Dreaming of a whole new home look, but don't want to start from scratch? Worry not; we can help. Welcome to the world of "seasonal adjustment" and decorative "tweaks." Design, you see, for the most part certainly, works best when assembled upon a "neutral" backbone -- one that can be dialed back or pushed forward as and when required. You'd be hard pushed to comment that a typical C&J project lacks colour, but look closer and observe that our drama, generally speaking, births via accent walls, accessories and artwork. It's this logic that gives a C&J project its flexibility, providing, as it does, a degree of "future proofing" which enables change to happen without major upheaval.
With Spring finally on the cards, now seems the perfect time to look at the little things that effect big change. Our message? Simple: Mood can evolve via artistic punctuation, light shopping and clever accessorizing. Or, in other words, today's epistle will help turn tricks without upsetting your bank manager and, should you be unhappy with the results, your tweaks can be, well, easily re-tweaked. Call us the Messrs. Flexibility; our counsel, carefully heeded, proffers design elasticity like never before. Blimey; we're on a roll. So to speak...
So where to start? Well, companies like Mural Unique have flexible product that's disparate, to say the least. Spanning graphic print, concrete imagery and damask, any option could add style on a temporary or permanent basis. You can even create a bespoke mural by supplying the company with a photo; imagine a digi snap of your kid, enlarged to wall size, or a picture of a favourite view (the vista from the cottage, perhaps?) stretched across your condo to elicit visions of lakeside heaven.
If you'd prefer designer impact via subtler means, peel and apply decals might just prove a great way in which to add colour and pattern. Gone are the days when the only shapes available were stick-on spots and squares. Today's "wall tattoos," to award them their cooler moniker, are available online via companies like Wordans and we particularly like their junior designs, especially appropriate for rooms where inhabitants tend to change their mind about what they like more frequently than Harry Styles changes his girlfriend.
There's actually a bundle of stuff to tweak your look without breaking the bank. We use "The Aquarium Channel" and "The Sunset Channel" (both of which come as part of our Rogers cable package) and these moving pictures add kinetic ambiance while providing a constantly changing backdrop. It's amazing, too, just how much visual change can be achieved with textiles; adorn a plain sofa with a few jaunty toss pillows -- and maybe a Roman blind picked out in the same shade -- and, suddenly, a tailored seasonal aesthetic will confidently emerge.
Other routes? Wander art galleries for inspiration then dash home, jump online and find a piece that "speaks" to you. We often use Art In Motion but, to clip costs even further, head to your local craft store, select a plain canvas and let your imagination run wild; try www.currys.com. And don't think you need to invest in top quality oils; a selection of DIY store tester pots will allow you to plunder your inner artist. But OMG; what if it goes wrong? No worries; a coat of white latex will conceal and the extra texture will proffer additional three dimensionality.
Another interesting way in which to seasonalize is to custom manufacture personalized window blinds. Scan the range at www.coolpictureblinds.com as a useful starting point. In a recent Thames-side residential project, we specified London skyline blinds for windows in an apartment that, while certainly on the river, faced entirely the "wrong" way. A caprice, sure, but our work is all about setting mood and making the best of that which our clients have.
Think, too, about rugs as a way in which to add quick fix colour, texture, and pattern. Try www.selectrugscanada.ca for a fab range of tufted lovelies. Floors are oft' overlooked as a decorative surface, often playing second fiddle to walls, but this shouldn't be the case. Specified carefully, a commanding area carpet will delineate function and create serious wow factor. Try a modern geometric design to jazz up the floor in a neutral room and link to accessories that pick out similar tones. It's not rocket science.
Layered dimension can also come via houseplants. Okay, so the halcyon days of the giant Rubber or the over-scaled Yucca may have passed, but there are loads of cooler genuses which will awaken even the most wilted scheme. Pop a tall olive tree (with ample sunlight and watering these work well indoors) in your kitchen to magic up the spirit of the Mediterranean or try a selection of cacti in a shallow bowl on your Mid Mod' Danish coffee table. Add sphagnum moss (it's a buck a bag in Dollarama) to fill gaps and, hey presto; you'll capture the spirit of Palm Springs. Or simply disassemble a lacklustre supermarket bouquet and arrange single stems in a row of bottles across a fireplace. Crop blooms at different height and enjoy an asymmetrical flash of seasonal colour that will last for days.
Finally, tweaking existing lighting, as Spring arrives, will bring much needed zest to a style-hungry space. Try www.livinglighting.com for a host of great options. Employ new shades for side lamps, or replacement globes for an overhead pendant, and prepare to dazzle. Whatever you tackle -- and how ever many of our decorative pointers you employ -- the last thing you should do is rush; played patiently, our little book of designer spells will conjure up seriously magic results. So slow down, take a breath and then -- and only then -- Spring forward. You know it makes sense...
Instead of spending loads on pricey chairs, reach for oversized cushions (in bright colours and bold patterns!) to increase a room's seating capacity.
Instead of buying expensive artwork, get creative with large collages, wallpaper scraps or maps or hang a beautifully patterned fabric from wooden dowels. Off-the-shelf frames with kids art can make your home unique.
Paint an accent wall a high-contrast colour (the brighter the better). All you need is a single quart to make the transformation happen.
Countertop in need of some life? Pop some plants inside colourful metal planters for a cheerful look at a cheap price.
Add this no-fuss centrepiece to a table! Ripened fruit in a wooden bowl is simple, accessible and chic.
Whether it's a single item or a group of items placed together, creating a major focal point can make a room look more spacious -- and can save you more cash than by spending money on several ornate pieces.
Uniform sets are out; mixing and matching is in. To create a gorgeous and trendy living room, dining room or table-setting, mix and match pieces from different furniture sets.
These classic colours can create dramatic space that looks expensive and has a lot of bang without the buck.
Use lamps that have shape and sculpture. Lamps that are too small can make your space look cheap and are often just as expensive as show-stopping lights.
This budget-friendly tip prevents you from spending loads when you can just revamp the old. Don't have the money to spend on a new media unit? Try an antique armoire.
<a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/274323/pillow-projects/@center/277001/diy-decorating" target="_hplink">Try turning old pillow cases and bedsheets into chic throw pillow shams</a>.
To create gorgeous patterns and accentuate any space, all you need is <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/topics/stenciling/index.html" target="_hplink">cardboard, paint and an exacto knife</a>! Detailing your home has never been so easy and budget-friendly.
A large decorative rug or hallway runner will hide scuffs and mask worn hardwood; it's much less expensive than having your floors refinished or sanded down.
Instead of buying new pricey storage units, cover old boxes of varying sizes with different papers and materials. You can even paint them!
Chalkboards and blackboards are an easy, budget-friendly purchase and add a fun touch to kids' rooms, kitchens and studies. You can even paint your own on a wall using store-bought paint.
The great outdoors is just outside your window. Collect branches and place them in a large vase or fill different sized jars with herbs, leaves and flowers to add colour to a beige room.
Oceanic accents are trendy and keep your budget in control. Giant clams and oyster shells can be used on their own for decorative purposes and can also make great bowls to hold anything from candy to potpourri. Sticking a variety of shells in all different shapes and sizes on different walls and frames can also make your home worth sea-ing.
Mirrors come in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices. Hanging mirrors on walls, or installing them in opposite windows or doorways, also creates the illusion of space.
Mixing high-end products that are on sale with inexpensive accessories will give any room a chic look that's on-trend for fall. So go ahead: combine high-end pieces with vintage accessories and flea market finds.
Hang eye-catching ornaments in your kitchen, like an eclectic collection of silver trays or pots filled with greenery.
An affordable way of making your house zen? Bring in pleasant sounds and smells with wind chimes, table-top fountains and aromatic candles.
To add a lift to a room, get some new paint and coat the walls. A cheap way to get your rooms looking clean and fresh!
Grouping together intriguing framed photos in interesting ways creates a unique presentation -- and is much less costly than displaying art, photography or building a shelving unit.
Changing cabinet handles, door knobs and drawer pulls can bring a whole new style and look to your existing cabinetry. Faucet handles are also a quick and cheap fix that can up the glam in a home.
Materials like painter's tape allow you to paint horizontal or vertical lines or create shapes like rectangles or squares on walls.
Hang fabric panels on rods that are wider than the actual window frame; this costs less than regular window draping and gives the illusion that your window is much larger than it actually is.
Upgrade your living area or bedroom with a small ceiling fan -- they often cost under $100.
Revamp large pieces of furniture with slipcovers. This, combined with changing around pillow shams and materials, will make it appear as if you've done a major reno or room overhaul.
Want a floating island in your kitchen, but don't want to spend the extra dough? Invest (barely) in a caster. You can even attach wheels onto one to create rollable storage.
Doing this craft yourself with iron-on decals -- and foregoing spending money on it professionally -- will add some oomph to staid home objects without breaking the bank.
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