: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of apple cider to a simmer. Add a few slices of lemon, cinnamon sticks and 1 tsp whole cloves. Simmer for a couple of hours, adding more cider as it evaporates.
25 Hang a fabric blind with an elegant swag for a touch of grandeur.
Photography by Robin Stubbert
26 A potted orchid in a white ceramic pot is a sophisticated living accessory that lasts longer than cut stems.
27 Install a new faucet.
28 Use a shallow baking dish to store cooking essentials by the cooktop or stove. It will keep everything exactly where you need it and save your counter from oil rings and pepper grinder debris. Decant olive oil into an opaque or dark glass bottle to protect it from light.
29 Treat yourself to a new set of canisters.
30 Say no to paper napkins and switch to a colourful fabric set.
31 Switch out your dated kitchen chairs for black Windsor chairs. They're a design classic – great with mod or trad tables.
32 Remove a pair of cupboard doors and style the open shelves with your prettiest things.
33 Install invisible touch-latch hardware for a sleek, modern look.
34 Hang wallpaper as a backsplash. Protect it with acrylic or glass panels custom cut and installed by a glazier.
35 Leave only your chicest small appliances on the counter.
36 Conceal an ugly backsplash behind peel-andstick Smart Tiles.
37 Banish old knobs in favour of sexy new ones.
38 Conquer the junk drawer.
39 Get a handsome mortar and pestle. When you aren't using it to muddle mint for a mojito, press it into service as a bookend for cookbooks.
40 Paint your cabinets nature's neutral – green. It will look great with all your fruits and veg.
41 Display a pineapple when you're expecting guests – it's the universal symbol of welcome.
42 Make a pretty message board by placing fabric or decorative paper behind the glass of a large frame. Then use a dry erase marker to write on the front.
43 Add shaped brackets along the toe kick to make your cabinets look like fine furniture.
44 Install decorative casing trim around your pass-through.
45 Banish the smelly dishcloth hanging over the faucet! Organize your sinkside essentials on a rectangular dish or tray. The must-haves: dish soap in a pretty container (or decant some into a translucent white squeeze bottle), an all-natural cellulose sponge for dishwashing, a scrub brush and a plastic scrubber for pots.
46 Install a plate rack. Use it to display a collection of platters or cookbooks.
47 Splurge on a marble-top dining table for your best friend.
48 Keep utensils contained and at the ready in a plain white pitcher – it goes with any kitchen.
49 Perk up a family table with cheerful oilcloth that you can wipe clean in a flash.
50 The next time you buy groceries, bring home a bunch of daisies for the kitchen table.
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Learn how to keep your evergreen fresh all season long.
Find everything you need to know to keep your evergreen fresh and contain the inevitable mess.
Nothing announces the holiday season quite like a fresh conifer. But, as it’s often as tall as you are and prickly all over, a Christmas tree can be quite challenging to manoeuvre. Spring for the optional plastic bag for easy transport, and don’t rush to pull it off. Once the tree is indoors, cut a hole in the bottom of the bag large enough to poke the trunk through, and insert it in a tree stand. Pull the bag down, flatten it around the base of the stand and conceal it with a decorative tree skirt. When you’re ready to say goodbye to the holidays, carefully remove the skirt and shake the needles off outside. Then simply pull the bag back over the tree and haul it out with minimal mess.
Needle in a haystack
Vacuuming tree needles out of carpeting can seem like mission impossible, but it doesn’t have to. Sprinkle the area with baking soda to neutralize stickiness from sap. Then, target needles individually with the crevice attachment. In future, to minimize the problem, choose an extra-large tree skirt.
What’s your type?
Before heading out with wallet or axe in hand, get informed about the most popular tree types.
Fraser fir: Known for its sturdy, well-spaced branches ( ideal for ornaments) and superior needle retention, this high-end tree can be pricey.
Balsam fir: A less expensive alternative to the Fraser, it has similarly stiff branches and a nice woodsy scent.
Eastern white pine: With slender, wispy branches bearing soft needles and a light fragrance (great for allergy sufferers), it’s a delicate option.
Size matters Make sure your tree stand is large enough to contain sufficient water. A good rule of thumb is four cups of water per every inch of the trunk’s diameter.
Remove stubborn sticky sap from carpeting and fabrics by hardening it with bagged ice and then scraping it off. For walls, wipe it away with a bit of baby oil; afterward, remove the oil with dish soap and water.
Dos and don'ts
Do: Have a pro make a fresh cut at the trunk’s bottom, and put the tree up right away. Keep it in constant contact with water.
Don't: Saw the trunk at an angle or in a V shape, or drill a hole in it. These methods won’t aid water uptake.
If you opt for a faux tree, mimic the fresh scent of a real conifer with one of these products.
Fill your room with the fragrance of eucalyptus and pine with this designer tool. Jo Malone London diffuser in Pine & Eucalyptus, Holt Renfrew, $95.
Tuck these discreet green stick-shaped ornaments into your tree for a month’s worth of fir aroma. Scentsicles ornaments in White Winter Fir, Bed Bath & Beyond, $14 per pack of 8.
Poured in festive green glass, this candle emits a jolly woodsy scent as it burns. Scented candle in Snowy Pine & Fir Balsam, Indigo, $20.