Design Lesson

99 problems but a couch ain't one

99 problems but a couch ain't one Author: Style At Home

Design Lesson

99 problems but a couch ain't one

New house? Check. Keys? Check. Sofa? Check. So – now what?



Moving in to a new space is an exciting time, whether it’s a rental or a purchase, a family home or a studio apartment. You’ve likely found the perfect sofa as the centerpiece of your new home and are eager to design your space around it. But for every new decorating project there are a number of frustrating design dilemmas to go along with it. Perhaps the architecture is more traditional than your modern tastes prefer. Maybe the shower window looks directly into the neighbour’s house. Or – gasp! – your entire basement is covered in horrible ‘70s paneling!

You might have 99 design dilemmas in your new home, but we’ve got savvy solutions to fix them all. Read on for some of the frustrating design issues homeowners encounter when they move into a new space and creative ways to work around them.


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11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: The windows in my kitchen get in the way of adding upper cabinetry

Don’t be afraid to build across the kitchen windows. Install open floating shelves that span the wall, placing glass items in front of the pane so the eye travels through them.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Brandford

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I have a large family but can only fit a small table in my kitchen

Install an L-shaped banquette with a couple of chairs around a circular table – not only does this create more seating, but you can use drawers underneath for additional storage.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My kitchen bores me but I don’t have the budget for a big renovation

Make brass your new best friend! This on-trend metal can take your kitchen from bland to glam with just a few hundred dollars. Switch up old hardware with brushed brass beauties and opt for a show-stopping brass faucet.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Brandford

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My white kitchen appliances stick out like a sore thumb next to my wooden cabinetry

If you don’t have the cash for new appliances or cabinetry, spend a few hundred dollars on good quality paint for your cabinet doors. Complement those white appliances with a pale grey or sage, or go for a monochrome look with a matching white.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I love cooking, but I want my kitchen to be a hub for the whole family, not just me

Bring the family into your sacred space by sectioning off areas for them to do their own thing. Create a nook in the kitchen with reading materials and a laptop, install a sound system for music and bring in a bench or settee for lounging.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Barry Calhoun

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My feet get cold on the kitchen tiles, especially in the winter

Keep your tootsies warm in the cooler months by laying down small area rugs in high traffic areas with no-slide pads underneath. It’s also the perfect way to add a little colour and pattern to an all-white kitchen.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Ashley Capp

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I would love a pantry, but no condos include them these days

Build your own pantry! Purchase a wire basket shelving unit and organize to your heart’s content, separating spices, canned goods and baking essentials. Alternatively, install a deep pullout drawer in your lower cabinetry that you can insert shelves into.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Virginia Macdonald

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: The kitchen and dining area are open concept, but I want defined areas

If you’re on a budget, create separate living spaces by papering the wall where the dining space begins. If you have a little more cash to play with, install reclaimed wood beams along the ceiling and down the walls to architecturally border the two spaces.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Brandford

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I’m tired of subway tile as a backsplash – I want something more unique

A backsplash is the best way to have fun with an otherwise stock-standard kitchen. Add some colour and pattern with Moroccan painted tiles or a touch of Old World France with vintage mirrored glass.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I like a bright, fresh look in the kitchen, but it feels a little too white with the cabinets and countertops

Keep your all-white kitchen feeling fresh by injecting a clean colour – think mint or pale blue – on the walls and with small electrics like the toaster and stand mixer.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Baking trays spill out every time I open the cupboard door

You can keep those pesky uneven baking trays in the cupboard, but prevent them from toppling out by housing them upright in a basket or vintage magazine rack.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Van Berkel

11 kitchen design dilemmas and solutions

Up next: 99 problems for bedrooms

Click "next slideshow" for our solutions to bedroom design problems.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Kim Christie

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8 bedroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: There’s no room for a headboard in my teeny master bedroom

Get creative with the paintbrush and make your own headboard on the wall, like in the photo above. Use a stencil for a professional look or search online for stylish wall decals.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Angus Fergusson

8 bedroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I have virtually no closet space in my bedroom. None.

Whilst a lot of older homes win on the character front, many fail when it comes to storage space. Put your favourite clothes on display on a rolling rack (it’s like being backstage at a fashion show!), and tuck out-of-season items away beneath the bed. You can also build up, with open shelving along the perimeter of your ceiling.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

8 bedroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our new condo bedroom is pretty small and bedside tables barely fit

If floor space is an issue, hang floating shelves for a sleek, minimalist look. Make use of the wall behind your headboard and install task lighting for nighttime reading.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Robin Stubbert

8 bedroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our bedroom has a small window, only allowing a small amount of natural light in

Let the light shine in by hanging a large mirror opposite the window. It will not only reflect the light, but it will also mirror the frame and give the illusion of more than one window in the room.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Janis Nicolay

8 bedroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My old bedside tables aren’t as tall as my new bed

If your bedside tables are laying low, add some height by stacking your favourite coffee table books on top for your carafe and reading lamp to sit upon.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Virginia Macdonald

8 bedroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: We have two windows in the bedroom, but one is too small to hang drapes

Mismatched window coverings aren’t necessarily a bad thing! Hang drapes on the bigger window, then a roller blind on the smaller window. Just make sure you’re using complementary colours and patterns to tie the room together.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Janis Nicolay

8 bedroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: We have a bunch of vinyl flooring left over from a recent renovation and I don’t want it to go to waste

Get your DIY gloves on and build up – the wall, that is! Create a cozy cabin retreat in the bedroom by using leftover wood vinyl to span the feature wall behind the headboard.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

8 bedroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I love the natural light coming through the window of our ground level bedroom, but it lacks privacy during the day

Hang sheers behind your nighttime blackout drapes, allowing you to enjoy the afternoon sun without neighbours accidentally peeking in on you.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Kim Christie

8 bedroom design dilemmas and solutions

Up next: 99 problems for bathrooms

Click "next slideshow" for our solutions to bathroom design problems.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Brandford

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9 bathroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My basement bathroom can get quite damp and I’m scared of water damage on the walls

If you’re without a window in your below-ground bathroom, keep water damage at bay by installing a fan and tiling the walls from floor to ceiling.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Ashley Capp

9 bathroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our main floor powder room is teeny tiny and feels more like a closet

Make that small space shine like a diamond with a few glam updates. Paper the walls in a fun pattern, go bold with artwork and add some shine with brass sconces. It will feel less like a closet and more like stepping inside a jewelry box!

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Brandford

9 bathroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: The faucets in our bathroom send out water full force, making my environmentally-conscious blood boil

Put that water pressure on hold by changing out your current sink faucet with a spout faucet and trading in the showerhead for a spa-like rain shower.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

9 bathroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: The master bathroom is pretty bare bones – as my haven at the end of a long day, it’s not very inspiring

Give that master bath some love with a few touches of old Hollywood glam. Centre the room with a sparkly chandelier, pair a white ruffled shower curtain with vintage glass hooks and trade in your vanity mirror for a gold framed stunner.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Barry Calhoun

9 bathroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: A soaker tub is an absolute must for me but my husband is more of a shower man – we just don’t have space for both!

Who says you can’t combine the best of both worlds? Enclose the soaker tub in a tiled space with a rain showerhead for a European style wet room.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Angus Fergusson

9 bathroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: There’s not a lot of surface space on the bathroom vanity – my skin and beauty products just make it seem cluttered

Corral your favourite creams and beautiful perfume bottles on a vintage vanity tray and tuck the rest beneath the sink in organized baskets or clear containers.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

9 bathroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I love the rich look of marble in the bathroom but need something to fit my budget

You can still get the look of marble without the hefty price tag. For a magazine-worthy bathroom, cover your shower walls with porcelain marble-look tiles, a more affordable option available in slabs or subway tile.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

9 bathroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My shower window looks directly into our neighbour’s house

To keep your bathroom aglow with natural lighting whilst also maintaining privacy, frost the windows or change the panes out for textured glass.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Michael Graydon

9 bathroom design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our bathroom has entirely open shelving, but I don’t like to keep things like toilet paper and other toiletries on display

Tuck the toilet paper and toiletries away in baskets, clearly labeling them so guests don’t need to go hunting for anything that needs replenishing.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Brandford

9 bathroom design dilemmas and solutions

Up next: 99 problems for living rooms

Click "next slideshow" for our solutions to living room design problems.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Virginia Macdonald

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11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I live in an old house and there’s a clunky, unsightly radiator in the living space

Radiators can either be a cool, industrial design feature or a nuisance to your decorating scheme. Hide that heater with a beautiful vintage grill or simply build around it, turning it into a window seat.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Angus Fergusson

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My new living room has traditional architecture but I prefer a modern look

For an instant modern update in the living room, take paint to the wooden doors and trim. Brush the doors with a clean white and paint the trim the same colour as the walls for a minimalist, seamless look.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Virginia Macdonald

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our living room has wall-to-wall carpet but we don’t have the budget for new hardwood

If you’re game for ripping up that carpet, vinyl and engineered hardwood are more affordable options to pure hardwood. If a renovation is out of the question, spruce up that carpeted floor with large area rugs. They’ll tie the room together and will hide any tough-to-remove stains.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Robin Stubbert

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: The living room in our new home has big, embedded bookshelves but I’m not a big reader

You don’t need a big book collection to fill those shelves. Add any books that you do have, then mix it up with baskets for storage, beautiful objects from your travels and treasured collectibles like old cameras or Wedgwood plates.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Barry Calhoun

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I don’t want my TV to be the focal point of my living room – how do I integrate it into my design?

If your wall-mounted TV sticks out like a sore thumb, paint the wall behind it a dark colour like black or deep navy to camouflage. To hide it entirely, conceal it within an armoire.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Michael Graydon

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My thermostat is in a really awkward spot, preventing me from hanging anything on the wall

Instead of trying to work around your centrally located thermostat, work with it. Create a gallery wall with all different frames and objects so that the thermostat blends in to the design.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I want to add colour to my neutral living room, but I’m not ready to commit

If vibrant hues or pattern are your decorating phobias, start small with accessories and items that aren’t a big investment and can easily be switched out. Pillows, throws, area rugs and wall art are all easy and affordable ways to add a pop of colour.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Brandford

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: We love to have friends over for game night, but we don’t have enough seating in our living room

Make the best use of your space by using multi-functional furniture that can double as additional seating. That ottoman you use as a coffee table? Clear it off to seat more guests. Same goes for those Chinese garden drums you use as side tables.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Janis Nicolay

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our sofa has a lovely patterned fabric and I’d love to use it elsewhere in the room

Getting chairs covered in the same fabric might be too matchy-matchy, so try covering some toss cushions for your side chairs or even framing the fabric and mixing it in with your existing wall art.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Van Berkel

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our side chairs have seen better days and need a little love

Instead of sending the chairs off to furniture heaven, breathe new life into them by covering them in a fun new fabric or simply by adding new piping in a bold, vibrant hue.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Angus Fergusson

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: We love to throw parties in our large living room, but we have more seating than table surfaces

If you entertain a lot in your living space, ensure there is a table surface within reach of each seat. Besides the coffee table in front of the sofa, set a small side table in between two occasional chairs or a fold down tray table for guests to place drinks.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Jason Hartog

11 living room design dilemmas and solutions

Up next: 99 problems for dining rooms

Click "next slideshow" for our solutions to dining room design problems.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Monic Richard

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8 dining room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: We have an uneven number of matching chairs for our dining table

Having an odd number of dining chairs is the perfect opportunity to have fun in the dining room. Mix things up with a boldly patterned or vibrantly coloured chair at the head of the table.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

8 dining room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My wee ones have stained my upholstered dining chairs

If you’re scared that reupholstering the chairs will only lead to them getting stained again, look for chairs made of fiberglass, acrylic or plastic – easy to clean and much more durable.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Janis Nicolay

8 dining room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I like a formal look in the dining room, but our new build is pretty stock standard

A few architectural touches will give your dining room the formal design you crave. Add some wainscoting or a chair rail to the walls and give the ceiling that finished look with crown molding. If you want to make the room even more grand, heighten the wainscoting to make the ceilings appear taller.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Monic Richard

8 dining room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I love to entertain, but I’m lacking cupboard space in my new condo for all my platters and serving dishes

Condos can be short on kitchen storage, so take to the dining area and purchase a buffet to house all of your favourite entertaining accessories.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

8 dining room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: We have a big drum shade pendant in the dining room but it’s seen better days

Instead of replacing the lighting altogether, give that shade a little boost by recovering it in leftover wallpaper or patterned fabric. Or try this glam gold DIY here.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Michael Nangreaves

8 dining room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: The lighting in the dining room is too harsh – I want to create a mood for entertaining

If overhead lighting is too harsh to create that intimate restaurant experience in your dining room, install a dimmer switch. It’s an easy and affordable solution that allows you to be flexible with your light settings.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Andrew Grinton

8 dining room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: We don’t have a separate dining room, but there is a tiny nook off the kitchen. How do I best use this small space?

Go restaurant style and create a booth with two settees and a long table in the middle. Not only is it intimate, but you can also make it formal with tufted seating and a chandelier overhead.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Virginia Macdonald

8 dining room design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our dining room needs to double as our family table for four, as well as an entertaining space for up to ten

If your everyday family dining differs from your weekend dinner parties, look for a versatile dining table that will cater to both. Opt for a round or square table with leaf inserts that will extend when you have guests over for dinner.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Virginia Macdonald

8 dining room design dilemmas and solutions

Up next: 99 problems for home offices

Click "next slideshow" for our solutions to home office design problems.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Angus Fergusson

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6 home office design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My rental doesn’t allow me to install bookshelves in my home office, but I really love the custom look

You can still achieve a custom look without changing the architecture of your space. Save some money with a standard bookcase (like the IKEA Billy or Liatorp) and paint or wallpaper the back with a gorgeous print.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Raquel Langworthy

6 home office design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: The wires in my home office drive me nuts and take away from my beautiful, tidy space

To keep things tidy in your home office, install a power bar to the back of your desk space so there’s only one cable running from the desk to the wall outlet. Also attach a hanging basket underneath the desktop to house any loose wires.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Tracey Ayton

6 home office design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My printer is essential to my small business, but takes over my desk space

Printers can make even the sleekest of spaces look untidy. Hide it in a deep filing cabinet next to the desk, drilling a hole in the back for the cable to run out.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Michael Graydon

6 home office design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I’m a creative type and I love to be inspired by the space around me, but my home office is barren

Make your home office a haven for creativity by building a giant inspiration wall. Paint the walls your favourite colour then crisscross ribbon in a deeper shade across one of the walls using brass thumb tacks, creating a diamond pattern. Once all is complete, slide in fabric, photos, and illustrations – whatever inspires you – behind the ribbon.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Angus Fergusson

6 home office design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: The French doors to the storage closet in my home office hit the desk on one side and the bookshelf on the other

If you’re short on space in your home office, remove the closet doors and hang drapes to avoid damaging furniture and give you easier access to storage.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Yale Wagner

6 home office design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our home office needs to double as a guest room, but a bed just overpowers the space

If the space will be used more as a home office than a guest room, purchase a sofa bed that pulls out when you have visitors, or a captain’s bunk that pulls out to make a double bed. It also gives you extra seating in the office!

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Janis Nicolay

6 home office design dilemmas and solutions

Up next: 99 problems for basements and attics

Find the best solutions to those common basement and attic design dilemmas.

Read more: CLICK FOR MORE DESIGN SOLUTIONS
Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Style at Home

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10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Problem: I want to finish the basement, but don’t want the rustic lounge room treatment that most basements have

You can make your basement area just as grand as your high-style spaces above ground, high ceilings or not. Hang oversized artwork, arrange sleek modern furniture and light it up with ornate fixtures.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Ashley Capp

10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Problem: I have small windows in the basement and have no idea how to cover them

You can still make a lounge in the basement appear spacious despite low ceilings and grade level windows. Hang full-length drapes to make it appear as though there’s a large bay window hidden behind.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Ashley Capp

10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Problem: There’s no natural light in our basement and it just feels dark and dull

The quickest and easiest fix for a dark basement is a fresh coat of paint. Whilst walls painted in a pale grey will lighten the space, a ceiling brushed in a fresh coat of vibrant coral will give it that extra boost.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Virginia Macdonald

10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Problem: Our basement has 70s paneling – yuck!

Natural-hued wood paneling can look pretty dated, especially in a basement. If stripping it off is too big of a project, simply paint it white or a pale grey for that bright beach house look.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Brandford

10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Problem: Our furniture in the basement lounge creates an awkward corner

When dealing with an awkward corner, draw the eyes away from it by reflecting the rest of the room. Place a floor mirror on an angle in the corner so it mirrors the space around it rather than draw attention to itself.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Janis Nicolay

10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Problem: The space under our stairs isn’t being put to use

The empty space under your basement stairs is a hidden gem rather than an awkward nook. Use this space for seasonal storage (like Christmas decorations) or convert into a wine closet. You can also use it as a functional space, creating a cool hangout for the kids or building a laptop station.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Magdalena Bjornsdotter

10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Problem: We have a finished basement, but it’s too cold down there to enjoy in the winter

Because they’re underground, basements have the tendency to feel chillier than the rest of your home. Turn your basement into a cozy hideaway by installing an electrical fireplace and laying down plush rugs underfoot.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Kim Christie

10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Problem: My basement ceilings are too low to have fun with lighting

Not true! You can still introduce unique light fixtures in your basement even if you don’t have those grand 9-foot ceilings. Put up vintage wall sconces, and if you do want pendant lighting, hang in low traffic areas like corners or above the coffee table.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Mark Burstyn

10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Problem: Our bedroom is in the attic and gets incredibly hot in the summer, even with the air conditioning

With the summer sun beating down on the roof all day and air conditioning working overtime to reach the top level of the house, the attic can get pretty toasty. Keep the door to the attic closed during the day to trap the cool air in and install a ceiling fan overhead to move the air around at night.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Robin Stubbert

10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Problem: We have a finished attic but the sloped ceilings make it difficult to use it for anything

An attic is the perfect space to build a quiet getaway for the end of a long workday or a lazy Sunday. Cover the space with floor poufs and create a family movie room by projecting films onto the sloped ceilings. Or, if you’re a yogi, transform the room into a home studio for stretching and meditation.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Barry Calhoun

10 design solutions for your basement and attic

Up next: 99 problems for kids and family rooms

Click "next slideshow" for our solutions to kid and family room design problems.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Ashley Capp

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7 design solutions for kids and family rooms

Problem: My partner is a massive sports fan, but I don’t want the house to be overrun with memorabilia

Football posters, basketball jerseys and signed hockey sticks are great in a dorm room, but not so much in your new home’s living room. If sports are an important part of your partner’s life, compromise by adding a few pieces of their collection as accessories into your decorating scheme, like in this photo.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Van Berkel

7 design solutions for kids and family rooms

Problem: We have small kids and I’m worried about spills on furniture and flooring

There are plenty of options available for easy to clean floors – vinyl, tiles, engineered hardwood – and furniture. If you do have fabric chairs, cover them in a durable material.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Janis Nicolay

7 design solutions for kids and family rooms

Problem: Our living room is overrun with kids’ toys

Designate a specific room of the house as a playroom for your kids, housing all of their toys, arts and crafts. If the living room is the hub of the home, keep a small box of toys in there that are allowed in that space but can also be easily be picked up and hidden away.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Raquel Langworthy

7 design solutions for kids and family rooms

Problem: The kids love to get creative – with the walls unfortunately

If your child’s budding creativity happens to come out on the walls of their room, encourage them to do so (safely!) by creating a chalkboard wall that gives them a large space to work out their inner Monet.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Virginia Macdonald

7 design solutions for kids and family rooms

Problem: My kids come home with artwork from school all the time – how do I display it without making my house look messy?

Proud parents can incorporate their little Picasso’s masterpieces into the existing decor by creating a gallery wall in the hallway or up the stairwell, placing in matching floating frames for a seamless look.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Stacey Brandford

7 design solutions for kids and family rooms

Problem: Our kids love playing in the big backyard of our new house, but there’s no mudroom for them to come in through

Create a mudroom at the side entrance simply by hanging hooks, installing a floating shelf with baskets to store hats and mitts and a moving in a bench to sit on whilst taking shoes off.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Michael Nangreaves

7 design solutions for kids and family rooms

Problem: My child is growing out of her kid-like room. I don’t want to redecorate every time she changes her teenage mind!

Invest money on big pieces like the bed and desk that you don’t want to change every few years, opting for classic styles that will grow with her. Then let her have fun with the accessories like bedding, wall art and paint colour that won’t cost as much to change up when her taste evolves.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Ashley Capp

7 design solutions for kids and family rooms

Up next: 99 problems for doors, ceilings and floors

Click "next slideshow" for our solutions to door, ceiling and floor design problems.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

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Design solutions for your doors, ceilings and floors

Problem: We just moved into a new build and the interior doors are just builder’s standard

Instead of changing out all the doors in your new home, save some cash by painting them and switching out the handles. For a custom look, paint the door grooves a contrasting colour like in this photo.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Angus Fergusson

Design solutions for your doors, ceilings and floors

Problem: We have beautiful floorboards in our new home, but they’re pretty scratched in the main hallway

No need to replace those beautiful floors – rent a buffer to reseal the hardwood and restore them to a slick shine. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, strip them down entirely and paint them in stripes or a herringbone pattern.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

Design solutions for your doors, ceilings and floors

Problem: In the summer we love to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor, but sliding glass doors to the backyard don’t encourage that lifestyle

Make summer entertaining easier and invite the fresh air indoors by switching out those sliding doors with French doors that can stay swung open, or by installing a garage-style door that pulls up (and doubles as a shelter if it rains!).

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Andreas Trauttmansdorff

Design solutions for your doors, ceilings and floors

Problem: Our loft space has open doorways, but we want a bit of privacy for the bedroom and a standard door won’t fit

Loft spaces rarely have standard door frames, so you’ll likely have to go custom. Look for sliding frosted glass doors or, for a more industrial look, opt for a sliding barn door.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Lisa Petrole

Design solutions for your doors, ceilings and floors

Problem: Our new home has terribly dated stippled ceilings in some of the rooms

Give your home’s ceilings a timeless look by nailing white painted tongue and groove planks from wall to wall, making it more cottage chic than ‘80s lounge room.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Michael Graydon

Design solutions for your doors, ceilings and floors

Up next: 99 problems for foyers, stairs and hallways

Click "next slideshow" for our solutions to foyer, stair and hallway design problems.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Robin Stubbert

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Design solutions for your foyers, stairs and hallways

Problem: My front door opens right into the living space – I would love a foyer or defined space

Many older homes lack a distinct foyer space, meaning there’s no defined space to take off your shoes or hang your coat. Install tiles to create an entrance and buy a screen to separate the doorway from the living room.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Michael Graydon

Design solutions for your foyers, stairs and hallways

Problem: Our front foyer is just a mess of shoes and knapsacks

Make things easy for your family by creating a stop-and-drop storage solution at the front door. Place a bench along the wall front wall with baskets underneath or pre-existing cubbies for kids to drop shoes and bags into.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Virginia Macdonald

Design solutions for your foyers, stairs and hallways

Problem: Our staircase has a fairly big landing and it’s currently just unused space

Make the most of your home by creating functional spaces in every nook and cranny. A large stairway landing is the perfect spot for a reading bench with storage beneath or a floating desk with stools tucked under for a handy workspace.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Robin Stubbert

Design solutions for your foyers, stairs and hallways

Problem: Our staircase has beautiful hardwood steps, but they’re slippery underfoot

Prevent accidents on the steps by covering the stairs in a carpeted runner up the middle. Opt for a rougher pile, like jute – it’s hardwearing in high-traffic areas and will help to prevent slips.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Robin Stubbert

Design solutions for your foyers, stairs and hallways

Problem: We have long vertical windows next to the front door that are too narrow for window coverings

To keep the mailman from peeping in through the front door, try frosting the vertical side windows or installing thin Californian shutters.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Janet Kimber

Design solutions for your foyers, stairs and hallways

Problem: Our foyer is quite compact – how do I make it appear larger?

Besides adding a large mirror to reflect the space, paint horizontal stripes along the walls to make the eye stretch past the foyer and down the hallway.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Brandon Barre

Design solutions for your foyers, stairs and hallways

Problem: Our new home is cookie cutter and I prefer a more traditional look with architectural character

To get that turn-of-the-century look in your newer home, change up the newel posts on the stairs for vintage reclaimed ones. You can also achieve the look with ornamental trim around the doors and thick trim along the baseboards in the hallway.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Robin Stubbert

Design solutions for your foyers, stairs and hallways

Problem: We need a console in the foyer, but it visually blocks the hallway

If your home’s foyer is lacking a spot to house your daily essentials, opt for a glass or acrylic table. Your eyes will visually pass through instead of blocking sightline of the space around.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Yale Wagner

Design solutions for your foyers, stairs and hallways

Problem: We have a long hallway that doesn’t get much traffic but I still want to utilize it

Low-traffic areas are great because you can get creative with how you decorate them and what you use them for. Hang folded chairs along the wall or screw in some hooks to hangs coats, umbrellas or any other odd items.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Kim Christie

Design solutions for your foyers, stairs and hallways

Up next: 99 problems for walls and windows

Click "next slideshow" for our solutions to wall and window design problems.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Michael Nangreaves

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Design solutions for your walls and windows

Problem: Our walls are bare – how can I give them some personality without spending a fortune on art?

There are plenty of places to get inexpensive art for your new home. Scout out independent artists on Etsy and Society6, frame your favourite patterned fabrics or display collectibles you’ve found on your travels, like a beautiful pastry bag from Paris or silver medallions from Peru.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Michael Nangreaves

Design solutions for your walls and windows

Problem: My new loft has floor to ceiling windows, meaning no privacy

The easiest solution for high condo windows is roller blinds. Opt for white rollers that give you privacy throughout the day without blocking out the natural light, or for a more dramatic look, hang long velvety, custom-made drapes.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Virginia Macdonald

Design solutions for your walls and windows

Problem: Our new rental won’t allow us to paint our builders beige walls – how do we inject more colour into the space?

If you can’t paint the walls, paint your furniture! Tie the room together by painting your bedside tables, benches, dining chairs and even coffee table.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

Design solutions for your walls and windows

Problem: The ceilings in my new home aren’t the 9-foot stunners that I would have loved

Make your rooms appear taller by hanging drapery close to the ceiling (approximately two inches from the top or molding). Extend the rod a bit on either end as well to give the appearance of large windows.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

Design solutions for your walls and windows

Problem: Our new apartment has a little nook with a large window, but we don’t want to block it with a window seat or bookcase

The awkward little nooks of your home are the biggest gems. Make the space into an at-home coffee bar, sourcing a reclaimed wood beam and wedging it between the walls. Add a couple of stools underneath and you have the perfect window perch for your morning coffee.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Donna Griffith

Design solutions for your walls and windows

Problem: Our older house has drafty windows

Upgrading your windows is one of the best investments you can do for your home. In the short-term, you’ll save money on heating, and in the long-term, you’ll find it adds to the value of your house when selling. Look for double- or triple-paned glazed glass and don’t forget about replacing the frames!

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Robin Stubbert

Design solutions for your walls and windows

Up next: More problems

Click "next slideshow" for our solutions to even more design problems.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Yvonne Duivenvoorden

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9 common design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I’m an avid cyclist but have nowhere to store my bike in my condo

Integrate your city bike into your condo’s art scheme by hanging it on the wall on hooks – you’ll get a cool, industrial look without taking up floor space. Just remember to wipe down the wheels after a long ride!

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Janis Nicolay

9 common design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I’m always having to fold clothes on the kitchen table because my laundry room has no flat top surfaces

Build a flat top over the top of your washer and dryer. Or if you’re tight on room, install a thin tabletop that folds down from the wall.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Ashley Capp

9 common design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: My laundry space is tight – no room for a drying rack

If floor space is tight in the laundry room, use the walls. Attach a flexible drying rack that pulls out from the wall that you can hang delicates on without taking up precious real estate on the floor.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Barry Calhoun

9 common design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our new build has unsightly air vents

Newer homes often have large air vents that can detract from your decorating scheme. To make them less unsightly, make your own by heading to the hardware store and buying a latticed radiator screen, building a frame around it out of ornamental trim.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Angus Fergusson

9 common design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our older house doesn’t have a linen closet in the guest room, but we don’t want guests to have to ask for extra pillows, towels and blankets

The best hosts aim to make guests feel at home, and giving them everything at their fingertips is one way to ensure that. Place a chest or storage bench at the foot of the bed to house any additional linens or comforts guests might require for their stay.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Yvonne Duivenvoorden

9 common design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: We moved into an old house and the fireplace isn’t functioning… it’s just a gaping hole

A beautiful hearth with no fire to light it up? Not a problem! Create a makeshift fireplace with dozens of pillar candles or use it as a spot to stack books that won’t fit on your shelves.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Michael Nangreaves

9 common design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our new condo has a ‘den’, but it’s only a small 6’6’ space

Sometimes the ‘den’ space in new condo suites is really a glorified closet. Install a wall-to-wall daybed that gives the space multi-functional use as a reading nook, guest room or home movie theatre with a projector hung from above.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Yale Wagner

9 common design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: Our new ‘70s home can be easily updated with our modern furniture, but the fireplace is really dated

Not all fireplaces are cut from the same cloth, and many stone or brick designs can scream ‘70s. Paint the stonework white or build a mantel around it to match the rest of the updated house.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Christy Wright

9 common design dilemmas and solutions

Problem: I’m a real trend-follower and crave a home makeover every season

If seasonal trends are the name of your game, save yourself some money by grounding your space in timeless, classic items like a charcoal sofa and marble-topped coffee table. Allow yourself to switch up lower cost items that can reflect the changing trends, introducing copper candle holders or faux fur throw cushions to your heart’s content.

Image by: Style at Home By: Lauren McPhillips Source: Ryan Brook/TC Media

 

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