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.
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.
Serve up this spooky Halloween treats at your party.
Serve up this spooky Halloween treats at your party.
Make these tasty and elegantly spooky Halloween treats at home.
This year, try making these Halloween-inspired desserts to celebrate the spookiest day of the year. These DIY ideas will help make the holiday that much more special and make sure your home is filled with the delicious smell of baked goods.
1 Halloween chocolate tarts
1 Let baked chocolate tarts cool completely before decorating.
2 Place one candy corn around the edges of each tart, in a neat circle.
Makes eight 4-inch tarts.
2 No-bake pumpkin cheesecake cookies
1 Add the softened cream cheese to a medium-size bowl. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat for 1 minute. Mix in sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla and nutmeg. Fold in the food colouring if using.
2 Mix for another minute or until the mixture is homogeneous. Place to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or just until serving.
3 Right before serving, take the cheesecake batter out of the fridge. Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop add a couple tablespoons of batter at the center of half of the wafers. Top with the other half and gently press down to form a sandwich. Serve immediately.
Tip: Assemble the cookies at the last minute to prevent the wafer cookies from getting soggy.
Makes about 10 cookies.
Never burn the bottoms again! Learn how to bake better cookies with these pro tips.
3 Black and white truffles
1 Take truffles out of the fridge right before coating them with chocolate.
2 In two separate double-boilers, melt the dark and white chocolate. Quickly dip each truffle into either batter using a small flat spoon. Shake off excess and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
3 Place in the fridge to set for 10 minutes. Remove from the fridge a few minutes before serving.
Makes 50 truffles.
4 Pumpkin sugar cookies
1 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and egg whites.
2 Mixing on low speed, add up to 1/2 cup water depending on the consistency you want your icing to be. Mix until the icing holds a ribbon-like trail.
3 Separate the icing into two bowls. Fold in the orange colouring in one, and green in the other.
4 Place the icing into two piping bags.
5 Decorate as you please.
5 Halloween candy platter
For a festive Halloween candy platter, arrange a selection of black licorice, candy corn, jujubes and orange and black jelly beans in different plates and bowls.
Decorate for Halloween with these stylishly spooky decor accessories.
Boo! It’s that time of year again! Halloween is lurking just around the corner and if you love this haunted holiday, now’s the time to get some inspiration for adding a spooky look to your home. But forget tired and tacky … we’ve rounded up Halloween decorating ideas that are chic and stylish. Each one will help you add the spirit of the season to your home in an effortlessly elegant way.
1 Pumpkin and Ornament Garland
Garlands are traditionally a Christmas decoration but this Halloween-inspired garland is an easy and elegant way to bring the spirit of the season into your home. The jet-black garland is accented with shiny glass balls, faux orange pumpkins and shimmery curls of ribbon that come together to make a dramatic decorative statement! Pumpkin and Ornament Garland, Pier 1, $39.96.
2 Black Glitter Light-Up Tree
Another twist on a classic Christmas decoration, this bare tree features black glitter and safety candles that twinkle in the night and will add a spooky atmosphere to any room in your home. Cluster two or three trees together for a more dramatic effect and consider using them as a centerpiece on your table when you have guests visiting throughout the month of October. Black Glitter Light-Up Tree, Pottery Barn Kids, $47.
3 Matte Black Pumpkin
Pumpkins are a sure sign of Halloween, but in this beautiful black painted finish and with their gold foil stems, they take on an eerie effect that’s quite striking. Made from Styrofoam and plastic, they’re light and easy to move from indoors to outdoors and make a great addition to your seasonal decor. Matte Black Pumpkin, Pottery Barn, $39.50.
4 Creepy Crawly Polyester Window Treatment Collection
This fine-gauge lace window treatment adds the appearance of a large spider’s web to your window, adding just a hint of a haunted Halloween to your house! Easy to hang and subtle in its style, this is the perfect Halloween decoration for anyone who prefers to keep things a little more subtle. Creepy Crawly Polyester Window Treatment Collection, Wayfair, $39.99.
5 Falling Leaves Small Pumpkin
What’s black and white and chic all over? These gorgeous embellished pumpkins, that’s what! Made by Mackenzie-Childs, designers who revel in creating decorative items that feature traditions with a twist, these painted resin pumpkins will be the star of your Halloween décor, year after year. Fall Leaves Small Pumpkin, Horchow, $54.
6 BOO Outdoor LED Sign
Let trick or treaters know you mean business the moment they approach your front door. This pre-lit orange LED sign comes with hanging hooks and a removable kickstand to help make set up simple. Perfect for indoor or outdoor use, this sign will add a playful touch to your Halloween home. BOO Outdoor LED Sign, Balsam Hill, $49.
7 Black Branch Wreath
Gnarled bare black branches twist together to create this exceedingly creepy Halloween wreath, perfect for your front door or hung over a mantel. Black Branch Wreath, Crate & Barrel, $69.95.
8 Mr. Skeleton Figure
Granted, this skeleton is pretty creepy, especially if encountered in the dark. But it can also be a hilarious homage to Halloween when placed in amusing positions around the house. If your style is more funny than frightful, this might be the perfect decoration to add to your Halloween repertoire! Mr. Skeleton Figure, Urban Outfitters, $60.
lead image by Pier 1 imports