A Frame Arrangement

Choosing the right matte and frame to complement a favoured photo or piece of art has long been it’s own form of art. Then what? The framed piece gets hung up at the center of an empty wall at eye level, and we call it a day? Hanging art and creating frame groupings is now an art-form of it’s own, with everyone weighing in. The possibilities are as personal as our homes, so I’ve pulled out a few of the general themes here to get you started.

Gallery Wall via YourNestDesign.blogspot.ca

A salon-style gallery wall is probably the most popular, with a collection of various frames and sizes grouped together to create a striking visual. This style could be a controlled mix of pieces, with matching frames and restricted colour palettes. This style could also be an eclectic collection of anything that strikes your fancy – designer rules thrown out the window. So long as your own personality shines through and it feels right to you, a salon gallery really is limited only by your imagination.

It’s not as easy as it looks to just put things up as you go. An essential tip from other DIYers to getting it right includes, tracing and cutting out paper versions of all your frames and taping them to your chosen wall. Play around with the groupings and placement until you find an arrangement you’re happy with, before ever lifting a hammer.

Uniform Grid Gallery Wall via Elle Decor

The grid formation is another gallery style of hanging art, but is much more structured and uniform in appearance. Frames and matte kept to a minimum create less visual interruption between pieces and read more like a single larger element. For rooms that are primarily soft in texture, shapes and colour, a strong grid like the one above can add an contrasting architectural element that helps tie a room together.

Creating an art grid might not require the same effort of cutting out kraft paper and taping it up, but you’ll definitely want to carefully measure everything out at least twice. Even one piece hung slightly out of place will throw the whole look off.

Frames on Picture Rail via WhileIm.blogspot.ca

A picture rail installed along the full length of one wall can be a perfect solution for the indecisive of us, or if you like to keep a rotating collection. This look is definitely more casual, with pieces leaned against the wall that can easily be changed around on a whim.

Leaning Art on Floor, Photo by Per Gunnarsson

The easiest and most flexible option is to just line a few frames up along the floor. It’s certainly not a look for everyone, but we’ve all tried it at some point and for some people, it could be just what they were after. It has a very relaxed vibe, and adds a casual touch to any space.

Images: 1. YourNestDesign.blogspot.ca; 2. ElleDecor.com; 3. WhileIm.blogspot.ca; 4. PGFotograf.com


The Personal Library

With the rise of digital readers, ebooks and the ability to have more information in smaller packages, it’s not difficult the to see the declining popularity of physical books. However, much like the vinyl record, physical books are never going to completely disappear on us. Books are an art-form as much as they are packed with sentimentality. Future generations might not grow up looking through books quite like we did, but they’ll see photos of great personal libraries and build one for themselves.

Using books to decorate is probably the most obvious of designer secrets to creating a cozy room. They add surprising pops of colour and introduce a graphic element through typography and cover design. A small stack of books can highlight or elevate any number of special objects in a room.

Library in artist live/work studio in Clinton Hill by BWArchitects via Remodelista

A personal library is more than just a wall of books though. It’s a collection of hand-picked items, carefully curated by the owner and speaking volumes to their style and tastes. It’s also become a common interest for book and decor lovers,  sharing images of libraries and collections with websites devoted to bookshelves.

Library with Genuine Fake Bookshelves via EmpireVintage

Gathering a room-sized collection does take time, but there are other options. Here a bookcase on one wall has been paired with a faux bookcase wallpaper, getting the same design effect of repetition to achieve consistency and create harmony, without a room full of books.

Images: BookRiot.comRemodelista.comTheWhiteHouseDaylesford.com.au

Sophisticated Slipcovers

Hermitage Slipcovered Sofa Set in MonarchHGS Store
Hermitage Slipcovered Sofa Set in MonarchHGS Store

Whether you like to redecorate as the seasons change, or if spills and mishaps are a way of life, slipcovered furniture is probably already your preferred choice of upholstery. Historically, slipcovers were used to cover expensive or fragile upholstery, and was only removed when special guests came to visit. In some cases, the slipcover itself was made of the expensive, lavish fabric, and would only be brought out for special occasions.

Tailored Slipcover on Sofa via ElleDecor.com

Most recognizably part of the shabby chic and coastal decor styles, slipcovers can really be suited to almost anyone’s tastes. Styles are made in a variety of ready-made fits, colours and fabrics, not to mention the infinite possibilities should you choose to have one customized. Create a big impact by experimenting with slipcover colours and patterns, without the commitment or cost of reupholstering.

Striped & Chocolate Brown Slipcovers via CoastalLiving.com


  • Tailored slipcover, fitted to the exact style and size of your couch, usually custom made or from chair manufacturer
  • Standard loose slipcover that uses a one-size-fits-all approach, available from most major furniture retailers
  • Extra loose, using a blanket or throw as a slipcover and allowed to hang freely over the sides

Loose Slipcovers on Armchairs via The-Brick-House.com

Before you start looking for a slipcover to hide a less than favourite seat in the corner, make an honest assessment of the style and condition it’s in. Slipcovers cannot fix a lumpy seat, or change the lines of a chair design that you don’t like.

Images: MonarchHGS.caElleDecor.comCoastalLiving.comThe-Brick-House.com

Always Ready With Candles

About a month ago, we experienced a record breaking amount of rainfall in the Toronto (and Waterloo) area, which of course caused some problems with the power. In the spirit of preparedness, I want to take a look at a few ideas for always having a few candles exactly where you need them.

Dining room with Candle Chandelier by Heather Chadduck

Take a cue from our medieval ancestors who had to do everything by candlelight. A chandelier above the dining table here holds enough candles to light-up the whole room, with a channel to prevent wax from dripping down on heads below. This might even be something to try whether the power goes off or not, helping you conserve a little more energy.

Driftwood Wall Candle Sconces by TheIrishBarn

Walking with candles is never a great idea. Hanging a few candle-holder wall sconces in commonly used areas of your home is a perfect way to always be ready should the lights go out.

Candles In Fireplace via SarahBarksdaleDesign.com

A great idea during the summer, is to load up your empty fireplace with candles. It’s fire-ready and already a focal point of the room, so the cozying effect is as instant as lighting an actual fire.

What are some ways that you like to be ready for a storm, without the flashlight?

Images:  1. Flickr.com; 2. TheIrishBarn; 3. SarahBarksdaleDesign.com

Outdoor Living: Accessories

Having made the tough decisions of what style of outdoor furniture you want and how to properly illuminate your outdoor space, the fun of giving it your personal touch comes in the form of accents and accessories.

As with any decorating project, the key to determining your style is to narrow it down to a few words. Begin by finding images of your favourite outdoor spaces and identify the recurring themes. Is your style soft, white and rustic, or maybe colourful, lush and eclectic? Having a defined look will help you stay on course when shopping for accessories, and will help to create a cohesive design.

Outdoor Living Room via Pinterest

Adding layers of colour and textures has an instant cozying effect whether done inside or out, and where better to start than with textiles. Waterproof fabrics allow you to keep your cushions and rugs outside without having to worry about a little rain. Of course, you can still use indoor cushions and throws in your outdoor room, just remember to bring them inside or put them away in a deck storage container to prevent water damage.
Hanging curtains outside is an easy way to create some privacy and shade without a fixed solution. It’s also an incredibly luxurious look for a minimal cost.

Lanterns, PIllows & Cushions via TobruckAve

Candles and torches add ambiance and can help with keeping away bugs. Choosing a few enclosed lanterns or hurricane vases will ensure that a sudden gust won’t leave you in the dark, and can help to further tie-in a style you’re going for.

Backyard by Sealy Design Inc, Photo by John Narvali, via Houzz.com

For those of you creating an outdoor space to be closer to nature, then make sure there are opportunities for nature to come to you. Put a few birdhouses in nearby trees and bird baths/feeders a safe distance away from your sitting areas. This gives the birds enough space to feel comfortable visiting, and you’ll have a closer vantage point for birding without leaving your chair.

Patio by Robeson Design via Houzz.com

You probably don’t want to think about time when relaxing outside, but hanging a weather-proof clock outside can let you take advantage of every second. Hanging clocks, thermometers or other gauges outside is an idea for beautiful and useful outdoor wall decor.

Outdoor Dining Area via Digsdigs.com

As we all know, sometimes less really is more. If your view is spectacular and don’t want to detract from what lies beyond your outdoor space, then by all means, keep it simple. A few low plants in a shallow bowl paired with a couple glass lanterns adds interest and texture to this dining area, without taking anything away from the view.

Images: 1. Pinterest.com; 2. TobruckAve.blogspot.ca; 3.&4. Houzz.com; 5. Digsdigs.com