Getting Ready to Enjoy your Outdoor Living Space

Each year it seems that outdoor patio furniture is becoming more and more functional and better looking. The styles are so vast, ranging from cast iron-looking aluminum dining sets, to weathered wood-looking metal tables, to woven wicker (plastic) sectionals, to colourful plastic molded stackable chairs.

Here is a small selection of furniture that outdoor entertainers, loungers and diners can be enjoying this summer in their outdoor living space:

PVC wicker lounge set with Sunbrella fabric – Villa Cabana.

outdoor living space ideas pvc furniture


This curved love seat with a ledge for books or an umbrella drink is the perfect furniture piece for any patio. The PVC wicker is lightweight and durable. But really when you’re curled up and engrossed in your summer novel, those two details are the last things on your mind.



Steel frame dining set with all-weather Olefin fabric.

Gluckstein dining set - Tudor

Gluckstein dining set – Tudor

This type of dining set is easy to maintain and will not get blown over in sudden summer wind storm. The neutral colour of the seat cushions is the perfect backdrop for any touches of colour in your accent pillows, table accessories or flowers from your garden.

Aluminium and faux wood 




Funky plastic stackable chairs like these from the Italian furniture company Calligaris. Of course this may not be everyone’s style of outdoor furniture, but for those of you who love a modern chair, you certainly do not have to compromise here. Both of these chairs come in bright colours (the new fashion trend right now) such as fuchsia, green, red, orange and white.

Area 51 Chair by Calligaris

Area 51 Chair by Calligaris

Hero chair by Calligaris

Hero chair by Calligaris









And as a decorator, I would be remiss not to point out a few outdoor accessories to complement your new furniture.

1) Stylish accessories. Entertaining is a big part of our time outdoors during the warmer months. So not only do we need to have comfortable seating, but we also want functional, stylish accessories like these colour dishes from Brian Gluckstein that can be found at The Bay, Pier1 Imports and Pottery Barn. Colour is the new trend for outdoor dinnerware.







Pottery Barn outdoor dishes

Pottery Barn

2) Outdoor area carpets. You can have style and function when it comes to outdoor carpets. Most of these carpets can easily be hosed off and hung over the fence to dry.

Surya outdoor carpets










3) Umbrellas. This cheerful red two-tiered umbrella is from Pier1 Imports. It’s a great way to add colour to your patio.

Pier 1 umbrella

This modern parasol is the perfect sun shade but even in the evening, it can give you shelter from the elements while giving you overhead lighting.

Kosmos Parasol from Living Space

Kosmos Parasol from Living Space


4) Ambient Lighting. Real and flame-less candles encased in any of these pretty candelabras will cast a beautiful light to an evening outdoor party .

Gluckstein Lanterns

Oil Lamp from Inform Interiors


I just love these LED light planters. They add ambient light with style and function. You can use them as a planter or as a cooler for your summertime drinks.







Right now retailers and wholesalers are promoting their outdoor furniture, and its a good time to start thinking about the kind of furniture you might enjoy so you’ll be able to purchase it before they are sold out.

What will you be sitting on when you are spending time in your outdoor area?

If you would like help styling your outdoor space, click here to send me an email.



How to be Trendy with Tangerine in 2012

The new “it” colour in design for 2012 is Tangerine Tango. This has been determined by PANTONE® which is the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries which ranges from fashion, graphic design, plastics, automotive and paints.

I like what Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®, says about this year’s color:  “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

So should a report like this be the reason why you will rush to your local paint store to purchase gallons of this paint colour or why you might order new living room drapes in this colour? I mean, don’t the decorating magazines tell us not to decorate our homes in “short shelf life” trendy ways?

Well, I think there are ways to incorporate trendy colours into our home without making a huge commitment to the trend (unless of course, you just LOVE this trendy colour and you want to enjoy throughout your home).

It is important to know what the latest trends are because truthfully, we all want to be stylish in one way or another.  We all desire the hottest digital item or the newest spring fashion shoes. Even though we know that something better is going to come along in a year or two, we still rush out to buy the hot, right-this-minute item. It’s just our human nature. So why do we deny ourselves the latest trendy style in home decorating?  Trends can become timeless so if you love it, why not use it?

To help you find ways to incorporate this punchy, exotic and energizing colour into your home décor, I’ve found a collection of photos that show off this colour in various room settings and products.


BM sitting room



Kate Spade Bathroom

 tangerine accents

Sarah Richardson Hilltop



Bamboo bowl


West Elm nightstand


tangerine artwork

Kate Spade dining room


tangerine accents

Orange accents


Farrow & Ball Charlotte’s Locks

And this last photo is from a bed & breakfast that I stayed at when I was in the Netherlands this fall. The wall colour in most of the homes we were in were white or off white and the trim, doors and accents were in a bright or deep colour.  It looked colourful, fresh and novel.

Photo by Nancy DeVries

But  if you’re not ready to bring it into your home, you can try it on at your local Superstore.

Latest fashion from Joe at your local Superstore

Latest fashion from Joe at your local Superstore

Tangerine Tango is a fun, sassy color for 2012! I suggest bringing it into your home first with accessories – such as pillows, warm winter throws, lamp shades, or other decorative accessories. If you love the color and you are ready to take the plunge, I suggest pairing it with colors such as navy blue, white, black, taupe, beige and even purple! You can create your own wallpaper effect with Tangerine Tango by creating a wall stencil, then using the color to create a bold, unique pattern on your wall.”  David Bromstad – host of HGTV Color Splash

So how will you use Tangerine Tango this year?

If you would like help with your colour selections, click here to book your appointment with Nancy.



How to make the best first impression of your home. Part 2

6. Coordinate your house numbers and mailbox.

Updating your house numbers and mailbox is one thing, but why not make them a matching set? And to make sure that your house numbers are visible from the road, step across the street to confirm that they are easily spotted.

First impression homes

7. Add a bench or chair to your entry.

Having a place to rest your bags – or yourself! – when you get home after a long day is the nicest way to come home. Dress up the chair or bench with colourful toss or seat cushions that should coordinate with the colours of your home.

first impression homes

8. “Spit and shine” your door hardware.

Door hardware is a very important décor feature of your door. Consider matching the metal of the hardware to your mailbox and house numbers. You can also add a matching metal door kick plate which can add a look of elegance to your home. If you have brass door hardware and it’s looking a little worn, check out this link on how to spruce it back to a shiny finish.

exterior door hardwareexterior door hardware









9. Accessorize your front porch.

There are lots of great outdoor accessories like glass lanterns filled with sand & candles, welcome signs, baskets with flowers, colourful toss cushions, decorative outdoor area rugs or decorative stone pots. But remember, less is more!









10. Make sure your doorbell works as it announces your guests.

The doorbell is the first piece of hardware your guests notice when visiting your home.  Make a memorable best first impression of your home with a high quality and unique doorbell.


How to make the best first impression of your home. Part 1

2. Put down a new front door mat.

Whether you prefer functional or whimsical, refresh your entry with a colourful, humourous or just a plain new doormat that makes you smile when you get to your door.

3. Brighten up your entryway with a new light.

There is a good selection of affordable outdoor light fixtures in various styles.  Choose a fixture that matches the architectural style of your home.  Some lights are motion sensitive, while others can be put on dimmers, allowing you to control the mood lighting so you can enjoy your front porch at night without feeling like you are in a spot light.

Restoration Hardware


4. Seasonal plants in a stylish planter.

If you are not a green thumb kind of person, you can purchase beautiful premade planters and hanging baskets at your local garden centre or grocery store. For those who love playing in the dirt, get creative with your planters and recycle unused items such as old watering cans or teapots.

5. Match all your front facing window coverings.

This is one decorating must-do to make your home look put together from the curb. When all your windows are dressed the same, your home will look uniform.


Nantucket entry


Refresh your bedroom into a stylish, cozy space

How many of you can honestly say that you just love being in your bedroom because it makes you feel relaxed and cozy? I wonder if it is more than half of us. Even for my own bedroom, I feel like it is a work in progress, and so I was inspired to write this article. What would I do to make my bedroom more of a stylish, cozy space?

Make your own headboard

I built my own headboard using an old door, quilting batting and a remnant of fabric from the Robert Allen showroom. Some other headboard ideas would be using stylish old doors, decorative screens, or a custom made fabric headboard.  For those of you who have had the same dark wood headboard for the past 25 years that you still like, why not consider painting it a white or cream colour to freshen up the look?

Custom headboard

Custom headboard by Urban Aesthetics

Antique wood doors as headboard

Painted wood slat headboard

Refresh your walls

We all know that a new wall colour can transform a room and that couldn’t be more true than in your bedroom. Whether it is creating an accent wall (usually the headboard wall) or tackling the whole room, consider toned colours that will make you feel calm and serene. If you want to add pattern, chose a large patterned design wallpaper you feel you will love for a few years.

Subtle lattice patterned wallpaper blends in with the colour of the tuffed headboard

Wallpaper accent wall – House of Turquoise

Change up your bedding

Choices for bedding styles and colours have never been so plentiful, so why not give yourself the flexibility of changing your bedroom style just by changing your duvet cover? But remember, if you are going to purchase new bedding and you want to repaint or wallpaper your room, find your bedding first and use that as your inspiration for what to put on your walls.


Master Bedroom custom bedding and drapes

Designer fabrics made into custom bedding for this Master Bedroom – Design by Urban Aesthetics

Upgrade your window coverings

Did you know that getting the proper amount of good sleep is imperative to our well-being. Room darkening shades can help get that much needed rest, and keep your room as dark as you would like, allowing your body, mind, and soul to recuperate. Some window blinds also help with sound absorption, for those of you living in highrises on busy streets. The cost of these options are a small price to pay for years of good night’s sleeping.

Hunter Douglas Duette Blackout Shades

Hunter Douglas A Deux sheer and blackout roller shade

Change your overhead lighting mood

Some bedrooms do not have a ceiling mounted light fixture, but for those who do, how many  have the typical “boob” light fixture? It’s time to change that up! There are so many fabulous overhead ceiling light fixtures available in all styles and prices.


Beautiful chandelier adds style and drama to this bedroom

So get out your step ladder and electrical toolkit or hire your handy brother-in-law to install a new chandelier or funky drum shade light fixture. You will just love how much that can change the light quality of your space! And don’t forget to purchase a dimmer switch so you can create a cozy mood as you create your new tranquil escape into dreamland!