Shams used as headboard, pillows stacked, decorative throw cushions, in front, blanket across the foot of the bed and bedskirt covering the bed frame.

When you are decorating your bedroom, you need to do more than buy a new duvet cover, curtains and paint for your room.

One of the biggest mistakes that I see in decorating a bedroom is not finishing the bed. Unless you have a complete bed with headboard foot board and matching side rails, that stands all by itself, or a platform bed, you must cover up the box spring and the metal mattress frame.

An old fashioned bedspread that goes to the floor accomplishes this, but most people are using duvets or comforters these days. In that case you really need a bedskirt (also called a dust ruffle) to hide the not meant to be seen box spring and the ugly bed frame to give your bed a neat, finished look. A duvet/comforter is rarely wide enough and long enough to cover all of the above. Sometimes a size larger will cover the box spring, but rarely does it cover the bed frame too.

The other thing I see is the comforter/duvet pulled right up over the pillows. This is a no-no. They are not long enough to use like an old fashioned bed spread. This just does not look finished.

Pillows stacked, with decorative toss cushions in front

Pillows stacked, with decorative toss cushions in front

Place the duvet so that it covers the mattress – down to the box spring on both sides and the foot, like the picture at the top of the page. Then either fold the top sheet down over top of the duvet so the decorative edge shows or fold it down under the duvet so that it does not show at all. Then place the pillows neatly at the edge of the folded down top sheet  or duvet. Stack two on top of each other on each side or tip them up and stack them one in front of the other – two to a side. To finish it it, place a couple of throw cushions in front of the pillows. Lay a folded blanket or throw across the bottom.

Those shams that often come with the duvet cover can be filled with a permanent pillow (you never actually use it) and placed behind the pillows, if you wish. They can also make a fake headboard look, if you haven’t purchased a headboard yet.

Pillows leaning upright with toss cushions

Pillows leaning upright with toss cushions

photo 1 (2)

Bedskirt carries the look to the floor, covers the box spring and bed frame and also hides any storage containers that you keep under the bed. (and the dust bunnies)

So your bed should have a duvet cover, comforter or bedspread. If the cover does not come down to the floor, you need a bed skirt (unless the bed has a finished base, that is meant to show). You need a couple of co-ordinating toss cushions and throw for the foot of the bed. Two pillows on each side looks good, either stacked flat or stacked upright.

Then your room will have that ‘polished’ look that you are trying to achieve






Season’s Greetings

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

May you have a happy and safe holiday season, and a Happy New Year to everyone.

Christmas Tips

5 glittery gifts1. Removing sticky price tags and labels.

I wish that I had known this one when my kids were little. Removing labels or anything sticky from most surfaces is a cinch. Just spray the label residue or the label itself with WD40. Let it sink in and then rub the sticky stuff off with a rag or a plastic scrubby. There may be a little oily residue on cardboard but that is not important. Just don’t use it on fabric.

2. Wrapping multiple children’s gifts.

Colour code the paper. Use the same colours every year.  Child #1’s gifts are all wrapped in red paper. Child #2’s are wrapped in green. If there is a third and fourth, have one all gold and one all blue. This way kids know which gifts are theirs, even before they can read – and can spot their own from across the room, when they can read. You don’t even have to put gift tags on gifts from the big guy, if you use this system just for ‘those’ gifts.

3. Recycle, recycle, recycle

Use store gift boxes year after year until they are only good for starting the Christmas fire. Fold them back flat and store them in a large cardboard box. This way you always have gift boxes. The same goes for gift bags. Save and reuse until they are falling apart. Keep all your bows and ribbons, you rarely have to buy any after a year or two. Store them in large gift bags, so they don’t get crushed. I also save tissue paper that is not torn and even metallic wrapping paper and reuse until it no longer looks good.

These little pointers will reduce the expense and stress of christmas!

The straightforward answer is yes, some form of prepping your house for sale is a must these days, if you want to get the optimum price for it. The market in 2013 is soft and the choices are many, so your house has to stand out from the crowd. It needs to scream “Pick me, Pick me!”

The reason is simple, people want a house that does not need work. They want it to be ‘move-in’ ready. Many people want a resale house to have the look of a subdivision show home – but for less money. Other people are out for a bargain and will knock substantial amounts of money off the list price when making their offer for each deficiency, even if the house is listed at a price that reflects these deficiencies. You want them to see what is right with your house, not what is wrong!

If you want to see the difference a thorough Staging makes, go to the MLS listings and go to some Open Houses. The difference between a fully prepped home and one that is not, is astounding. Also astounding is the difference in the asking price between two similar houses, one Staged and one just tidied and cleaned. Many thousands of dollars can be at stake here, so it is worth the money and effort.

This doesn’t mean you need make your house look like a Lottery Show Home. But unless your house is only a few of years old, it will need decluttering, refreshing and possibly updating. You may need to do a little or you may need to do a lot.  What you want to put into your house is, of course, up to you.

The coffee table is frequently an afterthought when decorating your living room. People often dash out to the big box store to get a matched set of coffee and end tables that they think will ‘do’ for the time being. This is a mistake.

The ‘coffee table’ is front and centre in your living room. It should make a statement, and be useful as well as a ‘decor piece’. The one thing it should not be is part of a matched set of coffee and end tables. In most cases, that look is dated and dowdy.

Your coffee table does not even have to be a table. We are now all familiar with the ottoman with a tray on the top, being re-purposed as a coffee table. I have a large wicker trunk that is my coffee table and doubles as storage space for extra throws and cushions for movie nights in the winter. It can also be used as a place for hiding the children’s toys instead of the usual open shelving.


Back in University, I lined up 3 old cheese boxes in a row. In our earlier homes, I had a cluster of little cube tables, that suited the small spaces admirably. At one point an antique 6 legged table with a brass tray for a top, served as my coffee table. Use your imagination. Almost anything with a flat surface and is not too big can be adapted and used.

One point here, I do not like low, low coffee tables, unless all the furniture is low slung. They look too 50s for one thing, but mainly their proportions are wrong and they are awkward to use for anything but a foot stool. You will find that something that is side table height is more useful and visually pleasing. 20″ high and up makes a good, useful coffee table.

21.5" h coffee table from Sears.caThis is a cocktail table from Sears.ca. It is nice and tall at 21.5″h. It would make a really nice coffee table and is a much more convenient height for your coffee. Its round shape makes it easy to get by (with no more barked shins) and will fit in with most furniture shapes and arrangements.

Put two together

Put two together

Conversely, this little cube table is 23.5″ h and is meant to be an end table but put 2 together and they make a nice comfortable height coffee table or put 3 in an L configuration in front of a full sized sectional sofa. They are also quite adaptable when you move. They can be end tables, bedside tables, etc.

So think outside the box and you will come up with a unique and visually pleasing coffee table that is both useful and decorative

Looking good

Classic, low cost staging project. See my post “Super Inexpensive Bedroom Makover”

What is Staging, anyway? Everyone has heard of Staging their home when selling it, but a lot of people really don’t know what that means. They watch various TV shows where the home owner and a designer/decorator magically redecorate or even partially renovate two or three rooms and it only costs $500 to $1000 dollars. This, of course is very misleading. That $500 is for (probably discounted) product only. Labour, which is the most expensive part, is ostensibly done by the homeowner. The decorator/designer and carpenter, plumber and electrician, never mind the drapers and seamstress,  the carpet layers and tile setters et al, appear to be donating their services out of the goodness of their hearts! And to top it all off, the entire project is completed from start to finish over the weekend. It just doesn’t work that way in real life.

Staging is simply making your house look its best to get the top price. The aim is to make it appear move-in ready. Often a Staging Professional is employed to give advice or do the entire process. This person could be a Certified Staging Professional, an Interior Decorator or even a Real Estate Agent who has taken Staging courses.

Prepping your house for sale doesn’t have to be a massive and expensive undertaking. It can be as simple as a thorough cleaning (especially the carpets), wallpaper removal,  a fresh coat of paint and generally de-cluttering as well as having a couple of garage sales and trips to the Thrift Store Donation Depot, something that you need to do before you move, anyway.

Most homes will need a little work to make them look their best. The extent of it is up to you. Staging can be a simple paint job and editing or can be as intensive and expensive as a totally redone kitchen and bath, or possibly new furnace and shingles, on top of the paint and new ‘decor’.

I prefer the phrase “prepping your house for sale” or even the 90s expression, “house fluffing”, to the word staging. Those expressions are not nearly as intimidating and do not imply spending large amounts of money.

As far as expense if concerned, putting the best face on your house will necessarily cost you a little money, but as long as your house is in reasonable condition, it should not be a major financial undertaking. If $1,000 dollars worth of paint and flooring saves you from a $10,000 low-ball offer, it is well worth the investment.

That being said, if the house has had nothing done to it since 1975, all bets are off.  You now have to decide if you are going to invest in making the house move in ready and therefore get a much better price for it, or selling it as is and accepting that it is not actually worth what you expected. If you want to get top price, in this case, making major repairs is essential, unless the market is so hot that anything sells at top dollar.

If you are really unsure about how to go about prepping your house for sale, I would advise having a consultation with a decorating or staging professional to get an idea about what to do. Then you can decide whether to hire a professional to do it all for you or just wing it!

Next: Is Staging Necessary?

An affordable answer for the kitchen cabinet refresh/replace dilemma

Kitchen cabinets are crazy expensive but can become tired and dated looking after only a few years. You can totally replace them, if you have the budget for it, but you don’t have to. If the layout works for you and the cabinets are still in good shape, you can paint them to refresh your look. The problem with painting them is that you really should strip the old finish, sand them down, which is hard work and prime with a high adhesion primer. You need a top quality paint and even then the paint will only look good for a few years. Regular paint scratches and marks easily.

I have found a really interesting product, Rust-Oleum Transformations. I haven’t used it yet, but it looks like a really good product that is DIY  friendly. Check out the link below to see all about the product!

There are a number of ‘transformation kits’. There is one to refinish your cabinets with paint colour and one for stain colours. There is a transformation kit for counter tops as well. They even offer a kit for wood floors, tiles and furniture!

If you are willing to put in the work, you could refinish the cabinets, counters, backs plash and floor, all with a Rust-Oleum kit!

As I said in the beginning, I have not used these products yet but they looked so interesting that I thought that I should pass on my DIY find. I will be trying it out for myself in the near future, I think.