Photography, Style at Home.
You’ve got design questions. We’ve got the answers. Designer and Style at Home contributor Karl Lohnes solves your decorating challenges.
Q1: I moved into a small, cute 1920s apartment with very little closet space and no storage locker. I need to create storage for off-season clothing, and for summer planters and accessories from my balcony. Any suggestions? M. Albert, Toronto
S@H: Living in a small space requires planning (and a few storage hacks) to stay organized. These easy DIY fixes will keep your space orderly and reduce clutter for a bigger feel.
Closets: Add white wire shelving one foot above the floor and one foot below the ceiling inside each closet. If you need more space for folded items (rather than hanging ones), use fabric hanging baskets for extra vertical space.
Bedroom: A hydraulic bed can add the equivalent of six dresser drawers of storage under the mattress; alternatively, use bed risers to lift your bed frame and make room for rolling storage bins. Also, consider lining the wall behind the bed with inexpensive 12-inch bookshelves; conceal this secret storage area behind drapery.
Balcony: Stash outdoor cushions, candles and stacked pots in a small lidded outdoor bench or stool. If allowed, install a utility shelf at one end of the balcony and paint it a fun colour. Use it for herbs and display in the summer, and for storage in the winter. If necessary, wrap it with a green tarp to keep items protected from harsh weather.
Kitchen: Fill the space above the upper cabinets with storage bins or boxes. Choose identical clean-lined containers to reduce visual clutter. Also, hang tea towels and utensils on small hooks affixed to the inside of each cabinet door.
Living/Dining: Choose a dining hutch with an upper glass cabinet for display and closed storage on the bottom, where you can stash anything from small appliances to off-season clothes. No one needs to know what’s behind closed doors! And consider a storage trunk where you can keep your entire off-season wardrobe in one place, as well as have space left over for stashing sports equipment, holiday ornaments or outdoor accessories.
Q2: In my living room, I have medium dark blue on the top half of the wall and white on the bottom; a medium-grey sofa and loveseat; white/navy print curtains over white venetian blinds. What colour of wall-to-wall carpeting would coordinate? Also, what accent colours should I introduce? A.B., via email.
S@H: When choosing flooring to blend with two-tone walls, you usually match the lower half of the wall colour to your floors, so I recommend a white or off-white carpet. If white is too impractical, use a neutral colour, like the colour of a natural sisal rug, which is a pale caramel. It will give the room warmth and it coordinates well with other hues. I would then add other natural fibre elements to the room, in straw, wicker or caramel colours – items like natural linen pillows in a soft caramel, a small wicker side table, or even new wicker lampshades to dress up existing lamps. Finally, I think that the blue-and-white room scheme would really pop with the addition of green as an accent colour.
Q3: My “sort of pink” velvet sofa is still in excellent shape – very comfortable – but I would like to modernize [the room]. I’m considering re-covering my two loveseats in off-white, but would another colour be better? I have off-white sheers covering the blinds. I’d like a contemporary feel and suggestions for colours that would look great with the existing sofa. Marcelle M., Calgary.
Re-covering the loveseats would be a great way to update the pink velvet on your sofa. I suggest finding patterned fabric that has an ivory or off-white background. For a more contemporary look, choose an ivory and navy blue geometric print or a similarly graphic pattern. Accent piping is coming back in upholstery, so consider pink piping on the newly covered navy and ivory loveseats to tie everything together and add whimsy. For a more feminine mood, look for a yellow and green floral pattern on an ivory background, then add green and yellow accent pillows to the pink sofa for a very pretty garden theme.
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