How-to-guide on avoiding a decorating disaster

Decorating your home can seem like such a daunting task, in fact many tend to put off decorating altogether or worse yet, approach decorating with no plan and tend to  “impulse buy” resulting in a disjointed feel and the design style is commonly referred to as “eclectic”. So how do you put together a room when you really have no idea on where to start?

Pick the “overall feeling” of the room. Do you want a brave statement with dramatic colours or are you looking to have a room that is serene. What I like to do with new clients is to have them scour the home decorating magazines and cut out pictures of “dream rooms” that they love. Cut out the pictures and build your own inspiration board, then examine the board and find the common thread – could be colour, furniture style, accent pieces etc. Try to “keep it real” – although you may have an appreciation for lofts with stark modernism, but the truth is you have eight children and live in a traditional home, it will likely not work out very well.

Pick your colour story, but please – no themes!

The reason cow prints and duck themes took on a revolution was that it was easy to understand and put together. You never second guessed yourself on whether the black and white cow salt and pepper shakers matched the black and white cow drapes. In other words, it was the “idiots guide to decorating”. The problem though is that you ended up with a “cartoon like” home filled with livestock and foul, not likely the effect you dreamed of.

The next step in decorating is picking your soft finishing’s. First go to your local fabric store and choose samples that you love. If the idea of searching through countless bolts of fabric terrifies you, don’t panic – instead find one fabric that you love and ask for assistance in developing a story.  Bring with you any fabrics i.e.; sofa cushions, drapery etc. that are going to stay in the room, this will steer you in the right direction as far as appropriate colours and textures goes. Look for fabrics that will perform well as throw cushions, seat covers etc.

Who ever said picking the right paint colour was hard?

Once you identified your fabric selection, picking your paint colour is a breeze. Simply identify whether you want contrast or something that blends together– if you are looking for a contrast in colour for your walls – refer to the colour wheel and pick a shade opposite of the fabric colour that you have. If you’re looking at developing a monochromatic room, then simply match a paint colour to the chosen fabric using tones similar, darker or lighter then the fabric.

Once you have your fabrics and paint colours chosen, keep them close at hand by stapling all the swatches and inspiration pictures to a piece of paper and keep in your bag or car. This will provide you with a quick reference guide whenever you are shopping and will ultimately save you time from countless return trips to stores.


Glenn Dixon has been a leading Interior Design name since 1999. Specializing in residential, retail and commercial design, Glenn has garnered much acclaim through media in print, radio and television. With a design philosophy of “approachable luxury”, his vision incorporates timeless pieces with contemporary design, resulting in an inviting and aspirational environment. Instagram: Glenndixon50

How to add life to your home and get ready for spring

Now that spring is in sight, we are now looking to refresh and revitalize our homes without having to spend too much money. Here are some tips to get you ready to welcome the spring and to lift your spirits!

1.     Paint

It’s been said several times, but the most important and effective way to revitalize your house on the cheap and make it appear model home condition is with paint!  Consider a new palette for the home if it’s been 6 or more years since the last paint job or if there is damage to the walls with cracks, scuffs or dents. Colours and trends have changed somewhat and the wear and tear is surely showing! A newly painted home or even just a room will add vigor to any space. Not ready to paint the walls, a great way to enhance your old painted walls is to buy a can of white paint and quickly coat the baseboards, trims and casings throughout the home, doesn’t take too much effort, but will magically erase the chips and dents!

2.     Flooring

New carpeting can be a costly investment, so if it’s simply dirty, go to your local supermarket and rent a steam cleaner to revive it. Make sure to test an area in a discreet place for colour fastness first. Then clean all of the carpets throughout the home. This will not only present a cleaner impression, but will also freshen up the home of unsightly odors. If the carpeting is in bad condition, visit your local carpet store and check out the “ends or clearance” section for carpeting that has been reduced in price. Even an inexpensive neutral carpet is better then a badly worn carpet any day!

3.     Faceplates, grills, fans etc.

One of the simplest ways to refresh your home is to either clean or replace your light switch faceplates, air return grills, heating duct grills and bathroom ceiling fan fixtures.

Remove all of the above and clean thoroughly using simple soap and water. If they are not in good repair or they don’t shine once done, time to head to the hardware store and purchase new. This does (believe it or not) make a subtle, but very effective difference.

4.     Hardware

A relatively inexpensive way to add updates to your home is through hardware on your internal doors, kitchen and bathroom cupboards. If your home has worn out or ghastly hardware on the doors, you can purchase and install new door hardware for a relative low cost that will update your doors and make the house and doors feel newer. For kitchen cupboards and bathroom vanities, nothing adds sparkle and is considered the jewelry of these rooms more then new hardware. Make sure to select hardware that enhances the cupboards, fixtures and appliances in the room.

5.     Faucets

Nothing dates a home faster then kitchen and bathroom faucets that look like they went out of style with oversized shoulder pads!!

Go to your local hardware store and purchase new faucets, they are available in many finishes and designs at a variety of price points. The trick here is to purchase a reasonable quality, well designed faucet that will sparkle and add a new and improved look to your rooms and counters. Consult a plumber or speak to your local hardware store for advice on installing them. It’s much easier then you think to do it yourself!

6.     Cleaning

The most inexpensive way to refresh your home and get ready for spring is through hard work – that is – cleaning. Nothing welcomes spring more then a home that is sparkling clean and free of dust, dirt and cobwebs! Edit and clean every cupboard in the kitchen and bathrooms, polish floors, wipe baseboards, casings, doors and every square inch of your home. Leave no stone unturned.  Once finished, do the white glove test and “forbid” any family member to dirty it once it’s done.


Glenn Dixon has been a leading Interior Design name since 1999. Specializing in residential, retail and commercial design, Glenn has garnered much acclaim through media in print, radio and television. With a design philosophy of “approachable luxury”, his vision incorporates timeless pieces with contemporary design, resulting in an inviting and aspirational environment. Instagram: @Glenndixon50

How to Determine if You Need an Interior Designer

Interior design can transform a simple space into something extraordinary. It can convey a mood, inspire creativity or promote relaxation. Though we may think our design skills are on point, it’s unlikely we’re going to be as good as the professionals. Interior Designers can take our ideas and elevate them, beyond what we thought was possible. If you’re in the position where you’re trying to decide if hiring an Interior Designer is right for you, we have some tips to help you determine if it’s the right way to go.

You Have Specific Design Ideas

Say you’ve been reading Home & Garden for ten years all the while building your dream kitchen in your mind. You’re certain you want a vaulted ceiling featuring a large Palladian window, with bright colours and modern furniture. These are specific design ideas that may be difficult to put together in a way that makes sense, if you don’t have specific training to do so. This is where an Interior Designer can help take your specific ideas and build them in a way you’ll love and that works perfectly for you home.

You Want To Use Specific Materials

In more recent years specific materials, especially more sustainable ones, have become the top of many people’s minds when building or renovating their homes. Material like bamboo, recycled steel, precast concrete and wood are in higher demand and harder to get a hold of. Beautiful additions like quartz countertops or granite composite sinks can add up and become quite costly. Interior Designers are the perfect partner when you want specific materials as they’re the ones with the connections. Since this is their livelihood, Interior Designers will have relationships with many vendors and can likely assist you in finding great deals on all the materials you’d like or even suggest ones that would work better for your lifestyle and home.

You’re Limited On Time

Hiring an Interior Designer will in all likelihood save you a lot of time if you’re looking to complete a project ASAP. Most interior designers will be not only supporting you but executing and managing your project for you, freeing up more of your time. If you’re pushing for a specific completion date or have a busy life, an Interior Designer just makes sense.

Consistency and Aesthetics Are Important

Let’s not forget the design part of Interior Design. It’s all about consistent looks, the right materials, colours and finishing touches. Ensuring the brushed copper handles in your kitchen match the brushed copper in your powder room or that the blue you picked for the kitchen cupboards are reflected in the rug in your living room. Design is about consistency and if this is something that you strive for, it’s definitely worth hiring someone who can help you get there.

Hiring an interior designer is not something you should do lightly. It takes time and research to find out the best fit for you and is a bit of an investment in the long run. Find someone who designs in the styles you enjoy; don’t pick a designer who does bright floral wallpapers if you’re going for a more Scandinavian feel. List out what you’re looking for, your dreams and desires for your space and sit back and enjoy the process.


Since 1954, Tasco Appliances has been committed to providing expert service and high-quality, innovative appliances. The Tasco Pros are serious about appliances and are committed to understanding the evolving needs of their customers. They are your appliance professional for life.

The Number One Tip for Enjoying Your Home in the 21st Century

While processes like decluttering and downsizing have adopted a prominent role in home decor and design in recent years, what we’d like to see catch on is a passion for energy efficiency. Nothing will contribute to the overall health of your home environment more than paying attention to your home’s energy footprint. While it will undoubtedly feel good to clear out years of paperwork and collectibles, the detritus of modern living, nothing about this process will help with a home that is an energy hog and costly to run.

At EkoBuilt, we regularly receive requests from readers on how to transform an existing home into a passive home, as the interest in making a home healthy, sustainable and deeply affordable to run gains interest. Not everyone needs, wants or can afford a brand new home, so the question becomes, how to make the best of an older home? This is where the PassiveHouse standard comes in.

Building to PassiveHouse standard makes the home environment healthy for its occupants, but it also makes the world a much healthier place as our dependency on petroleum-based fuels as heating and cooling sources is removed. Additionally, a passive house is much cheaper to run. You can think of a passive house as the domestic equivalent of an electric vehicle.

There are three essential design features in a passive home that can be applied to existing homes: air-tightness, thermal envelope, and proper windows. To achieve the PassiveHouse standard in the most cost-effective manner, the approach will obviously vary depending on the home in question, but some general rules apply:

For the walls: Airtight/vapor tight permeable layers and extra insulation will need to be installed. This will mean that either the interior or exterior finish will need to be removed (the choice will usually depend on which is most cost-effective). Certified windows and doors will also be sourced.

For the roof: If the home has an attic space (most do), extra insulation will be added to that space with an airtight/vapor tight permeable membrane installed on the ceiling side. If there is no attic, then an extra thermal later will have to be installed on the interior. If the ceiling is cathedral in design, it should be simple to build the ceiling down to the required R value. If the ceiling is flat and losing height is an issue, than a vacuum panel will be used to provide a thermal barrier with minimal loss in ceiling height.

For the slab/floor:  If a basement is unavailable/unusable, then a thermal layer will be added to the existing floor cavity. If a basement is present and usable, a vacuum panel will be used to provide the thermal barrier with minimal loss in height.

Before you consider that zen kitchen makeover that you’ve been convinced you need, have a look at your home’s energy efficiency. Transforming your older home into a supremely efficient, healthy and comfortable space may be the best decision just waiting to be made.


Established since 2004, EkoBuilt specializes in energy and environmentally-conscious custom home building. We have solutions for the homeowner seeking a high quality, all-in-one-shell that can be assembled on a budget, as well as end-to-end custom service for the homeowner looking to realize their dream home or passive house. Our proven low energy home design techniques will protect your dreams – today and tomorrow.

Paul Kealey B.Sc. SBA

Incorporate Pantone’s Colour of the Year Throughout Your Home With These Tips

A perfect choice as we transition into the 2020s, this blue is timeless, rich, and a much-anticipated follow up to the pastel scene. Unlike last year’s colour of the year, “Living Coral”—which can appear perpetually sunny and optimistic—Pantone’s “Classic Blue” offers grace, depth, and introspection.

In 2000, the colour of the morning sky, “Cerulean”, was chosen as Pantone’s colour of the year. “Classic Blue” is the colour of the evening and a nod to the last two decades. At this year’s GTA Home and Reno Show, now being referred to as The Home Show: Home Improvement edition, there will be a variety of design ideas, tips and tricks for incorporating this colour into your surroundings. Perfect for a whole range of decor, be it an accent wall or decal on a tea cup, “Classic Blue” is sure to find it’s way into your home.


Blue and white pottery is making a comeback, but was it ever not on our radar? Hit up your local thrift store for mismatched porcelain or ask your grandma if she has any laying around. Plates, although practical, work as excellent stand alone pieces when hung on walls or centred on coffee tables and bowls can multi-task as key holders.

Accent Wall

Have you ever had the urge to paint your bedroom a different colour? Now is your chance. Similar to black or neutrals, “Classic Blue” is an incredibly versatile colour and not only pairs well with just about any colour, it also fits in well with just about any period or style. Paint away!

Wooden Furniture

Have some old wooden furniture hanging around? Found a ratty Windsor chair on Huron Street that you don’t know what to do with? A paint job might just be the revamp you’ve been waiting for. Ranging from modern to kitschy, playful to solemn, a “Classic Blue” paint job might just be the perfect addition to your living room.

Something soft! A pillow! Your sofa!

This plush, jewel-toned colour is best celebrated on soft materials where its full depth and many shades can be admired from different angles. We suggest a soft material, such as suede, in order to really get the most of Classic Blue’s depth and complexity.

Paired with last year’s colour of the year!

Is there a better way to step into the 20s? “Living Coral” is the perfect accent to this year’s colour of the year. Cheerful, young, and naive—coral beautifully contrasts 2020’s full-bodied exhale.


Since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute has declared a particular color “Color of the Year”. Twice a year the company hosts, in a European capital, a secret meeting of representatives from various nations’ color standards groups. After two days of presentations and debate, they choose a color for the following year.

You’re Basic… but that doesn’t mean your Condo has to be

Toronto is an oversaturated marketplace of bland, poorly executed, condo units; some with incredible views, and some with views of other condo buildings and maybe a ‘weird naked guy’ or two. With the cost of housing in this city, it makes sense to invest in someplace, almost anyplace, to build equity and eventually make a profit.

As the age-old saying goes, “You have to spend money to make money.” And what many people don’t account for are the ‘nesting’ expenses after the closing. I’ve seen it time and time again, friends are ‘house poor’ and fill their spaces with unnecessary amounts of disposable IKEA furniture. Not only is this not environmentally friendly, it’s basic AF. With the amount of money spent on those cheap polyester area rugs, you could have purchased a collector’s item to pass down through generations. Your home is your sanctuary, your safe place and should reflect your personality. Here are my tips to separate your space from your neighbours:

Canis Chair by Chance Shermet, Industrial Design Student at OCAD, Class of 2021

Buy Local:  In the heart of the city on McCaul street we have a hub of young, talented, artistic minds. OCAD University students are cranking out works of art for grades and recognition. They are using their student loans to rent out gallery spaces and trade show booths to showcase their pieces and grow their resume. Sadly, the majority of these fine pieces, go right back home with the artist who rarely appreciate them. They may not always have price tags, but these babies are for sale! You will go home will a one-of-a-kind piece and a warm fuzzy feeling that your purchase was probably the first sale that kid has made in his young career.
Left: Canis Chair by Chance Shermet, Industrial Design Student at OCAD, Class of 2021

The slab that chose me. Ceppo Honed Marble from CIOT

Go Natural:  That white quartz countertop with a glossy speckled sheen on every condo Kitchen and Bathroom
countertop in the city is over. Why is it everywhere? Because it’s inexpensive, manmade, durable, and has zero personality. My favourite part of a project is going to the slab yard with my client and letting the slab choose them. I say that because when they see it, it evokes emotion and they know right then and there, it is for them.
Right: The slab that chose me. Ceppo Honed Marble from CIOT

Mosaique Surfaces (Montreal) at Surfaces & Co., 133 Miranda Avenue.

Be Bold:  Sometimes replacing a countertop is too much of a commitment. You want to stay neutral and let the
accents do the talking. An inexpensive, but easy change is your backsplash. This is a small area of interest that can pack a big punch, and most condos only require 10-20 square feet of material. So if you are dying to put that natural stone somewhere, this is a great place to start!
Left: Mosaique Surfaces (Montreal) at Surfaces & Co., 133 Miranda Avenue.

The Rug Company studio at Avenue Road, 415 Eastern Avenue.

Invest, Invest, Invest:  Did you know that a well made, properly maintained area rug can last 300 years?! The
craftsmanship that goes into each handmade rug are ancient techniques perfected and passed down through
generations. There are endless colours and fibres to choose from and it is easier than ever to design your own.
This can be a very costly item, if not the most you may ever spend on a single piece, but when you are 80 and
still feeling those fibres between your toes, will you really remember the expense? To know that your money is
being put to the betterment of humanity, look for the GoodWeave label. It assures that no child labour was used
in the making of your rug in India and Nepal.
Above: The Rug Company studio at Avenue Road, 415 Eastern Avenue.


Michelle Lise Lamontagne is the Owner of Mi LaMont and Principal Design at Neven Custom Homes. She has
been in the industry for 13 years specializing in Residential and Hospitality Interior Design.

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Supplement posts produced by the Home Editor team present industry leaders' commentary on Home Improvement, Renovation and Outdoor Living.