Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cheap Chic - Tips for decorating on a budget

 I love helping my clients out anyway I can.  Here are some questions that I'm asked fairly often

Can you share your favourite budget decorating tips?

Best tip - don't be a snob when it comes to decorating your space.  You can find amazing objects that speak to you know matter where you go to shop.  Personalization is the key to good decor.  I have frames family photos in my family room in cool contemporary frames in a gallery style arrangement.  In my dining room, I have a blend of a harvest table with steel legs, leather parson chairs and a mix of old and modern art. In my powder room, I have some very abstract art painted by an Elephant hanging above my towel bar. Regardless of what space you are designing in your home, the first element should be things that reflect who you are.  Your home should tell your story and the way you do that is through your things.  they show where you've been, who you love (or loved) and who you aspire to be.

pretty pops of color

Any advice for entertaining on a budget?

Entertaining can be intimidating but I think simple is best.  Setting the table can really set the scene.  It doesn't have to be formal.  For Thanksgiving this year, I plan to dress my table with craft paper (perfect for the kids and spills) it gives a relaxed feel.  I also have an over sized bowl with fall gourds. Woven placements, simple cream napkins, mason jars for water, and votive candles to set the casual but festive mood.  If you aren't a great cook or juts don't have the time - don't be afraid to host a potluck just be sure to organize it so you don't have 3 sweet potato casseroles!  Be sure to create a relaxed and inviting space with lots of seating - food and wine!


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Home and Design Show Sept 27-29

If you are in Ottawa this weekend (Sept 27-29) be sure to come by the Home and Design Show and check out my presentation about condo decorating.  I will be teaming up with Marnie Bennet from the Bennett Property Shop, she will be talking about buying a condo.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Farmhouse Kitchen Style

It seems like we are getting back to basics when it comes to home renovations and design style.  We are turning back to 'simpler times' for inspiration and for the kitchen especially - it is the heart and soul of the home - so not only should it look beautiful but it should also be functional. 


If you are considering a farmhouse kitchen renovation in your home, here are the essentials in a farmhouse kitchen -

1.  A generous sized island.  Sp practical for serving and for prepping.  Stock the island with an over sized sink, dishwasher, microwave shelving ,open or glass shelving and don't forget seating.   The kitchen island is always the 'hang out' in the space so going bigger is something you will not regret. 

2.  Storage.  If you have some odd corners consider custom cabinetry for more storage, these spaces are perfect for storing entertaining essentials like extra stemware, table linens and stoneware.  You can customize these pieces to look like old farmhouse style freestanding furniture with upper glass panel doors with mullions and long drawers.

3.  A Warm Colour Palette.  when we think of southern living and farm tables we think warm and welcoming.  So make the colour palette warm - you can still use darker tones but aim for subtle contrast as high contrast in this style of kitchen is a bit harsh.


4.  Simple Cabinetry.  Shaker style, bead board details and v-groove give enough detail but stay true to the 'simpler time' look.  The farmhouse kitchen is usually a large one so a lot of detail can look too busy in the space. 

5.  A functional layout.  In this style of kitchen, the placement of everything is straightforward so that it all works in harmony.  Even though a kitchen is large you still do not want any wasted space, always consider the work triangle.

6.  Symmetry.  The cabinets, pendants and counter top configuration from one side of the kitchen to the other need to be as close to exact matches as possible.  Oh course, there will be some different elements (like what is actually on the counter top) but keep size, scale and balance in mind.  The eye is naturally attracted to symmetry, so trust yourself if you feel like something is off balance.

7.  Paneled Appliances.  Remember a 'simpler time' is key.  So you can still have multiple (Big family? Consider two dishwashers and two ovens) and/or sized appliances but consider paneling the refrigerator and other appliances like the dishwasher in panels that match the cabinetry - it gives a seamless look in the kitchen

8.  Hardwood floors.  Hardwood in the kitchen is such a warm look, the stain and the natural material brings the farmhouse into the kitchen, the wider the plank the more authentic it will look.  Other great options, if you love the look of natural wood - butcher block counter top on the island or barn beam legs for the island. 

Remember, if this farmhouse kitchen is just too country or too southern living for you - you can always take elements of the style and make them more modern.  An over sized island with sleek cabinetry in bright white or a pop of bright colour and a caeserstone counter top is fabulous!

Or, a functional layout and symmetry work for all styles of kitchens.  And customizing odd areas of your home with storage options is always practical.

You can always work with the basics and put your own spin on it!

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Bathroom Vanities for Every Size

Even though the bathroom is the smallest rooms in the house, it is also one of the most used rooms in the house - so shouldn't it be fabulous?

Whether you are renovating just for yourself or looking to update in order to sell - don't ignore the bathroom!  It's a hot spot for buyers.

So if you are considering a bathroom renovation, take a look at this checklist of things to consider before you start -

1.  How many people will be sharing the bathroom? If there are 3 or more you will probably need two sinks.

2. Do you have a linen closet? Towels eat up valuable space.  If you don't have room for a closet (or it's not in the reno budget) look for a vanity will also serve as a linen closet, consider one with open lower shelves to stack towels and face cloths

3. Tight space? Of course you want to maximize the amount of vanity space in the bathroom but be sure to measure everything.  Measure to make sure you can freely open any doors and drawers before you buy.  What's the point in a vanity if you can't use the storage space?

4.  What's included? Some manufacturers and some sell everything separately offer all-in one (sink, counter top and faucet)  and in other cases you need to source out the faucet and sink on your own.  So make sure you know what's included when you go to buy.

5.  Tight budget? Want a new vanity but can afford it? How about dressing up what you have with paint and/or new hardware.  Also try updating the mirror - it doesn't have to be expensive but something with a thicker or shiny frame looks more custom made. It can make a world of difference.

Vanities for small spaces:

- Round.  Round vanities with legs keep a tight space from feeling crowded.  Look for one with a drawer and a shelf that will also provide some storage, too.

 - Wall mount.  Wall mounted vanities are great for smaller spaces as they offer storage but because they are open at the bottom they don't have all of the bulk.  Plus it is so easy to clean underneath wall mount vanities.

- Dresser style.  Could be new or a converted vintage piece.  It offers deeper drawers that you can easily add dividers too (or just use baskets inside, if you aren't handy) to help you stay organized.  And with a smaller sink you an have more counter space

 Vanities for medium spaces :

- Double Doors. A re-imagined dresser as a bathroom vanity allows for so much storage and counter space, too.

- Off side.  A floating vanity (aka wall mount) is a modern and airy approach.  By setting the sink off center you get much more counter space and still lots of storage with open and/or closed shelving- open shelves are perfect for things that you use everyday that are also attractive.

- Farmhouse style.  A large farmhouse style sink gives you a large sink and works well with a wider space.  Try wall mounted faucets to give it a streamlined look (it keeps the counters clear).  the wall mount faucet is also great for vessel sinks.

Vanities for large spaces:

- Long and lean.  If you can, go for length - you won't ever regret having all of the storage.  Be sure to have a mix of drawers and cabinets.  when doing a long wall of cabinets, try putting on some legs (short block ones are just fine) they will make the piece (and the whole space) feel and look less heavy. Personally, when there is a lot of cabinetry in a bathroom I like to opt for lighter tones like white, cream, soft grey or lighter wood tones it i more calming.

-  Open up.  If you have a large bathroom you might have other options for storage like a linen closet or linen tower. An open vanity can make any space feel very airy and light.  Opting for something sculptural will make the space feel beautiful.  The exposed piping can act as a handy towel rack, too.


-  Take a seat.  If the space allows consider a make up station within the counter.  Think about location of the make up station, personally I think it is best at the opposite side of the sink in order to keep everything dry. A make up station also looks great when centered between two vessel sinks.


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Friday, September 13, 2013

Sit Down! A Lesson in Sofas

Sofas count as one of the biggest furniture purchases you will make, so be sure you know what you are getting into and make the right buy for you!


You need to find the right style and the right size for your space.  It also needs to suit your body while seated and while reclined, there's nothing like a lazy Sunday lounging and napping on the sofa...So before you commit to a new model or a custom design don't be afraid to settle in at the showroom.

The right depth in a sofa means your feet can lightly touch the ground.  Do you prefer a firm or soft cushion? Is the arm rest at the right height for holding a drink? Do you want a higher arm rest so you can also use it as a back rest for movie nights in?

I think if you are going to spend on a sofa you are best to stick with a classic shape (if you do something bolder you can get it re-upholstered and it will look great because the lines are timeless).  Here I will walk you through different and classic styles of sofas, plus what other details to look for:

It's all in the details -

- button tufting and tonal piping add distinction
- fringe introduces more texture for a traditional and formal look
- all over stripes can add a modern feel to any traditional piece
- casters add luster to a short, turned leg
- lower arms are comfortable for napping
- a deep box pleated skirt adds a feminine touch to a sofa and as a bonus the area can be used as hidden storage
- nail head trim and a block foot give the sofa a tailored look.
- mixing solids with prints is playful and fun and can really show off your personal style.


Ask about the fabric selection and think about your lifestyle.  Do you have pets? Do you have kids? Will you allow food and drink in the room? Personally, I love leather for pets and kids (even messy husbands) it is easy to care for and clean and it ages beautifully.  Stick with natural fabrics like linen, cotton, silk and wool in formal rooms those sofas that won't be taking a big beating.  Synthetic fabrics are better options for withstanding mildew, piling and shrinking but they wrinkle and can fade in the sun

It's what's inside that counts....

1.  Foam core with feather is best for a slouchy look but not messy.
2. High density foam is best for a clean and modern cushion.  Best for tuxedo styles
3. Foam core with polyester wrap best for a relaxed look that delivers softness and comfort

 Think print - have a sofa that needs a fresh look? Add a bold pattern to totally transform the look. What about the cost? the cost to re-upholster an existing sofa is about 10-20% less than the cost of an entirely new sofa but if the sofa needs repairs the total price can equal the cost of a new sofa.


This is another timeless piece.  It is often skirted but with a relaxed vibe and you often see it slipped covered in white.  This is a go to for family rooms and dens.  It is also a breezy and casual look for a cottage, too. The large rolled arm is perfect for perching!


Debonair just like the name, it is streamlined and really suits contemporary spaces.  It has a boxy profile with NO curves, tufted and plain cushions.  It pairs beautifully with shapely pieces like lamps and tables.There are variations on this style - you will see some that are quite modern and others that are more classic


 This style has low arms which can really help a small room or a small open space feel bigger.  the combination of a high tight back, loose seat cushions and low arms make it very comfortable.  This sofa is traditionally un-skirted and accented with a turned leg with or without casters.


The masculine chesterfield has a tufted detail and a sense of real solidity.  The arms and the back tend to be the same height.  It's a natural fit for a den or library especially when upholstered in a cognac hue leather, but it can also look very pretty in pastel.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How About A Halloween Cocktail Party?

Halloween is such a fun and festive time of year..check your calendar because it's not that far away! 

Halloween tends to be focused on the kids - the costumes, the decor and the candy but what about the grown ups? The adults should have a wicked good time, too.

So why not host a Halloween Cocktail Party, this year?


Think of a great theme - something cool and creepy... Ask guests to come in the outfit they'd like to buried in, to give the party theme an interesting a twist. 

Picture dim rooms with candle light and soft yet spooky sounds in the air, orange background with spiders, snakes and crows strategically scattered, and pumpkins, too and serve up some orange satin cosmos and a devilishly tasty buffet. 

Your guests will be under your spell....

Decor: Honor the holidays classic colour combo.  An orange palette with black accent works perfectly for evening.  Near the front door, welcome guests with lanterns and/or candles to set the spooky scene.  always have a core hosting area with seating and surface areas for food and drinks.  Have autumn inspired florals if that's your thing but don't be afraid to have spiders, snakes, ravens, cats and skulls as a centerpiece and lots of cobwebs to make it extra scary.  Black and orange candles look incredible for Halloween.  And if you really want to take it to a new level, try a black feathered 'Christmas' tree but hang various Halloween finds like bats, skeletons and more

 Food: bowls of candy are a no brainer and a must.  But for real food try items that are seasonal and easy.  Pumpkin soup, mango-squash salsa, any munchies with cheese and fig are fabulous, veggies and dip (so easy and always a hit),


Music: Try a mix of songs that relate to the theme of Halloween - add these to your party playlist
Thriller by Michael Jackson (of course),
Monster Mash,- Bobby Pickett and the Crypt Kickers
 I put a spell on you - Nina Simone
Spooky - Atlanta Rhythm  Section
Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.
Witchy Woman - Eagles
Runnin' with the Devil - Van Halen
A Nightmare on My Street - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Time Warp - Rocky Horror Picture Show
Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon

Drinks: I like a self serve bar at this type of event.  It's not a formal party so keep it casual.  It is nice to greet guests with a signature drink like an Orange Satin Cosmo .  In a large ice filled pitcher stir together 8 cups of vodka, 2 1/2 cups of mango juice, 2 1/2 cups of Cointreau or Triple Sec, 1 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice and 7 tbsp of super fine sugar.  Mix well and strain into cocktail glasses.  Garnish with black licorice sticks.  This serves about 20.  And, ALWAYS have non-alcoholic options for those who aren't drinking but still want to party!

Orange satin cosmo

But other great choices (for any party, really) Chardonnay and Shiraz are great Fall season go-tos.

How to pull it together in an organized way.

1.  Send invites out about 3 weeks before the date.  Halloween is once a year, so there could be lots of parties.

2. Two weeks before hand, buy your decor, this way the stores won't be too picked over.

3.  About 10 days before, get the candy and the liquor

4. One week before - get the wine and prep your playlist

5. 2 days before get the groceries

6. Night before start setting the scene.  First adjust any furniture that may need to be moved out or just out of the way.  I also like to do some decorating the night before.

7. Morning of, arrange flowers and chill the wine

8. 4 hours before, make some cocktails and prep the salsa, stock the bar

9. 1 hour before, remove cheese from fridge and assemble any salads you might be serving but do not dress

10. 30 minutes before,pre heat oven for any hot apps

11. 20 minutes before,  put hot apps in the oven and set out bowls of candy, light candles, start music

12. Once guests have arrived, dress the salads and set up the hot and cold apps and desserts are to be served later.

13.  Have a frightfully good time with your friends and family.....

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hot Look - Colourful Kitchens

If you are considering a major kitchen renovation or just a small update, have you considered colour in your kitchen?  White and Wood are classic and cool but colour in the kitchen is a great way to surround yourself with some real personality.  This is a great option is you have an older home or a newer more modern home, and this is also a great idea if you have a rental property that needs some sprucing up - it gets you a new kitchen without breaking the bank.

A few tips for colourful cabinetry.

1 - Keep everything else in the space neutral.  So the back splash, the counter top and the floors need to play a supporting role.

2.  Pick a colour that works with the time period of your home and your current decor.  If you have an older home, try looking at Historical Collection colours.  If you have a more modern space you can go in just about any direction (time period wise) so try and keep it in line with your decor.

3.  Painting a room is different that painting a cabinet, so ask for professional advice before starting or look into having it professionally done.

4.  And if you are not sure about committing to colour try it out on an island or perhaps just the lower cabinets.  These colours paired with classic white and wood work beautifully (see the image with white and black cabinets)

Some favourtite colour choices-

Yellow look great paired with slate grey or black accents.  Yellow can look a bit country but paired with those darker accents gives it more of a contemporary flair with warmth

- Custard cream (6093-42) Sico
- June day (SW6682) Sherwin-Williams


Buttercream is softer than white and prettier than vanilla, it looks like first daylight coming through the window.

- Italian Straw (POR-1752-000) Pratt & Lambert
- Acacia (50YY 83/200) CIL
- Warm Hug (111-2) Beauti-Tone


Cornflower Blue is a versatile shade that can swing from beach to modern, it just depends on how you style it.  It also makes warm metal look especially beautiful.

- Demi-Lune (6009-42) Sico
- Strong Winds (P5101-52) Para Paints
- Cook's blue (237) Farrow & Ball

Leaf Green is a bold and crisp colour but still livable, it adds a fresh spring feel all year long.

- Baby Fern (2029-20) Benjamin Moore
- Clean Green (P5041-82D) Para Paints
- Mountain botanical (6010-9) Valspar

Hunter Green either matte or glossy is a deep and rich hue that gives kitchen an old world look.

- Evergreen (SW-6447) Sherwin-Williams
- Tree Top (CLV 1147N) General Paint

Tuxedo Black paired with true white and pale marble for an elegant look with glamour and edge.

- Black (2131-10) Benjamin Moore
- Pluto (6024-83) Sico

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mix and Match Fabrics a pro

Give your home a polished and coordinated look with these design tips.

1.  Establish your palette.  It's important to have one fabric in the space that pulls it all together.  So look for a pattern that includes all of the colours in the room. Could be used as drapes or pillows - that doesn't matter so much just as long as it is there.  See below, how the upholstered dining chairs link the trim and wall colour plus the floral also makes a connection with the art display

2.  Layer Patterns with Pillows.  I love to do this in model homes that I style, it shows personality.  Mix patterns and colours that work well together o you can combine them in different ways throughout the space without  interrupting the scheme.  I even like to have custom pillows made with one pattern on one side and another on the other side, any easy trick to get two pillows for the price of one! Here we have a calming set up with a fresh palette and Ikat pillows and a pop of yellow

3. Add interest with trim.  The difference is in the details.  A band at the base of a sofa skirt adds polish or try a trim of nail heads along the seams of a dining chair or armchair it adds some bling and it looks more sophisticated. they added a touch of personality to this basic sofa with a teal trim which coordinates with the colour palette and adds some really pop!


4. Repeat pattern for consistency. You don't want too many patterns in a room, especially on large pieces of upholstery - it starts look crazy!  Use your curtain fabric on a small ottoman or chair to create a connection between the window and the seating area. Here we see a great mix of patterns, stripes and floral traditional and classic style.  You can see how the bed frame and the roman shade are in the same fabric.

5.  Ground the room with solids.  You need solid to create a foundation.  I like solids on the bigger furniture pieces like sofas.  solid are a great back drop for the patterns but they also allow the lines of the piece to be highlighted and appreciated. Plus they have more longevity in terms of style.  A cream sofa will remain in style a lot longer than a patterned one. In this image, we see a great basic sofa with bold colour, patterned pillows and an area rug.


6.  Use a range of scales and styles.  Choose a mix of large and small scale designs and a variety of patterns.  Yes, you can mix florals, stripes and plaid.  stay with colours that are complementary but don't feel tied to having an exact colour match.  One pattern needs to stand out more than the other, see the image below - the orange floral is bold and really makes a statement and the blue stripe is more subtle but complimentary.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Keeping it Family Friendly

When you move into a home with your family, you have so many ideas and dreams of how you want the space to look but...will it work with your lifestyle?

I believe you can use any decor style(contemporary, traditional, country, modern and more)  in a family home but just be smart about where to spend, where to save and what will work plus a few easy tips; and you can still have a stylish home for the whole family.

Yes!  a family home can be stylish, too!

In the dining room, if this is a space that you plan on having family meals - I would opt not to have a area rug.  Why? Because you will be forever cleaning it, so keep the floor bare and appreciate the beauty of your flooring.  This will save you time and energy and maybe once the kids are older and less messy, you can introduce a rug into the space.


For the dining chairs, again if this is a space that your children will be eating in - think about your chairs.  Are they upholstered? If so, what is the fabric?  In my dining room, my husband and I purchased some leather dining chairs although we would have preferred a softer textile, the leather is so much easier to clean (just a damp cloth and bingo!  Done) And in our eat-in kitchen we purchased some (easy to clean) metal chairs from Urban Barn.  They look great, fit in our budget and most of all can easily be cleaned!  Perfect for a family home

For area rugs, I like to purchase rugs of natural materials like a sisal because again it can handle traffic, be cleaned easily and it wears well plus it looks great with neutral palettes.  But if natural woven rugs aren't your thing I'd look for mid to darker tones in a pattern again it can hide spills more easily than something light.  With younger children, look for economical options that are stylish - there's a good chance these rugs will need to be replaced in the future so don't blow the bank. And always read the care instructions to know how to clean otherwise your dry cleaning bill could be outrageous!


Look for stores that allow trial runs and have a return policy.  This will help you to avoid costly mistakes.   It can be tough to see how a piece will look in your space until it's actually in the space.  You need to find what works for you and yes, it requires some patience but it will be worth it!

Don't rule out custom pieces.  space is always a premium and you always want to make the most of it.  Not every custom piece will blow the bank so be smart and shop around.  If you know you will be in the home for quite a while, the custom option might be the best option if it allows you to make the most of your space.  Pieces that offer double or triple duty are often custom made and the fact that they serve multiple purposes is worth the extra cost and wait. A perfect sectional sofa with a sleeper is a worthwhile wait and expense.

Don't be afraid to personalize pieces like hand-me downs.  We all have them, even when we are at a point in our lives where we have a career and kids we still have hand-me downs but sometimes just a bit of creativity can take a so-so piece to the next level.  Paint, new hardware, fabric and maybe even stone can make a world of difference.  Ask for some professional assistance and your piece can have a whole new life.

Work with what you have.  Try re-purposing things even if they aren't your favourite - it gives you a new look and for free.  Sometimes a new location gives it a new life or instead of buying all new, just add to it.  Let's say you have some old boring beige bedding, add a richer or more colourful set of pillows and a throw to change the look for less.

Budget tips:

- look online for discounts on high end pieces.,, are some great places to start.  You can also find unique pieces on

- if you have found a number of items at one online store, put them in your basket and wait a while you will like after 24 hrs receive an email from the company offering you a discount of those items in your basket

- art doesn't need to be expensive.  Try framing your own photographs or your children's art in some frame with over sized mattes to give it an elevated look. Plus I love photos of my kids and their art pieces in their bedrooms and rec room, they are so proud to see their art on display!

So where to spend? 
Spend on  classic cabinetry (not necessarily formal) if you are renovating pick a stain or colour and style of cabinet that won't be seen as trendy, same goes for the counter and tile.  If you have it in your budget, go with a stone counter top.  Keep it neutral, too

Spend on a lighting design and the lighting fixtures.  Making sure you have plenty of light when you need and want it and always use dimmer switches.

Spend on quality paint, it shows better and lasts longer.  And usually you end up spending just as much on cheap paint if not more.

Furniture that is made of real materials so a solid wood bookcase or trunk will always be worth it and as you move around it will hold up and can be used in many different areas of the home.

Remember if you love something, furniture, mirror, fabulous art piece you can spend a bit more because you will always make room for it.

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