Click to download: Green Rooms
A wooden dresser transforms into an ultra-stylish statement piece.
Put your DIY skills to the test with these simple and stylish IKEA furniture transformations.
Style at Home's talented design team puts their own unique spin on IKEA's VITTSJÖ nesting-style coffee table with three personality-packed rooms to match.
Discover how all three looks came together and how you can create the same look in your home.
We created a customized office desk for this cozy home office nook.
Using IKEA's ALEX desktop you can create the same look at home.
A simple DIY project dramatically transforms a regular wooden dresser into a luxe piece of furniture on a budget.
Using IKEA's TARVA three-drawer chest get this look at home.
Glam up a plain pendant light with a coat of gold spray paint.
Using IKEA's HEKTAR pendant light get the step-by-step instructions here.
Add some stylish storage to your space with this gorgeous do-it-yourself cabinet featured in our high/low: chic dressing room.
Using IKEA's SEKTION wall cabinet get the step-by-step instructions here.
Create your own free-standing island like the one featured in our Parisian-style kitchen. This budget-friendly accessory can be customized to suit your style while adding an extra prep area to any size space.
Using IKEA's KARPALUND base get the step-by-step instructions here.
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.
We could spend our summer at this charming retreat in Durham, Ontario.
Blogger Lynne Knowlton envisions a grown-up tree house made of reclaimed barnboard.
With the possible exception of having popcorn for dinner, Lynne Knowlton’s favourite thing is a tree house. “It reminds me of being a kid and having a secret hideout that’s all my own,” she says. That nostalgia, combined with falling for a fully furnished tree house a friend had built, inspired Lynne and her husband, Michael, who live in Durham, Ont. “We wanted to create a private paradise on our 100-acre property – a place for us to relax with our kids (Shelby, 25, Tristan, 23, Mackenzie, 18, and Brett, 17) and also rent to guests [through lynneknowlton.com and Airbnb],” says Lynne. That paradise may have remained on their wish list indefinitely if not for a force of nature. “A tornado passed through our town in 2009, and we bought the entire salvage of a barn damaged in the storm. That was the impetus for us to start building.”
The couple designated a small forest 160 feet from their home as the ideal site. “It’s close to our pool, which guests are welcome to use, yet partially hidden in the trees so it’s still private,” says Lynne. To create the retreat, they enlisted their tree house-building friend, Chris Wilkes. He began the year-long project in 2010 and, using the reclaimed barnboards, constructed a whimsical 200-square-foot structure set 10 feet above the ground. Its tiny interior includes a living area and kitchenette as well as a ladder-accessed bedroom loft. There’s also a separate 100-square-foot bathroom cabin or, as Lynne likes to call it, “the latreen.” It was built in 2014 and features full amenities, including a water closet and walk-in shower. The warmth and patina of the salvaged materials in both spaces steered the decor direction. “We decided to keep the natural beauty of the barnboard as the focal point and to accent it with white,” says Lynne. “It feels cozy, comfortable and clean. Most guests admire all the decorative details.”
The thoughtful design extends beyond the interior. “We decorated the area under the tree house as an outdoor dining spot. There’s a hammock and a swing nearby, as well as a hanging chair and comfy seats on the deck for taking in the view,” she says. Wherever guests choose to sit, it is the perfect place to nosh homemade popcorn. “We send an e-book to guests before they arrive. It details directions, what to bring and what’s provided (which includes a popcorn maker). Everyone gets excited and brings their own popcorn fixings!” It’s all about life’s simple pleasures at this rustic retreat among the treetops.
Homeowner Lynne Knowlton says the porch’s hammock chair is one of the tree house’s most popular spots. “It’s a nice place to simply enjoy the surroundings all day long,” she says.
In the kitchenette, details like the live-edge countertops and row of untreated wood cabinets reinforce the treetop setting in an authentic yet decorative way. To maximize storage, the island features open shelves on one side for keeping small appliances within easy reach.
The living area reflects Lynne’s design brief of natural wood paired with white accents. The daybed can sleep two additional guests. Accessories – finds from garage sales and antiques stores – placed directly on the exposed framing give the space a finished feel while maintaining the rustic look.
An avid traveller, Lynne has spent a lot of time in Bali, where she found the banister that borders one side of the bedroom loft. “It’s intricately hand made and was originally used as a gate on a Balinese fence,” she says.
Lynne spends time at the kitchenette’s bar area, which is accessible from inside and out. The countertop is made from reclaimed lumber, and it’s a fun spot to serve drinks and savour the scenery.
The hammock offers shady respite on hot summer days.
Pendant lights, distressed furniture and breezy drapery transform the covered space beneath the tree house into an outdoor dining area. “It’s a great place to eat dinner,” says Lynne, noting that she bought the reclaimed wood table and chairs in Bali. “We also love to play board games here.”
A side view of the tree house reveals a splash of red, visible on the right. “It’s an adult-sized slide attached to the upper deck,” says Lynne. “Tree houses are all about fun, and what’s more fun than a slide?”
Echoing the tree house’s kitchenette, the bathroom cabin features a live-edge countertop. “The detail on this piece is remarkable,” says Lynne. The stone sink is another find from Bali.
In the bathroom cabin, the rustic wood scheme gets a contemporary complement from a metal walk-in shower. “The metal is simply roofing panels,” says Lynne.
Positioned beneath one of the bedroom loft’s windows, the bed sits on a cozy rug – a departure from the exposed barnboard floors downstairs. “Keeping cool summer mornings and evenings in mind, we thought guests would be more comfortable with a rug on the floor,” says Lynne. “I love how it warms up the space and the tootsies!”