Design of The Times – Revamp your living spaces

In the age of Covid, our future travel plans hang in the unknown. Many people are looking inward to put a bright light in their day to day lives. Travel within our own communities, spend more time outdoors in nature, and revamp our own living spaces, since we spend a lot of time in there these days! Interior renos are extremely hot right now! So many of us are ready to start fresh and breathe some new life into our home.

Follow along below for some of the best ways to update your living spaces!  

It is key to note that we are going for the biggest visual impact with the least amount of tear up.  

WALL PAINT – nothing updates an interior quite like a fresh coat of paint! When you’re updating the home to live in, you do you! You need to love the changes you’re making! For paint, neutral shades always brighten a space, but accent walls come in handy when you want to inject colour and character into a room. Paint is temporary, but temporary is a relative term. If painting is something you were born to do, experiment! I sound like a broken record, but painting your walls has the greatest impact at the lowest cost. Choose colours for the main living areas first, then pull from those as inspiration for the rest of the house. Showcase your personal style, but remember to keep it timeless, especially in the main living spaces. Carry a shared colour palette throughout each floor – the main floor stays more neutral and use your bold ideas upstairs.

KITCHEN CABINET PAINT – This is also a huge visual update. When you go from dark wood, light wood, or oak cabinets to white, any kitchen is completely transformed. The way that newly white cabinets update a kitchen goes unmatched. White cabinetry is on trend these days. Although that plays a big role, no matter the latest trends, white kitchen cabinetry is open, bright, and injected with happiness. When repainting cabinets, we cannot forget hardware. Door handles and drawer pulls are an inexpensive way to give your kitchen that classy finish you’ll be sure to love. Sleek brushed nickel, muted gold, or black cabinet hardware is everywhere, and with good reason! They are all sharp looking, but most importantly, they accent the white cabinets perfectly and they finish the look.

STAIR REFRESH – Stairwells can date a home. With one glance at a stairwell, you can get an idea of the age and style of a house. For certain homes, an older stairwell can look amazing, like in a historic downtown home. It adds to the character of the house. In other homes, a dated stairwell can be a negative focal point and take away from the beauty of the rest of the house. Many homeowners find that the stairwell is a place for renovation inspiration. It’s a good place to start! With so many options for stairs, I’ll choose one look that screams sophistication and seems to be a very popular choice. Walnut-stained treads, a walnut-stained rail, white kick plates, and white wooden spindles. You can also choose to just paint the kick plates and spindles white, leaving the stair treads and rail the colour that they are. This is an easier and cheaper route and may be your preferred option, especially if the existing stairs match the flooring. This modern twist on an otherwise dated focal point in a house can awaken the interior decorator in you. 

LIGHTING – Light fixtures…the good, the bad, the ugly, people notice them. As homeowners, we get used to the things we see in our house every day. It is not until we upgrade these items, that we realize what a change it makes to the whole room. Light fixtures are an easy way to update a room. As I mentioned about the stairwell, light fixtures can date a house, or at least date your last remodel. 

Light fixtures have many jobs; they must fill a space with adequate light, fill a visual void when scanning a room, and accentuate the style in a room. Therefore, picking out light fixtures can become overwhelming.

Here is a breakdown of the lighting in your home and its uses. This should help you organize what you need and where.

  • Ambient Lighting – The main source of light in a space; usually overhead. Overhead light fixtures are their own statement! They need to look amazing and catch the eye, but not take over the room.
  • Task Lighting Direct lighting for specific areas/duties (ex. above kitchen sink) 
  • Accent Lighting – Additional light, but generally for decorative purposes (ex. above fireplace wall)

Here are some suggestions for lighting placement in your home:

  • Chandelier: high ceiling area, dining table, stairwell
  • Pendants: kitchen island, over sink
  • Pot Lights: living room, kitchen, family room, hallways 
  • Flush Mount/Semi-Flush Mount: bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, office, etc
  • Wall Sconce: bathrooms

Light fixtures throughout the house do not need to, and should not, match, but they should flow together, especially multiple fixtures in an open floor plan. Shop for fixtures that share a common trait. Design style, metallic finish, material, or colour. This can help narrow down your final choices on the fixture hunt! 

Sometimes with home renos, it’s hard to know when to draw the line. In advance, make a plan and figure out what you want your end result to be. When short term and long term renos do you want to have completed, what feeling do you want when you walk into your house? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, talk to an interior designer to help you bring your vision to life.

Key points to always think about:

FLOW – Always remember to stand back and look at the whole house or at the whole room you are designing. It is easy to get fixated on each piece of the puzzle, but in order for it to all come together, you need to keep going back to the big picture.

TIMELESSNESS – This is one of the key components to make sure you are happy with your design upgrades. Choose items that will continue to look great as time passes, and make sure you are confident in those choices. For example: you want to do a bold accent wall in your main living space. Instead, keep the wall colour neutral and the same as the rest of the space and add a large canvas or other wall art that displays that bold colour you love. This looks sharp and stylish, still gives you the look you want, and makes it much easier to update when you get that reno feeling again. 

Most importantly, have fun! 


by Megan Callahan

‘There is a magic in that little world, home; it is a mystic circle that surrounds comforts and virtues never known beyond it’s hollowed limits’
– Robert Southey