Home decor: 7 secrets of redesign
As a contributor to Style at Home magazine, I write about some of the most beautiful homes in Canada. So, does that mean my house is as pretty as those in our pages? Er, not by a long shot. I like the furniture I own, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm not skilled at furniture arrangement in my Toronto house. Yet, I'm not ready to hire a designer for a complete overhaul (read: I'm broke, I just bought this house!) plus, it seems much more eco-friendly to work with the furnishings I already have.
The solution? I invited Jane Nieuwendyk, a redesign specialist who owns the company Completely Chic Interiors (completelychic.com), to redesign my home. Interested in doing your own redesign? Here are the tips and tricks.
1 Harness the power of placement.
Bring sofas in a large room close together. Sure, you've heard this before, but how do you do it? In my home, the sofas in the living room were (guilty as charged) pushed against the walls. I couldn't envisage them any other way. Jane faced them toward one another in a V-shape with the coffee table in the centre. Now, the wood-burning stove is the focal point. In the dining room, she re-oriented the table to the centre of the room, making the whole room feel much larger.
2 Lower art that's hanging too high and fix "groupings" that are too spread out.
This is a mistake Jane says she sees often -- artwork spread too far apart, and placed too high, at the eye-level of a basketball player. Unless you live with Steve Nash or Yao Ming, hang artwork and picture frames at the eye level of the average woman. Jane created a few nice art groupings using things already in my home: extra picture frames that we placed pretty leftover paper in, and original paintings I created. My fave: I took an out-of-date atlas page featuring Ireland and placed it in a frame -- my husband, BNN reporter Niall McGee is from Donegal, Ireland. Jane surprised him by giving the frame a place of pride in the kitchen, next to my painting.
3 Nope, you don't have to edit, edit, edit.
Spread things out, or even rotate them, Jane says. "The edit, edit, edit mantra has people going crazy thinking that if they display their favourite collection of plates on a wall that they have no style. That's just not so. Although we love many things, we must be careful not to fill our rooms with all of these things!" says Jane. If anything, Jane added a few more things to my living room, bringing them in from other rooms. I love that she regrouped accessories in my house by colour. Pink accents on the dining room console table complemented the hot pink of Benjamin Moore's (bemjaminmoore.ca) Peony 2079-30 shade on the wall.
|Before||4 Enlist help.|
Don't decide one weekend you're going to move around armoires and heavy sofas all by yourself. That's a recipe for an injury and frustration! Enlist help, which means you can try a few arrangements instead of exhausting yourself after pushing things around only once. Jane, for instance, teams up with sister and fellow redesigner Margaret Long to help move things around. (Like her sister Jane, Margaret is a redesigner, too. Her company is called Simple and Sophisticated (simpleandsophisticated.com)).
|After||5 Put together your "stylist's toolbox," so you can move furniture and paintings with ease. |
In Jane's redesign toolbox, you'll find:
• a drill,
• EZ movers (to help slide furniture around)
• picture hooks
• screw drivers
• light bulbs
• sewing kit
6 Use the beautiful things you already have.
People don't buy things they think are ugly, says Jane. "Many people are amazed to discover they really do have great stuff they just needed help to pull it together. The redesign industry was born and grew from designers that could see that many of their clients already had lovely things they just needed help presenting them. Rather than redo an entire space from scratch and replace perfectly good furnishings, these designers chose to work with what the homeowner already had and with their professional skill take that room to the next level." Still not sure how to do it? That leads us to our next tip …
7 Consider hiring a pro
Sometimes it makes sense to call in help. In my case, I knew I needed fresh eyes to see my home and move furniture around. I just didn't have the confidence to take the big steps the living room, kitchen and dining area needed to make it more appealing. Completely Chic Interiors charges $50 for a consultation (put toward a redesign), and Jane will redesign one room for $300, which is the average price. She also does a "redesign ready package," from $150, during which she outlines how you can redesign your space yourself. Redesigner prices may vary, but will still cost you much less than hiring an interior decorator to start from scratch!
WHERE TO FIND IT:
• Redesign: Completely Chic Interiors; Simple and Sophisticated
• Blue and lavender placemats (page 1), avocado embroidered pillow (page 2): Omhome.com
• Paint: Peony 2079-30 (page 2), Benjamin Moore
• Dining table, dining chairs, drapes (this page), console table, coffee table, black sofa (page 1), stainless steel counter (this page) : IKEA