Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Furnishing your Nest

I am in a very good mood today. Although I am housebound due to another PEI snowstorm it is allowing me time to post another blog entry.

I'm recently back from the yearly Canadian Home Furnishings Show held in Toronto. I did see plenty of lovely things. The product selection is enormous to say the least and a delight for your eyes and senses. Display after display of lovely furnishings for your home. From carefully crafted solid wood pieces to lighting dripping with crystals to modern sleek furniture to comfy sofas and chairs and pretty accessories.

Does it get overwhelming? Yes, when you are faced with so many choices it can be difficult to stay focused but as mentioned in previous entries a good plan is essential. I had a wish list which included pieces needed to enhance our spring inventory and, as well, to complete current and upcoming design projects. A second set of eyes is also important. Stacy was with me for this trip which was awesome. Having her experience from being at many of these shows in the past was helpful and besides who likes to travel alone?

Shopping for store inventory is not a lot different than completing your home or even shopping for wardrobe pieces. You have to make sure you get the basics first. These are your investment pieces. Once these are purchased you can start mixing other pieces that work well with them. I would guess that this would be why they hold the furniture show first and then follow it up a few weeks later with the gift and accessory show.

Here are a few tips I've come up with to help you when furnishing your homes.

Define your project. It's important to do this so your spaces will come out as you like. The reward will be a more consistent and cohesive look and feel to your home.

Identify your personal style. Know what you like and what is beautiful to you. Consider the function of your lifestyle and keep in mind the overall aesthetic of your home. What might look nice in a 10th floor condominium may not necessarily work in a century home. The best interiors are those which capture a mix of various styles resulting in a look which is far more pleasing to the eye.

Invest in quality over quantity. Don't be tempted to purchase from stores that offer poor quality goods at bargain basement prices. Everybody likes to stay on budget but investing in good pieces pays off in the long run. This may cost you a bit more in the beginning but will repay itself in longer lasting furnishings. The old adage you get what you pay for is so true.

Don't settle. In any well designed space accessories and decorative elements are just as important as furniture. Don't ever buy something that doesn't convince you or you don't love just because it's the right size or you can afford it. If you can't afford to buy the objects you love, it's worthwhile to wait. Temporarily empty walls or rooms are a small price to pay for obtaining the ideal living spaces.

Be colourful. If you love colour inject it in your house through your wall colours, furnishings and accessories. Think about colours that you look good in and that make you happy. Afterall if you look good in them they are bound to be just as great when you surround yourself with them. If you can't commit to colour on your walls go neutral and use it boldly in your accessories.

Get the lighting right. Great spaces need great lighting. In fact, in many projects it's the lighting that makes all the difference. Overhead lighting is harsh. Use a variety of lighting fixtures, table lamps, floor lamps, sconces and pot lights in conjunction with your main lighting source. And don't forget to add dimmers to your overheads this will allow you to control the intensity of light.

Window treatments. They don't call them treatments for nothing. Consider your privacy needs first and then follow through with coverings to meet those needs. Adding drapery is a great way to add interest and depth to your space. Keeping them in a classic style will allow them to look great for years.

Think texture. Nothing makes a room more livable and pulled together than mixing various elements of texture. Use various sheens and fabrics, surface finishes, and natural elements throughout your rooms to add texture.

Go with the flow. Keeping to one colour scheme and using different variations of those colours throughout your home will result in a harmonious and well designed home. Nobody wants their rooms to clash so carefully consider the overall look and feel of your home and stick with it.

Thanks for reading. Happy 2008.

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