Travel back to the 70s with a retro revamp

Travel back to the 70s with a retro revampTake a blast from the past with some not-so-subtle nods to the 1970s. Incorporate iconic vibrant colour palettes, inviting textures and décor with groovy silhouettes into your home using tips from Sharon Grech, the colour and design expert for Benjamin Moore.

Bold pops of colour. This decade was all about bright hues and bold patterns, which enhance the retro feel. By incorporating neutral elements, you can add a modern spin to this eclectic look. Black and white are great neutral bases when paired with pops of colour and pattern throughout a room. Try painting a statement wall with your favourite colour or incorporating brightly painted furniture and accessories. “For cool, trendy accents, Fiji AF-525 is a refined, earthy blue hue when mixed with a black and white backdrop,” says Grech.

Retro-inspired furniture. Another great way to accentuate retro décor is by adding fun, vintage furnishings. Introduce bright and uniquely shaped pieces of furniture or asymmetrical consoles incorporating retro and colourful elements. Adding a fresh coat of paint to vintage pieces will create depth and new interest in a space. “I always recommend using Benjamin Moore Advance when it comes to painting furniture,” says Grech. Lighting is another great way to incorporate the vintage feel into your décor. Accentuate your space with geometric light fixtures in bright colours that will take you back in time.

Make a groovy statement with fun patterns and prints. When it comes to 70s-inspired home décor, the more pattern, the merrier. Create the groovy look by mixing unexpected prints and patterns as a key design element. “Be sure to mix the scale of your patterned items and work with a consistent colour palette throughout the room to keep a sophisticated look,” suggest Grech.

Add value and style to your home

Add value and style to your homeUpdating your home can make the space more livable and beautiful. But giving your home a refresh can also boost your property value. Here are some ideas to consider for your next improvement project, big or small.

Layer the lighting. The secret to making a room look like it came straight out of a magazine is layered lighting. Set the tone with ambient lighting at every height. Try experimenting with wall-mounted sconces, pendants, chandeliers or foot lamps for a brighter space and increased functionality.

Customize your window treatments. Made-to-order window coverings are like a well-tailored blazer — they instantly add timeless luxury and professional sophistication. Opt for a classic look with clean lines that’s always in style, like Vignette modern roman shades from Hunter Douglas. Unlike other roman shades, they can open from the top, from the bottom, or somewhere in-between for the perfect balance of privacy and light. Choose from an array of luxurious textures and colours to transform your windows.

Stage like a pro. Even if you’re the only one who will be seeing your home this weekend, style the place like a designer would for an open house. Start with your coffee table — combine one large statement piece like a vase or bowl and stack art books or candles for fashionable flair. Other meaningful touches are fresh orchids, plumping the pillows and draping a throw across the couch.

Modernize your kitchen. Few renovation projects offer a better return on your investment than a kitchen upgrade. This key room is the heart of the home and is often the first place guests look. Even small updates can make a big difference. Try swapping out a dated sink or an ancient microwave for a new energy-efficient model, or painting the cabinets and replacing knobs and handles with a stylish metal like brass.


3 ways to refresh your home for spring

3 ways to refresh your home for springLooking to update your home for the season but don’t have time or budget for a major renovation? Do it right with these three easy DIY paint projects that can each be done in just a day.

“The seasonal transition from winter to spring is the perfect time to freshen up,” says Sharon Grech, colour and design expert for Benjamin Moore. “If you’re like me, you don’t have unlimited time to devote to working on your home, which is why small weekend projects are perfect because they’re quick, easy and affordable.”

Hit refresh with paint. Nothing says refresh quite like bringing new life to a tired piece of furniture. A fresh coat of paint is the perfect solution to make old, dated furniture seem trendy and new. Look for pieces that have solid construction and interesting shapes. Grech says headboards, wardrobes, chairs and side tables are all great pieces to transform. If you are unsure of the condition of the furniture or how to paint it, visit a local paint retailer to ensure you get the product that is right for your project.

Amaze with an accent wall. Feature walls are a great way to make an impactful change to a space. “Many people think accent walls need to be very bold and vibrant hues, when they can be neutral to create a more cohesive and harmonious feel,” says Grech. Explore painting the fifth wall, otherwise known as the ceiling, for a unique and modern look that can add dimension to a space.

Front door décor. The front door has the ability to instantly create an inviting impression before guests enter your home. “Applying a fresh coat of paint to your front door is a great DIY project that can be done quickly and can invigorate the look and feel of your home,” says Grech. “Because it’s so easy, you can even change your door colour seasonally.” Benjamin Moore’s Aura Grand Entrance collection, inspired by European enamel finishes has more than 42 curated colours.

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Smart ideas when designing small spaces

Smart ideas when designing small spacesAs homes become smaller and we adopt a more minimalist lifestyle, interior décor is offering fresh solutions to furnish tighter spots. Here are some big ideas to maximize your mini space.

Consider your routine. Be realistic about your daily habits and how you use the space so you can prioritize furniture and layout. Do you really eat at the dining table, or do you bring your plate to the couch? Do you work from home, or can you do away with that stately desk? Make your floor plan work for your lifestyle and you’ll free up space in unexpected places.

Set rooms apart with colour. Developing a unique style for each space can create the feeling of a larger home. Give every room a distinct colour palette that you use from the walls to the accessories, so that each feels defined and distinct with its own mood and character.

Go vertical. One of the biggest mistakes people make in tiny living spaces is neglecting everything above eye level. But this leaves out valuable square footage. Utilize empty walls for added shelving and hanging storage, wall-mounted lighting and even a vertical herb or flower garden.

Spread the light. Natural light can make everything look brighter, bigger and more inviting. For a seamless look at the window, choose pared down designs and add visual interest with beautiful fabrics. Sonnette cellular roller shades from Hunter Douglas combine the energy-efficient construction of a cellular shade with the clean lines and simplicity of a roller shade. The innovative curved shape gently diffuses light, providing ambiance to all angles of your room.


Simple spring ideas add seasonal touches to your home

Simple spring ideas add seasonal touches to your homeA new season is here, and that means it’s time to give your living spaces an update. Refresh your home with a few strategic elements that can take you from winter to wow.

Surprise with unexpected florals. Flowers during springtime are not exactly a groundbreaking idea, but you can add a twist by incorporating them in creative ways. Think removable wallpaper or a reupholstered statement armchair with pretty, punchy or playful florals. Fresh flowers are never a miss, and you can make them bloom and last longer by placing an ice cube in their water every other day.

Transport outdoor greenery inside. Nothing says spring like new plants, flowers and shrubs. Even if you don’t have a backyard, you can give your interiors a touch of the garden with easy-to-maintain plants around your home. Popular varieties this year are coloured plants like the Pink Princess Philodendron, aquatic plants that require less care, and dwarf fruit trees.

Brighten with a pastel palette. Today’s trending colours are perfect for the season. Add some millennial pink, soft lavender and cheerful yellow with decorative accessories like pillows and art prints for an easy update. For a more substantial makeover, try painting an accent wall one of these shades for a pop of colour and keep everything else neutral for a balanced look.

Update your window’s look. Sometimes all it takes to energize a space are new window fashions. Be sure to choose something that lets in plenty of the sun’s rays after a long winter, like Pirouette window shadings from Hunter Douglas. Soft horizontal fabric vanes float on a sheer backing, allowing you to achieve infinite combinations of light control, view-through and privacy. The sheer fabric back panel diffuses sunlight, transforming it into a warm glow while filtering out ultraviolet rays.


Top 5 ways to turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreat

Top 5 ways to turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreatToday’s busy lifestyles leave many of us craving a quick recharge. And there’s no place like home to relax and unwind, so why not create a spa-like sanctuary where you can do just that? Here are some top tips on how to make it amazing.

Start with what’s behind the walls. There’s nothing less relaxing than dealing with a mould problem –– a common issue in bathrooms. The wrong type of insulation can be especially vulnerable, so look for one that contractors trust just for this purpose. I recommend an insulation called Rockwool Safe ‘n’ Sound. It’s made from stone, so it repels water and won’t promote mould, mildew or rot. It’ll also help create a peaceful retreat, thanks to excellent sound absorption.

It’s all about the water feature. Whether it’s a multi-head rain shower set against a backdrop of luxurious stone tile or a large, free-standing tub, nothing melts tension away and relaxes the muscles like water. Options abound and can be pricey, but remember, the water feature is the centrepiece of the space, and you’ll use it every single day for years.

Create a warm space. A cold floor can abruptly end your calming experience. Radiant in-floor heating is one feature that, once you have it, you’ll never know how you lived without it.

Let nature inspire. Recreate a spa aesthetic with natural materials like teak, bamboo or stone.

Lighting and music. Incorporating waterproof wireless controls for music and lighting let you set the mood and tone for the ultimate unwind. If you’re on a budget, add a pop of elegance with a beautiful light fixture on a dimmer and complement with aromatic candles.

Accessorize. From plush towels and robes to fresh flowers or greenery, add some elements that make your bathroom feel like a five-star hotel. Reduce visual clutter by storing toiletries or other items in decorative baskets or jars.

My advice is to relax, unwind, and tune out the world for a little while. Make it a guilt-free indulgence, because after all, we take better care of others when we take care of ourselves, too.

Scott McGillivray is the host of the hit HGTV series Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays, a full-time real estate investor, contractor, author, and educator.

Top 10 ways to revive your dated house

Top 10 ways to revive your dated houseOur homes are where memories are made, our retreat from the world. However, daily living, growing families, and time can leave your home looking less than its best. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to breathe new life into a well-loved space. These top DIY projects will ensure your home looks and performs its best.

Clean. A neat and tidy home instantly brightens the space, creating a great foundation for other improvements.

Paint. This is the easiest way to quickly transform the look of a dated room. Don’t forget to paint the trim to really make it pop.

Consider replacing worn flooring. Update with hardwoods or choose more affordable options such as laminate or vinyl plank flooring. Eco-friendly options like bamboo or cork flooring have grown in popularity, while today’s assortment of tiles can also create a stunning look.

Address the comfort factor. Taking measures to make your home more energy efficient can dramatically improve everyday comfort and save you money. The easiest way to start is by simply topping up your attic insulation. Many contractors recommend a fire-safe, mould- and water-resistant stone wool insulation like Rockwool Comfortbatt. Made from stone, it’s durable and easy to install. This important update can potentially save you hundreds in annual heating costs, and it only takes about a day or so to complete.

Make simple swaps. New light fixtures or hardware on cabinetry can provide your room with an instant refresh. Give cabinets a new coat of paint if they look tired or dated.

Let there be light. Replace heavy drapes with sheer window coverings or blinds to flood the home with as much natural light as possible.

Open up the space. Remove excess furniture and all signs of clutter. Organize closets and pantries. Open windows to allow fresh air inside.

Accessorize. Add inviting elements like fresh flowers, throws or toss cushions. Does your room have a distinct focal point? Carefully chosen and placed accents or artwork can really make it stand out.

Create curb appeal. Clean and pressure-wash the driveway and walkways. Cut the grass, pull weeds, and trim shrubs. Consider planting annuals to add colour. Paint your front door and house numbers.

Reboot your entry-way. It’s simple, but it sets the tone. Make sure it’s bright, open and functions effectively. Install some clever storage solutions –– there are plenty of options even for small spaces. It should always feel good to walk through the front door. After all, there’s no place like home.

How to get your home holiday-ready

How to get your home holiday-readyPrep your home for a flurry of activity with these simple steps.

1. Incorporate magical seasonal scents. Fill your space with holiday-scented aromas from candles, or simmer your own potpourri with ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon, pine or bitter orange.

2. Build a fire to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere. Keep fuzzy blankets and pillows on hand for both decoration and functionality and bring out a board game for a little entertainment. If you need extra warmth, cozy up in a Denver Hayes fleece robe from Mark’s and make some hot chocolate.

3. Be the best host and stock up on supplies that guests will use if they stop by. Essentials include towels, sheets, pillows and shower supplies. Make sure you keep these items accessible close to where guests are staying.

4. Make a grand entrance. Welcome your guests at the door with a fresh wreath and add holiday touches such as an entrance table with lighted tinsel trees, candles and ornaments. These details make a great first impression.

5. Don’t forget to make space in your home. Clear out your closet to make room for the influx of coats and winter boots and make space in your fridge and freezer for leftover food and beverages. Adding extra storage space will help keep you organized.