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Peruvian Mirror, West Elm.
Brighten up your blank walls with these eye-catching accessories.
Faced with the prospect of filling blank walls, most of us think of traditional framed artwork. And there’s no doubt that framed art is a beautiful way to decorate your walls. But there are many appealing alternatives, too! From shelves and mirrors to clocks and sconces, there are plenty of ways to bring your walls to life. Here are 10 of our top suggestions!
Don’t just hang art on your walls. Turn your home into your own personal art gallery by printing, framing and hanging your own photography. Artifact Uprising can help you take those beautiful vacation photos off your digital devices and turn them into art gallery-worthy pieces by printing them on premium archival paper and offering a variety of frames and mats to best suit your photo and your home’s decor. Gallery Frames, Artifact Uprising, $99.
Framed art isn’t the only thing to hang on your walls! There are so many ways to dress your walls stylishly and these gorgeous monogrammed hooks are a perfect example. Add colour and interest to a foyer, hallway or even a bedroom with these beautifully crafted hooks, which will add both form and function to your walls. Whimsy Monogram Hooks, Anthropologie, $16.
Mirrors are a great option for decorating a wall but a cluster of mirrors is a statement. We love the ornate decorative flourishes of these mirrors, hand-carved by Peruvian artisans. Made with timber from the Amazon and finished with non-toxic paint, these pretty mirrors will add style to any wall in your home. Peruvian Mirrors, West Elm, $199.
Put that blank space on your wall to work by installing these gorgeous marble shelves. Made from a Carrara lookalike white and grey marble with brass-finished metal brackets, these shelves not only look great in their own right but they’ll provide the perfect spot for you to display artwork, books and other objets that need a home. Marble Wall-Mounted Shelves, CB2, $59.95.
Feature walls are a great way to add visual interest to a room and really make a statement. You can create a feature wall by painting it a different colour from the others, wallpapering it or simply hanging a tapestry, if you prefer something less permanent. This bold cotton tapestry will summon thoughts of tropical vacations as you drift into slumber. Assembly Home Banana Leaf Tapestry, Urban Outfitters, $72.
This generously sized piece will add a sense of drama to the room in which it’s hung. Made from pounded iron, this piece features an intricately etched design and an antiqued brass finish. It’ll be a conversation starter, that’s for sure! Decorative Metal Disc, Pottery Barn, $249
These keys, locked behind the glass of a shadow box, can spark imagination as to their origin. Each key is a reproduction of a vintage original that was found as part of a private collection. Each one is unique and displayed behind glass, and becomes an interesting and intriguing piece of artwork. Key Shadow Boxes, Restoration Hardware, $99.
A clock almost seems quaint and retro these days since many of us rely on our phones to tell the time. But clocks still have a place in our homes, especially when they’re beautifully designed timepieces like this one. Hanging from a leather strap and mimicking the style of a captain’s mirror, this walnut wood veneered wall clock makes a great decorative touch to your home. Umbra Canteen Clock, Indigo, $120.
Perfect for corners in your home that could use a bit of illumination, this wall sconce is just the solution, adding light as well as a beautiful decorative element. Made with a metal frame with a polished nickel finish and fabric shade, its minimal, slim profile is ideal if you’re short on space. Monroe One Light Sconce, Horchow, $145.
This photograph beautifully captures an ordinary moment in front of the most photographed sites in the world: The Louvre. If you, like so many, have a love affair with Paris, this gorgeous rendering is one you’ll love to have hanging on your wall. You’ll smile and think of the City of Light each and every time you pass by it. Men in Red Limited Edition Print, Minted, starting at $20.
How to wash your pillows to keep them fresh and clean
Essential cleaning tips for keeping your pillows perfectly fresh and stain-free.
Cover them as you may, but pillows still develop odours and stains. Keep them fresh by washing them every three to six months. Our resourceful research editor, Mary Levitski, tells you how.
1 Start by checking the label for laundering instructions. Most newer pillows can be tossed in the washing machine, but some are dry clean only. Also, some fill materials, such as foam, can’t go in the dryer.
2 Use a front-loading washer (a top-loader isn’t suited for fully submerging a pillow). Select the warm water and gentle cycle settings. Add a bit of mild liquid laundry detergent (the powdered kind is harder to wash off). Insert pillows, ensuring they are not packed in tightly. To completely wash off the detergent, repeat the rinse cycle. Do not use the spin cycle unless your pillows are down.
3 To dry, squeeze out any excess water by hand. Put the pillows through a tumble dry cycle set to low heat. Repeat as necessary until completely dry. Pillows that can’t go in the dryer should be hung on a clothesline or rack.
Make a hotel-worthy bed by washing your linens regularly and ironing them with a scented mist like K. Hall Designs Washed Cotton Linen Water (Au Lit Fine Linens, $25). Trust us, you’ll be dreaming of a late checkout.
To extend the life of your pillows, dress them in protective pillow covers before putting on their cases.
Eco-friendly products to keep your pillows plump
On top of being greener and more cost-effective than dryer sheets, reusable balls also prevent pillows from getting lumpy in the dryer.
Scent your laundry with this Canadian brand’s delectable aromas like Apple Pie and Banana Bread. Tumbler tarts fair trade wool dryer balls, The Laundry Tarts, $30 per pack of 3; Re-scenting kit in Apple Pie, The Laundry Tarts, $13.
The prongs of these cute little rubber balls are great for keeping pillows soft and fluffy. Thermoplastic rubber hedgehog dryer balls, West Elm Market, $9 per pair.
These bright all-natural wool balls soften laundry and cut drying time. Wool Deluxe starter dryer balls, LooHoo, $28 US per pack of 3.
A renovated kitchen gets bigger and brighter.
Designer Jennifer Ferreira helps a Toronto couple reach a design verdict that's both practical and polished.
Contemporary artwork and kids' colouring books; a travertine dining table and a teepee fort - these anomalous pairings are the norm at Courtney Toomath-West and Ken West's Toronto house. "This is a family home," says Courtney. "Our daughters can play, and my husband and I can retreat to formal rooms, all in one fairly small space."
Courtney and Ken, both lawyers, bought the 1,800-square-foot rowhouse in 2008 before their girls - Honor, now 6, and Caroline, 4 - were born. "Ken and I had been living in a condo, but when we began to think about having kids, we yearned for the character of an older home," says Courtney. This Victorian, in the city's Little Italy neighbourhood, fit the bill. "I fell for its original plaster mouldings as well as its high arches and ceilings," she says. "It hadn't been updated in decades, but it was well loved, and I wanted to preserve its charm."
"The entryway feels grand for a 16-foot-wide house," says designer Jennifer Ferreira. The oversized mirror creates the illusion of space, and the large pendant light complements the black trim on the sisal runner.
"When I first saw Courtney and Ken's house, it simply needed finessing," says designer Jennifer Ferreira. "I wanted to complement its architectural details, inject a tailored look and create a comfortable family space." Jennifer incorporated a few new and custom-made pieces into the decor, but says the transformation really started with the window coverings. "Drapes make a house feel like a home," she says. "I added them to all the principal rooms, hanging them above the window frames to create a sense of grandeur." The black drapery rods fitted with brass finials and drapes with a band of grey ribbon lend a sense of elegance and formality to the living room.
When they couple moved in, they replaced the existing light oak floors, which were in bad shape, with darker oak and, keeping their art collection in mind, painted the walls gallery-like neutral shades. Jennifer also updated the living room's outdated armchairs with sophisticated zebra-print fabric.
The kitchen was expanded by removing a wall between it and the den, and fitted with new cabinetry and appliances.
The grey lower cabinets add contrast to the mostly white kitchen, which is outfitted with Caesarstone countertops and stainless steel appliances.
The homeowners love to entertain and often host dinner parties, so Jennifer designed chairs for lounging in the dining room. A sculptural light fixture illuminates the travertine table, a family heirloom.
"The master bedroom doesn't get a lot of light, so I wanted to brighten it up," says Jennifer. An airy wall colour, natural linen headboard and ikat-print bench do the trick.
"I painted the bathroom walls white and replaced a dark wooden vanity with a white one for a more tailored look."
In daughters Honor and Caroline's bedroom, the drapes match the pink linen headboards. "The fabrics can easily be changed if they ever tire of them," says Jennifer. Courtney added the princess sign for a little sparkle.
Soft pink hydrangeas add a sweet, fresh touch to the girls' pink bedroom.
"The Wests honeymooned in Morocco, so I chanelled that look on their patio," says Jennifer. "The pendant light, side table and toss cushions resemble items found in a souk."
Nothing brings the indoors out better than carrying your colour palette out onto the patio. The patterned toss cushions keep the family comfortable and cozy while adding a fun dose of the bright pink seen throughout the rest of the home.