Clarendon bed from Birch Lane
Amp up your summer decor with these easy ways to get cottage style right at home.
Canadian summers are perfect for enjoying up at the cottage. No cottage? No problem! Bring the easy, laidback vibe of cottage living to your home with these simple decorating ideas.
Clarendon bed from Birch Lane
This cream-coloured bed is made of metal and would look right at home in a cottage but can also fit right in at home, too! Perfect for a child’s room or a guest bedroom, this bed will easily become the focal point of the space. Clarendon Bed, Birch Lane, $339.
Cotton ticking stripe blanket
Made in Maine, this 100% cotton blanket is perfect for chilly outdoor nights, whether you’re at the cottage or at home. The yarn-dyed stripes add a decidedly summertime feel to these throws and will look good and keep you warm all season long. Cotton Ticking Stripe Blanket, Garnet Hill, $78.
Harborside Slipcovered Swivel Glider
A slipcovered chair will instantly add the air of laidback cottage living to your home. This swivel chair might be a pricey purchase, but it will not only look amazing in your home for years to come but will also keep that cottage vibe in the air year-round, not just in the summertime! Harborside Slipcovered Swivel Glider, Crate and Barrel, $1,099.
Fisherman Pendant Light
Add a nautical or beachy feeling to your cottage style makeover with this fisherman-inspired pendant light. Made of iron and glass, this distinctive piece will add a cozy, warm glow to your home. Perfect for hanging in a front entryway for a welcoming touch. Fisherman Pendant Light, Pottery Barn Kids, $89.
Sawyer Side Chair
The simple, casual and somewhat retro stylings of these chairs make them perfect for achieving a laidback cottage vibe at home. Use them around the kitchen table or simply place them around the house in different rooms to provide additional seating. Sawyer Side Chair, Wayfair, $195.99.
Chenille Jute Basketweave Rug
A jute rug doesn’t just channel a cottage feeling but it’s also a practical addition to high traffic areas in your home, especially those that straddle indoors and out. Long-lasting and tough-wearing, this rug can stand up to lots of wear and tear … and looks good doing it! Chenille Jute Basketweave Rug, Pottery Barn, starting at $129.
Hurricane Candle Holder
Candles are one of the simplest, most inexpensive ways to decorate and paired with stylish hurricane holders, pillar candles become a beautiful centrepiece for your kitchen or living room table. These hurricane candle holders come in varying heights and look great clustered together. Hurricane Candle Holder, West Elm, $24.
Thibaut Wallpaper in Sassafras
This gorgeous wallpaper design offers up a modern twist on a country-inspired pattern. Available in a variety of muted shades of yellows, creams and greens, we love how this wallpaper effortlessly adds an easy elegance to any space. Thibaut Wallpaper in Sassafras, Thibaut, see thibautdesign.com for pricing.
How to: Paint outdoor furniture
When undertaking a DIY project, there are usually a few things to consider. Add tempermental weather to the list and suddenly that little list has multiplied. How do you prepare your furniture for painting? What type of paint do you use? How does it differ for different types of material?
Though the process of painting outdoor furniture may seem daunting now, the best way to go about a DIY job is to be prepared. We talked to an expert at Canadian Tire to do just that. Michael Bache, Category Business Manager at Canadian Tire, shares his prepping and painting how tos to help put your DIY nerves at ease.
1 What supplies will you need for prepping and painting?
Depending on the state of the furniture (e.g. new wood, old plastic, painted metal, painted wood) and the type of paint chosen, a variety of items should be considered.
If using brush-on paint, consider using a primer before applying a new fresh coat of colour. When priming your furniture, make sure to use a good quality paintbrush and rags or drop cloths for clean-up. However, if you're using Krylon® Fusion™ no primer is required.
If repainting a metal or wood surface that has loose peeling paint, it must be removed for best adhesion. You can use sandpaper, steel wool, wire brush, scraper, or a stripper. You may require a tack cloth to clean up dust residue when sanding. If sanding a latex paint, a simple damp rag will work just fine.
2 Do these steps differ when prepping different materials, such as metal, plastic, wicker or wood?
Yes. Some products don't require primer, saving you a prep step. Using an aerosol is a benefit, too, as you also save a step in the prep. It generally dries faster and doesn't require clean-up since no paint brushes are involved. Even better, aerosols tend to give a factory style, air brush finish when applied properly, as opposed to a brush-on paint.
Bare wood generally requires a primer to seal the wood prior to painting as the surface is porous. The primer is used to provide a nice, smooth finish. Krylon Dual saves a step on both bare wood and metal since it primes and paints in one easy step. This saves time and allows people to have more time enjoying their furniture and less time prepping it!
3 What type of paint should you use for outdoor furniture?
Always follow the directions on the label for specific product use. This will ensure proper adhesion to your surface.
Plastic patio furniture should only have a paint specifically designed to adhere to plastic and hard-to-bond surfaces. Many general purpose paints can adhere to most surfaces except plastic.
For wicker or rattan, spray paints tend to make a nicer finish and easily gets into the grooves. Muskoka chairs are also easier to paint when using an aerosol as opposed to a paint brush. Now there's even an aerosol wood stain by Krylon. Spray stains make fast work of Muskoka chairs and planters - no brushes to clean up either.
5 What about rust prevention?
Paint designed especially for metal surfaces tends to add rust protection into the paint - make sure the paint says "rust proofing" or "rust inhibiting".
As our climate changes, U.V. rays are also a consideration - they're hard on our skin and our exterior patio furniture! Some paints actually have U.V. protection in their paint. This will help protect your finish to resist harsh weather conditions. We suggest storing patio furniture during the fall and winter months when not in use. If space is a problem, a variety of covers and tarps are available to help protect your investment.
6 What are the best painting methods to use?
Much of this is personal preference. However, some surfaces, like wicker and rattan, have a nicer finish when sprayed versus brushing.
7 What kind of finish, if any, should you use?
Most paint companies offer a variety of finishes to choose from - satin, gloss, textured, metallic, hammered, and more. As long as you use an appropriate paint for your exterior surface and follow the instructions, you should achieve the finish you want. The really nice thing about the variety of paints and finishes available is that people can turn "garage sale finds" into treasures. Mixing and matching old and new creates a different and personalized patio set.
8 How many coats should you use
Follow the instructions on the can, however many paints suggest two coats. When painting remember this rule of thumb: Thinner coats are better than thicker coats. Thinner coats dry faster and produce a harder finish.
9 What should you look for in a brush?
Is it the right paint brush for your paint? Oil-based paints generally have different bristles than latex paints. The brush label will specify this.
Is the paint brush the right size to do your project? If you are painting furniture, smaller brushes may be better. Ensure it fits into your paint container.
A roller can be great for large flat surfaces, like a tabletop. This can help reduce brush marks, too!
10 How does climate affect the painting process?
Weather is a big factor. For the most part, if you're getting a sunburn and sweating, it's probably too hot to paint. This will cause the paint to dry too fast. If it's too windy and you're using an aerosol paint, your paint may dissipate before it reaches the surface. Either wait for the wind to die down or use cardboard to build a spray tunnel. Humidity can affect the paint's dry time, which leaves more time for surface imperfections to take place on your finish. In general, 21ºC and about 50% humidity are ideal conditions for painting.
12 Any last tips?
Remember to protect other surfaces if working outside by using masking tape and drop cloths. Most importantly, regardless of your project, remember to always read product labels thoroughly and follow directions.
Learn how to properly clean your carpets.
Tips, tricks and stylish solutions to keep your carpets fresh and clean.
How to keep carpets clean
Step 1: Be diligent about vacuuming. Dragging the machine across the surface once isn’t sufficient. Make a number of passes over each section, giving extra attention to high-traffic areas.
Step 2: Attend to spills immediately. Blot stains with a paper towel before spot cleaning; never rub, as that can push the dirt further into the fibres. Use a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water to wet - not soak - the area, then blot again. For stubborn stains, try spill-specific solutions: Cornstarch works well on grease, club soda on coffee spills and salt on mud.
Step 3: To maintain a clean surface long term, invest in yearly professional deep cleaning. Wall-to-wall carpets as well as rugs that have a waterproof backing can be cleaned on-site; rugs without a waterproof layers should be sent out to a cleaning facility.
Got set stains you can’t shake? Swap your current floor covering for carpet tiles like these from Flor (flor.com). If you mark a tile, it can be lifted and replaced easily and inexpensively - prices start at only $8 US each.
A high-performance vacuum is a worthy investment for keeping carpets looking beautiful year after year.
Dyson’s latest innovation is its Cinetic cyclone technology. The 54 cyclones feature new oscillating tips that prevent any dust buildup and blockage. Read: Zero loss of suction for at least a decade. DC78 Turbinehead Animal VACUUM, $800, Dyson, dysoncanada.ca.
Psst! One of the most powerful machines on the market, made in France, is also the quietest - four times more muted than the average. Silence Force Extreme VACUUM, $500, Rowena, rowentafloorcare.ca.
In true Jetsons-esque fashion, an automated vacuum like this one from Miele does all the work without you. Just set it and forget it - can’t get simpler than that! Scout RX1 VACUUM, $799, Miele, miele.ca.
TIP: For a fresh scent, sprinkle baking soda infused with your favourite essential oil, like sage (add one drop per cup of soda), on the carpet. Leave on for 20 minutes before vacuuming.
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.