12 organizing ideas that will change your life
Organize your shoes with creative DIY storage solutions that are both simple and pretty. Find the DIY instructions here.
No need to procrastinate when it comes to closet organization -- find useful organization tips here that will help clear up the clutter.
Banish clutter, confusion and chaos in your kitchen with these tips.
A welcoming entryway needs to be clutter-free. Find helpful organizing ideas that will keep the entrance to your home tidy here.
Don't let the kids' bedrooms become a disaster-zone. Find helpful advice to keep their rooms organized here.
Great products will take your beautiful bathroom from a chaotic mess to an organized haven. See our 10 product picks here.
Small spaces can sometimes mean limited storage. Find 10 innovative storage solutions to keep your small space organized here.
Organizing your jewellery doesn't have to be a struggle. Find helpful solutions to keep baubles in one place and free of tangles here.
Use our easy, step-by-step approach to getting your linen closet organized. Find our tips here.
It's important to keep your flatware looking neat and tidy but it's just as important to get rid of those dull knives and missing sets you don't use if you want to minimize the mess. Find essential flatware care tips plus some of our favourite sets here.
It's important to find storage that is both functional and stylish. These amazing storage solutions will help keep your home looking clean, chic and clutter-free. Find all 10 storage solutions here.
Papers, pens and stationery can sometimes take over your home office. Find simple tips and tricks here for keeping your office neat and tidy.
Updating your driveway
When considering what home improvements you can make to help increase the value of your home, updating your driveway probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But don’t rule it out: Your driveway is one of the first things people see on your property and it has a big impact on your home’s curb appeal.
Examine your options
An attractive, well-maintained driveway can go a long way to enhance your curb appeal, which instantly increases its value.
1 Classic asphalt and gravel
Classic black asphalt driveways and gravel driveways are common options that still look great. They won’t knock the socks off any potential homebuyers, but they’re inexpensive to put in and inexpensive to maintain, making them great choices for the average budget-conscious homeowner. They only cost about $1.50 a square foot, so it’s easy to see why they’re such popular choices.
Concrete is a pricier option, coming in at about $4 a square foot, but it has a much cleaner, modern look. If laid properly, concrete can last up to 30 years, with almost zero maintenance besides an annual power wash. A coloured or stamped finish can really boost the look of concrete, but it will also raise the price tag, so be sure to shop around for quotes before you commit.
3 Brick or cobblestone
Brick or cobblestone pavers are the most attractive driveway option and have endless possibilities for colour and pattern. This option requires a professional. Hiring an expert who can create a plan to incorporate the driveway with your exterior hardscaping and come up with the look you really want is worth every penny – even if that means forking over $10 a square foot.
What things should I consider to get the best return on investment from my driveway?
First of all, look around your neighbourhood. Does every house but yours have a driveway? If your answer is yes, that’s a good reason to add some parking. Also, ask yourself if parking is at a premium in your area. If it is, adding a parking spot could really increase the value of your home. If you have room for extra parking on top of what you need or use, remember that you can rent out spaces for extra cash flow, too.
Should I turn my lawn into a parking pad if I don’t have any other parking options?
No, not if you’re worried about resale value and especially not if it will take up your entire yard. In most municipalities, street parking is permitted and generally adequate in residential areas. Driveway parking is definitely a perk but not if you have to sacrifice your green space to have it. Also, remember that adding parking requires city approval, so make sure to get all appropriate permits before you start breaking ground.
Bright and colourful basement
Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin reimagines her dim and dysfunctional basement games room as a bright multi-purpose space with Scandi flair.
Dark. Dated. Dungeon-like.
Just a few of the adjectives that come to mind when looking at the shocking “before” photo of Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin’s now-admirable Toronto basement. Low ceilings and black-stained hardwood flooring made the 600-square-foot space feel oppressive – and the hefty pool table, oversized oil paintings and orange-painted millwork didn’t help. “It screamed ’80s pool hall, but worse yet, it was pretty much unusable,” she says. “It needed a total overhaul.”
To the untrained eye, making something of the narrow, windowless space would have seemed like a wasted effort. But as the proud owner of a century home, Erin is no reno rookie and had a clear vision of an airy, functional family room.
Erin's basement before its bright and inviting renovation.
At the far end of the family room, blend-into-the-wall white storage cabinets offer function without adding visual weight for a bright, airy space. Classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s grace the TV screen on frequent family movie nights.
An existing large alcove was the natural choice for the dining nook. Grey paint defines it and balances out the stone-clad fireplace across the room.
The next big thing to windows that open to the outside? A pair of radiant nature photographs paired with newly installed pot lights. The wall treatment of white-painted wood boards lends the room a Scandi-chic vibe.
To sustain the airness of the space, Erin chose a palette of soft greys and taupes with mauve accents.
Erin opted for a touch-latch mechanism in place of door pulls on the high-gloss flat-panelled storage unit (made from prefab IKEA cabinetry) for a totally streamlined look.
A light push in the right spot on the white storage units reveals the family’s extended collection of classic flicks and literature.
Seating options abound in the new family-friendly space. Even Cloudy, homeowner Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin’s Siamese cat, gets a stylish perch of his very own in an unused corner. The inconspicuous wall-hung radiator was a practical addition in the circa-1920s room.
One resourceful designer creates a cozy space for her family.
One resourceful designer creates a cozy space for her family.Credits: Ashley Capp
A resourceful designer with a knack for all things DIY creates a cozy and contemporary space for her family of four.
For the design inclined, recognizing beautiful pieces is easy enough, but the real decorating challenge comes from knowing how to fit all the elements together in a harmonious way. Designer Sarah Walker has this down to a science. Last year, the reno expert transformed her Oakville, Ont., home’s uninspiring family room into a sophisticated space boasting symmetry and style. “I wanted a modern yet classic room that balances the masculine and feminine qualities of our family,” she says, referring to her husband, Graham, and two boys (Noah, 13, and Tate, 2). Having already installed the hardwood flooring and built-in wall unit with her husband five years prior, Sarah’s next order of business was the furniture layout. “I always pictured this space having a pair of sofas facing each other,” says the designer. “I love the conversational quality the set-up brings to a room.”
So she traded in her existing brown sectional for two handsome black velvet sofas and added a geometric-print rug to further delineate the sitting area. This design choice drew her toward a timeless marble herringbone tile treatment for the fireplace, which echoes the graphic quality of the rug but on a smaller scale (with budget top of mind, Sarah and Graham even installed the tile themselves). Other subtle additions to the fireplace like the contrasting white mantel and the curved screen enhance the unit’s bold and beautiful aesthetic. Next up was deciding what to make of an empty alcove set in the wall opposite the fireplace. In an act of creative daring, the deft DIYer transformed the space into a stylish office nook. Sarah began by making an elegant-meets-edgy pin board out of embossed reptile-patterned velvet fabric and then punctuated the look with antiqued brass nails before adding a floating desk and shelf. “The pin board blends in well with the room’s ikat wallpaper but still makes a visual statement that anchors the work area,” she says. After mastering the layout, the designer reinforced the room’s romantic and rustic feel with tasteful details like luxurious sheepskin pieces and natural wooden elements, ensuring each family member feels equally at home. “We spend just as much time here as we did before,” says Sarah, “but now we enjoy it 10 times as much.” That’s all the evidence we need that this master curator has done it again.
Since this family of four has a penchant for the outdoors, the designer incorporated nature-inspired finds, such as the large print depicting a foggy forest hanging above the fireplace. “The image reminds me of being in the woods and escaping the everyday,” says Sarah. She had the piece stretched onto canvas and then resined to deliver more of an ethereal effect.
Sarah and her husband upgraded their fireplace with a striking custom herringbone tile treatment.
The custom white oak coffee table lends an organic vibe to the family room and calls attention to the tall stack of logs tucked into the wall unit. “With a wood-burning fireplace, you want the logs to be close by so you’re not dragging bark everywhere,” says designer and homeowner Sarah Walker. “The display also has visual impact and adds warmth.”
For Sarah, a beautifully styled bookshelf relies on meaning just as much as placement and scale. “It’s important to tell your story through your space,” she says, referring to objects she added that were collected over time, from a sea urchin found in a quirky San Francisco shop to a sepia sketch purchased on the streets of Paris during her first trip there with her husband.
Playing with contrasting shapes, Sarah created a chic coffee table vignette using curved accents, including a vintage silver tray and a faceted black vase, to temper the sharp edges of the surface. “Bringing in round, soft elements is really important when you’re working with a room that has a lot of hard geometry,” says the designer.
Fashioning an inspiring and orderly work area came easily to Sarah thanks in part to location. “When a communal workspace is integrated into a kitchen, it winds up becoming a clutter collector,” she says. “But in the family room, it’s a bit more removed from that initial drop of mail and keys.”