Home for the holidays
One morning, after her husband had gone off to work, the owner of this Toronto home pulled out the paint and rolled pale grey-lavender colour onto the walls, saying goodbye to her formerly dove-grey living room. What was the reaction when her hubby came home? "He accused me of painting the house pink! But he loves it now. How could he not? The living room is so warm and inviting."
When they first bought the house two years ago, the couple and their two daughters were charmed by the quiet, subdued feel of the home. All the walls were various soft greys, and their furniture was masculine and restrained. But after living with it for a year, they agreed it was too sedate for their taste. So, little by little, they added colour and pattern throughout. The dining room is a deep purple. "My friend's living room was that colour, and she had some paint left over, so I took it home. If I didn't like it, the most it would have cost me was only a gallon of paint and half a day's work!
"The master bedroom is on its third (and final) colour. I wanted something really soothing-I tried calm blue and creamy whites," says the homeowner, "but in the end, chalky white walls were the perfect complement to the cream-upholstered bed and the watery-blue accents.
"For Christmas, all I need to do is add a tree and display lots of ornaments. It's a breeze to set up."
There's something to be learned from this fearless attitude toward decorating. While most of the furnishings are classic and neutral, the walls and easy-to-change accents are where the fun's really at. And isn't fun what decorating should be about?
Tip : Mix up your pillows. A black velvet sofa is the perfect background for a bunch of mismatched throw cushions. Silk, faux fur and velvet in assorted shapes and sizes work beautifully together.
Get this look: Paint, Gown, Para. Christmas tree, Sheridan Nurseries. Custom sofa, Angel Interiors & Custom Upholstery, 416-537-9169. Throw pillows, Home Sense. Ornaments, Superior Studio. Rug, Elte.
Dress the banisterAn evergreen garland is a quick and easy way to decorate a stairway. Add ornaments to jazz it up or leave it plain for a more modern look.
Get this look: Garland, Superior Studio. Chair, Elte.
Fill bowls with pretty baublesMonochromatic ornaments (here in various shades of purple) are both simple and cheerful, especially when placed on a mantel dressed with white vases.
Get this look: Ornaments, Superior Studio.
Create a gallery-worthy family-photo wallNarrow shelves line the back wall of the living room. Old family photos are blown up and displayed in matching white frames. It's like a photo family tree.
Get this look: Similar shelves, West Elm. Frames, Ikea. Custom chairs, Silva. Fabric (on ottoman), Designer Fabrics Online.
Forget modern or traditional. Have it all!Classic gold-and-yellow china is right at home on a pared-down white terrazzo table. A simple fuchsia runner and glittery birds complement the eclectic decor.
Get this look: Glasses, candlesticks, china, William Ashley. Glittery birds, Home Sense.
Roll out a graphic rug
Pair a traditional block-print fabric (on the drapes) with a geometric Greek-key-inspired pattern for an on-trend look.
Don't think 'kid' in a child's bedroom
The antique Austrian bed was inherited from a family member. It's ideal for five-year-old Charlotte, especially with playful bedding and furniture. It's almost exactly like a princess bed.
Apply tone on tone (on tone)
A sure way to design a beautiful bedroom is to stay within one colour but vary its intensity. Pale lavender on the walls is picked up on the headboard and rug and in the accessories.
Keep bigger items neutral
Most of the furnishings in the room are simple and serene-the bed, drapes, settee and bedding are all cream and whites. Only the rug (bought at a clearance sale) and the accent pillows at colour.
More from Chatelaine:
- How to get modern home decor
- Christmas decorating ideas to try this season
- Five-minute Christmas decorations for every room!
- Five tips for planning the perfect holiday party
- Six splurges that will make your life a lot easier
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