Ask A Designer: How To Turn Your Bedroom Into A Nature-Inspired Retreat


In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her easy and affordable tips for creating a relaxing respite.

Question: We’re looking to decorate our bedroom with a nature theme. What do you think of a leaf- or birch tree–print wallpaper, and what colors would you recommend?  Gen, Toronto

Answer: Wallpaper is a fantastic way to add interest in a room and address large expanses of wall. Take inspiration from this beautiful bedroom designed by Jennifer Morrison of Morrison Design House.

Here’s what I suggest to get a similar look:

Paper all the walls for an enveloping, cohesive feel. This forest-print paper by Lewis & Wood has a depth that will make your room feel more expansive, and the soothing gray and blue tones won’t overwhelm. (Wallpapering behind the bed will also help camouflage the small off-center window.)

(Source: Bosky Wallpaper in Blue Yonder, approx. $156/yd. (approx. $11.80/sq.ft.), available through Kravet Canada or lewisandwood.co.uk)

(Source: Albero Duck Egg Wallpaper, approx. $198/roll (approx. $3.50/sq.ft.), grahambrown.com)

Get a louvered shutter for the small window, and paint it the background color of your wallpaper (like Benjamin Moore’s Serenata) so it blends in to the wall. Dress up the large window with drapery that has an embroidered medallion motif. The small-scale pattern will work perfectly with tree-themed wall coverings.

(Source: Aubrey Blue Embroidered Curtain Panel, starting at $170, crateandbarrel.ca)

Paint your ceiling and crown molding a pale blue pulled from the wallpaper and choose a bedding set in a similar tone.

(Source: Linen Duvet Covers in Mist, $330, flaxsleep.com)

Add a couple of shams in a small-scale pattern…

(Source: Kiska Textiles Pillow Case in Filigree Sky/Indigo, $85, shophouseandhome.com)

…and layer on a cozy throw.

(Source: Nao Throw in Soft Grey, $30, shophouseandhome.com)

Update your nightstands with brighter, wood-toned versions. The legs will lift the furniture off the floor and make the space feel airier.

(Source: Kabbann Acacia Wood Bedside Table, $229, structube.com)

Add textured, white ceramic lamps on the nightstands that play on a leaf pattern.

(Source: Textured Ceramic Table Lamp, $80, bouclair.com)

Swap out your flush-mount light fixture (not visible) for a rattan pendant to bring in even more warmth.

(Source: Teresa Pendant Light, $102, vdevmaison.com)

With these updates, you’ll have a serene bedroom retreat that’s perfect for relaxing in and catching some zzz’s.

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to askadesigner@hhmedia.com.



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Ask A Designer: How To Turn Up The Color In Your Home


In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her tips for refreshing your space while you’re staying in.

Many of you have written to us, asking how to bring color and cheer to your home while we’re all in them so much! Here are a few ideas using things you may already have on hand or are simple to get.

Style It

Drape a colorful scarf or throw over your headboard for an instant hit of color.

Make It

Create a decorative throw pillow cover from leftover project fabric, a scarf or an old but treasured piece of clothing. If you only have enough fabric for one side, use a plain fabric or an old tablecloth as the backing fabric. No sewing machine, no problem: hand stitching is fine for this small project.

Paint It

Paint can be one of the most affordable ways to transform your furniture or cabinets. You may have leftover paint from a previous project or be able to easily order it online. For minimal effort with maximum impact, paint the inside of a glass-fronted or open cabinet. Pick a bold hue for a pop of happy color, or opt for a subtle pastel for a quieter look.

Tip: Contrast mouldings are a fun way to bring color into a space. Because its sometimes difficult to figure out where to start and stop, go for a quick hit and just do the trim around a key window.

Author: Jennifer Koper

Photographer:

Alex Lukey (bedroom, cabinets); Donna Griffith (living room); Angus Fergusson (bathroom)

Source:

House & Home June 2020

Designer:

Cameron MacNeil (bedroom); Christine Ralphs & Michelle Lloyd (living room); James Davie (bathroom); Katherine Newman (cabinets)



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Ask A Designer: How To Make The Most Of A Compact Family Room



In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her tips for designing a functional gathering place.

Jennifer KoperQuestion: How do I lay out my narrow family room? Should I do built-ins on either side of the fireplace? I’ve already ordered a sofa and I’m looking for a coffee table — what else do I need to make the space great?  S.S., Toronto

Answer:  Since your family room is adjacent to the kitchen with its eating counter, and you have a separate dining room, I suggest you ditch your small round table and chairs. Then you’ll have room for a conversation area that includes two new armchairs in a fabric that complements your new sofa. They’ll look great placed side by side to the left of the fireplace, like in this sophisticated room designed by Workstead (below).

Thanks for sharing your choice of sofa (below); I love how sleek and modern it is.

(Source: Rye Channel Sofa, $2,015, eltemkt.com)

Opt for a round or square coffee table (instead of a rectangle) for the best fit.

(Source: Plateau Coffee Table, $1,169, urbanmode.com)

I recommend adding a larger rug that runs the length of the room. It should be big enough that the sofa and armchairs sit on it, but not so big that it interferes with the counter stools.

(Source: Serac Rug in Natural, Blue and Rust, starting at $314, westelm.com)

(Source: Arcade Ollie Chair in Camry Orange by Arren Williams, $1,099, thebay.com)

To keep the look airy, I would forgo built-ins. Instead, replace your current mirrored chest with a larger, more robust piece and move it over to the left side of the fireplace, and place a generously sized potted plant on the right side.

(Source: East Hampton Hall Chest in Cerused Linen, price available upon request, bernhardt.com)

For color and personality, lean a couple of pieces of art on the chest (they should stop short of the window above) and, to soften the look of the windows flanking the fireplace, consider having slouchy roman blinds made in natural linen.

(Source: Deia Linen in Sand by Alexa Hampton, price available upon request, kravet.com)

Enjoy your new family room!

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to askadesigner@hhmedia.com.

The post <span class="title_highlight">Ask A Designer:</span> How To Make The Most Of A Compact Family Room appeared first on House & Home.



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House & Home


In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her ideas for making an awkward living-dining room more polished.

Jennifer KoperQuestion: The angled wall in my living room has me stumped, and I’m not sure what to put on my bare walls. Could you help me with furniture and lighting? T.M., Dawson Creek, B.C.

ask a designer awkward living-dining-room

Answer: You’re on the right track with your deep wall color, but the bare walls make the room fall a bit flat. A wonderful way to add architectural interest and texture to a space is to invest in built-in bookcases. Consider having shallow, wraparound built-ins made for both long living room walls, as well as the angled wall. Paint the bookcases the same dark hue and fill the shelves with books, art and decorative objets. Be sure to vary the “fullness” of each shelf to avoid a look that’s packed too tight. Treating all three walls the same way will also help disguise the awkward angle.

ask a designer living-dining room

Next, update your sofa with a contemporary charcoal-colored version with subtle texture. The tone-on-tone effect of the sofa, walls and bookcases will create a snug, cocooned feeling. Consider choosing a sofa that’s slightly less deep than your current one to gain back some of the space that will be taken up by the new bookcases.

ask a designer sofa

(Source: Kimberly Sofa in Midnight by Distinctly Home, $1,599, thebay.com)

I recommend swapping out your love seat for two luxurious club chairs in a channelled black leather.

ask a designer chair

(Source: Schuler Club Chair, $999, shelterfurniture.ca)

Then, add a smoked glass coffee table for a modern touch; the glass, although tinted, will make the table feel lighter.

ask a designer coffee table

(Source: Verre Square Coffee Table in Grey, $599, eq3.com)

A round wooden accent table placed between the club chairs and a nubby wool rug underfoot will bring in a touch of warmth.

ask a designer rug side table

(Source: Trill Round Wood Side Table, $499, cb2.ca)

ask a designer rug

(Source: Hand-Woven Chunky Woolen Cable Rug in Off-White by NuLoom, $444, homedepot.ca)

In your adjoining dining area, replace the exposed bulb fixture with a more streamlined shaded version that will cast a softer glow. Its classic style will also temper the more modern pieces in the living area.

ask a designer light fixture

(Source: Piaf 39 Inch 4 Light Chandelier by Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort, $1,467, robinsonlightingcentre.com)

This mix of textures and styles will add plenty of interest to your space and give you a cozy but dynamic room, perfect for relaxing or entertaining.

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to askadesigner@hhmedia.com.



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House & Home


In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her ideas for making a welcoming first impression.

Jennifer KoperQuestion: I’d like to decorate my hand-me-down-filled entryway in a classic look. What would you suggest? Z.S., Vernon, B.C.

Before Photo of a dimly-lit entryway inside a home.

Answer: Start by brightening up the space with a warm white paint. Or, for texture and architectural interest, consider cladding your walls in white shiplap similar to this entry designed by Cloth & Kind (below). Next, remove the drapery from the side windows and apply frosted window film from a hardware store for a cleaner look that retains privacy.

After photo of an entryway inside a home with white shiplap walls and glass paneling around the front door.

For major impact that doesn’t cost the moon, paint your door and the surrounding window frames a soft black — like Benjamin Moore’s Black Beauty (2128 – 10). This will emphasize your tall ceilings and make the space feel grander. Replace your lighting with a pair of elegant sconces in a classic style.

Image of a sconce light

(Source: Vendome Single Sconce in Bronze by Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort, $317, circalighting.com)

Then, swap out your current chest for an inviting bench.

A brown wooden bench

(Source: Churchill Bench in Carob, $699, urbanbarn.com)

Tucking a few baskets below will provide extra storage.

A round basket

(Source: Water Hyacinth Belly Basket in Natural by Distinctly Home, $28, thebay.com)

Above, between the sconces, opt for a round, modern mirror to bounce light and open up the area even more.

A circular mirror

(Source: Bryn Mirror, $385, shophouseandhome.com)

Underfoot, remove the smaller mats in favor of a large patterned rug — and be sure to have a doormat outside for wiping dirty feet!

A patterned rug

(Source: Turkish Sivas Rug in Brown and Cream, $721, ecarpetgallery.com)

Finally, place a petite side table (perfect for keys and mail) either next to the bench or in front of the side window.

A small side table

(Source: Hand-Forged Martini Table in Aged Iron, $580, unionlightingandfurnishings.com)

With these changes, you’ll have a welcoming entry to greet family and friends — and it will look fresh for years to come.

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to askadesigner@hhmedia.com.



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House & Home


In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her ideas for giving a drab fireplace a modern makeover.

Jennifer KoperQuestion: We’re moving into a new home that has a fireplace with decorative niches on one side of the wall. Could you recommend a mantel style and help us furnish the space? — M.B., Kanata, Ontario

ask a designer fireplace before

Answer:  Congratulations on your new place! Instead of adding a mantel, why not try something with serious impact? For a truly modern focal point, tile or paint the fireplace wall black, similar to the Inspiration room designed by Amber Interiors (see below). This will visually unify the television and fireplace and really make a statement.

ask a designer fireplace

Ideally, you could replace your current fireplace with a larger version that would better anchor the room. Make sure that the fireplace and television are installed in the center of the wall, with the television above. I recommend drywalling over the niches to simplify the look. Opt for a paint treatment if you’re not sure you want to commit to tile, but a large, matte black, flat-edged subway tile with black grout would look very polished.

(Source: 4″ by 12″ Soho Black Matte Tile by Cinca, price available upon request, ciot.com)

Next, cozy up the space with a large leather sectional so that the wall adjacent to the fireplace isn’t left empty — and you’ll also get plenty of lounge space.

timber corner sectional through Article

(Source: Timber Corner Sectional in Charme Tan, $4,399, article.com)

To add depth and color, layer in modern and traditional rugs.

stockholm rug by Anna Sörensson through Ikea

(Source: Stockholm Rug by Anna Sörensson, $249, ikea.com)

hand-knotted touserkan rug through Shop House & Home

(Source: Hand-Knotted Touserkan Rug, $1,603, shophouseandhome.com)

For a textural accent, opt for a round rattan coffee table that can do double duty as an ottoman.

(Source: Somerset Cocktail Table in Neutral, price available upon request, cocoonfurnishings.ca)

Finally, set an open-framed accent chair just left of the fireplace.

chiara lounge chair in leather through EQ3

(Source: Chiara Lounge Chair in Leather, $1,149, eq3.com)

With these steps, you can enjoy an inviting and modern living space, perfectly set up for entertaining.

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to askadesigner@hhmedia.com.



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Ask A Designer: How To Wake Up A Tired Dining Room



ask a designer dining room

In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her ideas for refreshing a dining room without changing the furniture.

Jennifer KoperQuestion: I’d like to pull my dining room together and give it some style, but I want to keep my furniture. Where do I start? — B.B., Montreal

ask a designer dining room before

Answer: The good news is that you can definitely make this room feel fresh and beautiful while keeping your existing dining set. Take inspiration from the lovely room designed by M+M Interior Design (below) — the hand-painted mural is the perfect backdrop for classic furniture.

ask a designer dining room after

Add a similar energy to your space by installing romantic wallpaper with a botanical motif. Then, paint the ceiling a watery blue — like Behr’s Flowing Breeze (N480 – 2) — to pick up on the tones in the wallpaper and give the room another subtle hit of color.

ask a designer dining room wallpaper

(Source: Peony Tree wallpaper in Aqua by Sarah Richardson Design, approx. $234.91 per roll, brewsterwallcovering.com)

Next, remove the vase of branches and chairs flanking the sideboard to give your table and chairs some breathing room. If you have a match for the white upholstered chair, consider using them at the ends of your table. Otherwise, invest in two new upholstered end chairs to break up the set and add an element of softness.

ask a designer dining room linen chair

(Source: Slipcovered Host Chair, price available upon request, leeindustries.com)

Update your lighting by installing a pair of classic brass lantern sconces and add sparkle by replacing your ceiling fixture with a traditional chandelier.

ask a designer dining room lantern

(Source: Camden lantern sconce in Natural Brass by Regina Andrew Lighting, $496, primalighting.ca)

ask a designer dining room chandelier

(Source: The Valentina chandelier by Feiss, $1,187, livinglightingottawa.ca)

Then, switch out your art above the sideboard for a tall mirror that will bounce light around and add brightness to the space.

ask a designer dining room mirror

(Source: Dauphine mirror in Antique Silver Leaf, price available upon request, cocoonfurnishings.ca

Finally, bring in texture and coziness with a basketweave-style sisal rug. Make sure it’s large enough so that the chairs fit onto it when they’re pulled out. A great way to get a custom-size rug is to start with your preferred dimensions of broadloom and have a band added around the edge.

ask a designer dining room basketweave rug

(Source: Basketweave rug in Pewter, price available upon request, available through Signature by Shelley Alexanian)

With these changes, your dining room will feel refreshed and polished.

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to askadesigner@hhmedia.com.

The post <span class="title_highlight">Ask A Designer:</span> How To Wake Up A Tired Dining Room appeared first on House & Home.



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