Find helpful budget-friendly makeover ideas.
Make over your home with decorating tricks that don’t cost a dime!Who says you have to spend money to makeover your home? Here are some easy, fun and practical ideas for spiffing up your space without spending a cent.
Can you tell which country-chic console is the high and which is the low?
Can you tell which country-chic console is the high and which is the low?Credits: Michael Nangreaves; produced by Stacy Begg & Morgan Lindsay
We designed a country-chic living room console and styled it to match on budgets behooving both a cart horse and a thoroughbred. Can you tell the difference?
1 A-Street Prints Reclaimed White Washed Boards wallpaper in Cream, Brewster Home Fashions, $320 ($160 per double roll).
2 What Lies Ahead print on standard paper with White Premium Wood frame, 44" x 44", Minted, $468 US.
3 Acrylic and metal Column table lamp with cotton shade in Polished Nickel, West Elm, $239.
4 Hans Wegner oil-finished oak and hand-woven paper cord Wishbone side chair, Design Within Reach, $1,315.
6 Jute, leather and cotton Shiva rug, 5' x 8', Urban Barn, $249.
7 Trees in the Morning 2 artwork by Masood Omer (22" x 28"), Art Interiors, $700.
8 Vintage ceramic ginger jar, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $1,200 (per pair).
9 Vintage ceramic bowl, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $195.
10 Antique ceramic lidded jar, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $195.
1 Whitewood eastern white pine click floor boards (10' x 6" x 1") The Home Depot, $174 ($10.20 Per board)
2 Framed horse print (40" x 40"), HomeSense, $299.
3 Canvas studded glass and brushed steel Sonia table lamp with polyester blend shade, Canadian Tire, $130.
4 Beech and paper cord Denmark side chair in Beige, Structube, $239.
6 Hand-loomed hemp and suede Overbrook rug in Natural (5' x 8'), EQ3, $150.
7 Kingston 14 artwork by Ian Varney (16" x 20"), Canvas Gallery, $550.
8 Vintage ceramic ginger jar, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $595 (per pair).
9 Vintage ceramic bowl, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $65.
10 Vintage ceramic lidded jar, Cynthia Findlay Antiques, $15.
Got an über-practical yet plain-Jane storage unit? Dress it up with a custom skirt. The stylish traditional element will add formal flair to the room while concealing the unit’s contents (we’ve stocked ours with liquors and glassware to create an ersatz bar, but you can stash just about anything in yours). A glass top will finish the look and protect the fabric. In addition to a centre pleated slit, the High console skirt features an elegant pleat at either corner for a fun decorative touch.
With sophisticated transparent bases and chic cream-toned fabric shades, these classic cylindrical table lamps will suit any room. All that’s left to match is your budget.
1 Aerin crystal Lineham with linen shade in Polished Nickel, Cocoon Furnishings, $1,088.
2 Glass and aluminum French Column with linen shade in Polished Nickel, Restoration Hardware, $375 US.
3 L2 Lighting glass and chrome-plated steel Chloe with linen shade, Lowe's, $245.
4 Canvas studded glass and brushed steel Sonia with polyester blend shade, Canadian Tire, $130.
Blue and white ginger jars have held their position among decor royalty for centuries – impressive, considering their blue-collar roots. So named for their function of housing ginger and other spices in ancient China, the vessels have transcended utilitarianism and – more often than not – get to, well, sit there and look pretty. We love the casual look created by mixing the jars with an array of matching two-tone chinoiserie ceramics, such as an antique lidded jar, a vintage bowl and more recently produced plates and teacups (these are by time-honoured manufacturer Royal Copenhagen).
Get ready to be floored: While our High tongue-and-groove wall treatment is fully faux (we bet the wood panel-look wallpaper had you fooled), the Low wall is clad in white-painted floorboards. Both options are simple DIYs that bear the country-chic aesthetic of shiplap panelling. Floorboards are easy to install on a wall, as long as you know how to handle a hand drill and have some help balancing on a ladder.
Not every piece that suits our High or Low room sets makes the cut. This month, stylists Morgan Lindsay and Stacy Begg came across this sleek hurricane candle sconce just a little too late. “The product’s brass finish would have glammed up the rustic, time-worn look a bit,” says Morgan.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.
Take your bathroom from drab to fab with these easy decorating ideas!
Bathroom and kitchen renovations are known to give homeowners the biggest returns on their investment when they sell. But whether you’re doing a big renovation or just looking for ways to update your current bathroom and whether you intend to sell or not, these ideas for beautifying your bathroom will pay big returns in your overall satisfaction with your home. And you don’t have to have a $50,000 budget to do it. These affordable upgrades will add some serious style to your home without breaking the bank!
Renewal Divinity Small Mirror
What a difference something as simple as a mirror can make. The right one can transform the look of your bathroom and give it an updated, more stylish feel in an instant. The frame is made from hammered aluminum combined with beveled glass and can be hung vertically or horizontally, depending on your preference and the shape of the space you’re working in. Renewal Divinity Small Mirror, Wayfair, $380.46.
Flush Mount Bathroom Lighting Fixture
When renovating, it’s important to consider your lighting options for the type of space you have. So before you head to the lighting store, figure out whether it’d be best to go with flush mount, track lighting or sconces. No matter what you choose, illuminate your bathroom with a stunning light fixture that ties your bathroom’s whole look together and adds an appealing amount of sparkle and shine! Boasting a shiny chrome finish and a laser-cut inspired design on the lamp shade, this flush mounted lighting fixture will bring effortless elegance to your bathroom and is a simple way to take the look of the entire space from drab to fab! Flush Mount Bathroom Lighting Fixture, Multi Luminaire, $349.
Aroura Tile White and Gold Wallpaper
If you’ve always loved the look of wallpaper but have shied away from using it in the bathroom, it’s time to reconsider. Wallpaper has come a long way and today, there are lots of options on the market, many of which are suitable for moisture-rich environments. This gorgeous wallpaper has a mosaic pattern that mimics the look of tile and has a washable finish for easy clean-up. Aroura Tile White and Gold Wallpaper, Graham & Brown, $50/roll.
Metro Basket Weave White and Cobalt Porcelain Mosaic Tile
Flip through the pages of your favourite design magazine and you’re sure to see plenty of bathrooms boasting this contrasting basket weave tile to dramatic effect. Get the look for yourself with these tiles – but may we suggest opting for the white and cobalt colour combo as a subtle alternative to black and white? The rich cobalt will add a decidedly chic and unexpected look to your bathroom. Metro Basket Weave White and Cobalt Porcelain Mosaic Tile, Home Depot, $7.98 each.
Gleaming Brass Bath Collection
Upping the style quotient in your bathroom doesn’t get any easier than this! Swap out your existing vanity vessels for these truly chic options. The full set includes a soap dispenser, tumbler and tray, all in a beautiful brass finish. Gleaming Brass Bath Collection, Anthropologie, $22-$36.
Dot Medallion Shower Curtain
Looking for a quick and easy bathroom update that won’t break the bank? How about a new shower curtain? This 100% cotton curtain is made in India and features a modern medallion motif in a soothing colour palette of watercolour inspired shades of blue and grey. With this one simple addition to your bathroom, you’ll add an air of tranquility that will turn your bathroom into the oasis you always dreamed of. Dot Medallion Shower Curtain, West Elm, $29.99.