Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Selling and Seasonal Decor

Fall is almost here....I love the fall season!  It's such a beautiful time - crisp air, colourful leaves and harvest time delights.

So now that the harvest season is upon us many of us like the celebrate the new season with festive decor.  Beautiful leaves, corn, pumpkins, gourds, hay and more....but if you are selling your home is this type of decor appropriate? 

After speaking with some local Realtors, they all say YES but in moderation.

Having a fall inspired wreath and the door paired with some pumpkins and gourds in a basket is both warm and welcoming but too much can make the entry feel cluttered and cramped which are negatives when it comes to selling your home.  Emphasizing your porch with pumpkins or a fall pillow on a bench is a positive and buyers will feel warm and fuzzy!



So what about holiday decor?  Well, that too can create an inviting atmosphere but again don't go over board, keep it simple and nothing religious.

For Halloween, keep it tame.  The zombies, skulls and all the gore can go with you to the next home.  If you love the holiday or have little ones that do and need to decorate, less really is more.  Keep it low key and mild.  Not everyone will want to see blood dripping down the windows and dead bodies cut in half with a chainsaw lying on the front lawn plus all of this decor takes away from the home and is very distracting!  Most buyers won't  be able to see past it and there's a very good chance they won't be a second showing.


*This is too much.  It's fun and probably the talk of the street but not good for selling.  It's just overwhelming and distracting!

The Christmas Season  is a tougher time to sell. Fewer buyers are out there but don't forget that if there are buyers out there, they want to buy.  So be sure to focus on having an appealing exterior.
Wreaths, Christmas trees, lights and bows are beautiful and when used correctly can not only create a loving atmosphere but they can highlight gorgeous features of the home like a stunning staircase, high ceilings, over sized windows, and set the scene for the buyers who might be imaging themselves hosting a Christmas dinner in the home. But again, keep it simple, I cannot stress that enough.

1. Don't bring every item out.  The front lawn, the roof and the entry steps do not need to be covered in lights, blow up Santas and glowing reindeer.  Try a wreath and a natural planter at the entry and simple lights highlighting the roof line or a great front yard tree.

2. Religious or too personal (say a family photo of you dressed like Santa's elves) items should stay packed away until you are in your new home. They turn off some buyers. 

3.  Keep the clutter minimal.  Don't fill up every square inch with seasonal decor, it makes the space look and feel small plus from a decor point of view, you can't appreciate the beauty of the decor pieces when there are too many lumped together.No one wants a small or squishy home.

4.  Having a theme (colour theme or a style like modern or country) creates a cohesive look in the home and looks put together.  This will make your home, the home buyers dream of.  Looks matter when it comes to selling your home

5.  Less is more. Ask a friend or honest family member if your seasonal decor is too much.
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Selling your home can be a stressful experience and it is important to live your life but if you don't want your home to just sit on the market be sure to always have it looking it's best.  Simplicity is really beautiful.


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Monday, August 26, 2013

Whoooooo loves Halloween?

My kids are obsessed with Halloween and really who doesn't love this spooky holiday!

They have already picked out their costumes (Tiger, Robot and Princess) and they can't wait to start decorating the house

Last year, with Hurricane Sandy blowing through we didn't get the chance to really decorate the exterior, but this year we will make up for it!

Here are some ideas I'm going to try this year!

1.  Paper lanterns with votive candles.  Very easy and great for younger children who want to participate in the fun.  White paper bags are best, let them colour the exterior or paste black spooky shapes like cats, witches and ghosts (you can find great pre-cut Halloween shapes at craft stores.  Place them up the stairs or along your walk way and be sure to place the votives inside to keep the paper put (almost like a paper weight).  Lit them up and let them glow!  But be sure to have someone home while they are lit, we don't want any accidents.

2.  Use hardware or craft store foam to create an awesome monster mouth! Be sure to ask the experts at the craft store which paint to use, you don't want the foam to disintegrate.
Monster eyes and fangs made from hardware store foam.




























3. Re-use those summertime tiki torches.  Add skulls (the dollar store has them for cheap) and poke them through the tiki torch top (before it's lit).  Line up the torches along a walkway or just pop them throughout the garden.  Again, be sure to be home when they are lit.









1 dollar for clearance torch.1 dollar for Dollar Tree Skull = nice Halloween Torch!

4.  Leave a bunch of corn brooms at the door with a parking sign.  Much tamer, won't scare the little ones and the parents will get a kick.

5.  Cobwebs! Cobwebs! And more cobwebs!  Cheap but wow, to they make an impact!  Mix them up with other cheap dollar store items like skulls, pumpkins, bats and mix some fall leaves in there too.  How about an old work bench or chair or box to hold a homemade mummy and then bring on the cobwebs.

pinner took a dollar store strofoam pressed skull used an exacto knife and cut its jaw open then re glued it so its screaming painted the inside black to give it an extra open mouth pop. covered it with cobwebs to hide the imperfections and put it on a box painted to look like a crate. cob webs and skull two buck investment.
6.  Get out the wheel barrow and fill it up with soil and dollar store bones and skulls.  Leave it on the front lawn or by the front steps.  To add extra impact, add some grave stone (made of foam) on the front lawn. Oh and don't forget the shovel!



wheelbarrow of bones
7. Pumpkins can be more than just carved!  Paint them black and light from the inside for a spooky effect.  Glue gun sparkles for some shine.  Get some inspiration from Hollywood movie make up with bruising and blood.  Check out Pinterest for ideas using wax crayons to make prettier pumpkins.  
Think about using the stem as a part of your design, like a witch's nose.


witch pumpkin halloween crafts diy

8.  Don't forget the music!  Sound effects of creaky doors, gusting winds, screams and cackles are super scary and perfect for Halloween!

9. How about a Halloween wreath?  Start with a base of black foam or feathers or even grapevine.  Add skulls, bones, spiders, baths and pumpkins.  Make one that will last year to year.  And because it isn't perishable like a carved pumpkin you can put it out as early as you like

awesome wreath from dollar store materials  Got to do this one


 10. Use fallen branches, hanging spiders and foam ravens as an arch way around the front door.  You can add a series of pumpkins, too.  This is pretty but also more age appropriate for younger children
I think I will be doing this one this year and save the spooky stuff for when my children are older.
great branch halloween pumpkin front door entry

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Renovating an urban country home

If you love the laid back look of a country home but live in an urban area, you can have both!  It's called country chic but here are some rules to renovate by.....



1.  Build smaller.  You don't need to live in a squishy Hobbit hole but try scaling down from what you think you need.  Edit your possessions to what you love the most and will actually use.  that way you will have less to clean, furnish and maintain giving you more time to kick back, relax and enjoy your surroundings.  focus on the quality of space not the quantity.

2.  Stay true to the neighbourhood.  If you are in a Historic area you will be limited by architectural controls but even if you are not in a Historic district, try staying true to the design conventions in the area like roof heights and  materials and work with them and not against them to get a home that is cohesive with the neighbourhood and not sticking out like a sore thumb.

3.  Limited palette. Have restraint when it comes to your palette.Mix wood and masonry OR glass and steel OR shingle and siding - keep an unfussy, understated look with quality materials to achieve timeless appeal.  Same goes for the interior, limit the number of paint colours and choose a paint that flows throughout the home.  Limit your flooring types too. A limited palette is not only timeless but it makes the space feel larger too.

4.  Work with the outdoors.  The best Country homes make the most of their surroundings by embracing them - keep window dressings pulled back to let the light in.  Make your porch an extension of the living room.  Add greenery in the kitchen with an herb garden.  Act like there are no walls between the inside and the outside and have a beautiful flow throughout the entire property.

5.  Country style includes shutters.  Just like drapes dress up in the windows inside, shutters do the same on the outside.  Shutters should be able to shut (or look like the can) and actually cover the window, so proportion and size are important.Each panel should measure half of the width of your window opening.

 

6.  Embrace real materials.  It's OK to mix expensive with inexpensive, that's the reality for most of us. But invest in the surface you touch everyday like counter tops and cabinets.  Research how you can get the look for less, there are tons of great ideas on the Internet.  A limestone exterior facade may not be in your budget but maybe you can do a limestone accent wall in the house instead and find a great siding option for the exterior that gives you that chic farmhouse look, for less.

7.  Re-use, re-cycle and re-purpose . Country style is laid back and easy so keep the decor simple.  things can be mismatched, old and maybe a bit shabby.  Shop at flea markets and other vintage shops for some great finds for the home.  The urban farmhouse should not look too streamlined or new.




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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to Work!

With back to school just around the corner parents everywhere are cheering and jumping for joy!  But wait...mom and dad, what about your workspace? Could it use some sprucing up?  You are spending so much time focusing on the kids and making sure they are set up for success but what about you?
Here are some tips to upgrade and improve your workspace.

1.  Start with a de-clutter.  get rid of the junk, the scrapes of paper, the pens that don't work and just the garbage that ends up lying around.

2.  Figure out what is missing.  Do you need magazine portfolios? Do you need a whiteboard/pin board?  Are you low on supplies? Make a list and a plan.



3. Lighting.  Is your office well lit?  I like an overhead lit but also a desk lamp and in a larger office space a table or floor lamp.  Remember, it doesn't have to be from an office supply store.  Check out furniture stores for some great stylish options for the office, too.

4.  Surround yourself with what you love. Work isn't necessarily always fun but surround yourself with photos of family, friends or memorabilia to remind yourself why you work so hard.  Also it adds personality to the space and for clients coming to see you at the office they get a better sense of who you are.



5.  Add some style with art, rugs and some decor pieces - again to create a beautiful space that inspires!

6.  Keep it interesting.  Yes, you need pens, tape, stick pads etc...but why not add some colour to the space with those everyday items you need.

7.  Keep it organized.  Clutter adds stress to our lives so get organized.  Have a place for everything - pens, pencils, paperclips and more...Have file folders and holders...they are so many options, clutter shouldn't be!

 

8.  Have healthy snack options at the desk like apples, trail mix or just plain nuts - even microwave popcorn is a nice treat that has health benefits too.  Have some selections of tea for chilly days....

9.  A colourful pashmina over the back of the chair adds colour and texture and it just perfect for those days when they is a little chill in the office.

10.  Have one-on-one meetings in your office or guests popping by often?  Have a fun and visually interesting yet cozy guest chair instead of something plain, boring and corporate!  It doesn't have to be expensive to have a stylish chair

 

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Selling your home? Top 10 upgrades for your home

If you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, take a look at these tips for improving the appeal of your home to buyers.  Some upgrades just aren't worth it, but for some there are huge benefits for you, the seller.

1.  The kitchen.  Buyers are willing to pay more or at least asking price if the home is 'up to date'.  the kitchen is the heart of the home and sellers will get their money back if they spend it right in the kitchen.  Even if you cannot totally gut it and put in an entirely new kitchen, you should put in certain upgrades like a stone counter top, hardwood or porcelain tiles on the floor, stainless steel appliances, and islands attract buyers.  A home with a current kitchen will get a lot of attention from buyers!

 

2.  Hardwood floors.  Especially on the main floor, and if you already have hardwood check on the condition they may need a sanding or screening with a new stain or seal.  And if they are in really poor shape, replace them with hardwood.  Hardwood is popular with everyone - it looks great, it works with any style of decor, it's easy to clean and it also works for anyone with allergies.

3.  Master ensuite.  If you have an ensuite and not all homes do, especially if they are in older neighbourhoods, be sure to have it updated.  If you cant afford a full renovation job - try updating the fixtures from brass to chrome,a new low flow toilet, a new paint colour, new towel and toilet paper bars, and rain shower heads in the shower are easy fixes. If you don't have an ensuite but you have a large master bedroom, look into using some of the bedroom and turning that into an ensuite even if it is a bit smaller - buyers are looking for ensuites.



4.  Upgraded lighting.  New lighting can completely transform a space and make it look more current. Pot lights, pendants in the kitchen and contemporary track lights can make any space look brighter and more chic. 

5.  Landscaping.  Don't forget your exterior - it's the first thing buyers (and their realtor) will see.  Keep the gardens maintained, grass cut and trees/shrubs pruned. Remove the weeds and add some mulch to really make the flower beds look manicured. Flower pots and boxes at the front entry add some colour and a welcoming feeling.



6.  Finished basements.  Aren't just a must with families.  a lot of couples buying their first place want a finished basement for various reasons - office, workout space, man cave etc...Try and make the basement look as livable as possible.  Paint, carpet, windows and lighting make a huge difference.  Keep it light and bright down there.  ceiling height in the basement is very important so be sure to have a space that is high enough.

7.  Bathrooms.  Like kitchens, no one wants to pay top dollar for a home that needs major improvements and bathrooms are a hot spot in the home.  If you can't afford a complete 'do over' in the bathroom, look at adding new lighting, paint, shower heads etc...in the other bathrooms too. 

8.  Radiator covers.  Sounds like a strange one and it doesn't apply to every home, but if you are in an older home - it's a great idea, it looks more gracious and it's a simple carpentry job.

9.  Paint.  You will get your money's worth and more with a new paint job. In a home that has smokers this is a MUST.  Stick to neutral tones throughout the home - you don't know what the buyer's personal style will be.


10.  Basic repairs.  Not really an upgrade but important.  Leaky faucets, cracked tiles, unfinished projects in the home should be fixed before buyers enter your home.  It sends the message that this home was and is cared for and loved.  It makes buyers feel reassured and confident. 


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vacation Home Decor

You might be one of the lucky ones that has a vacation home like a summer cottage on a lake or perhaps a mountain chalet...

If you are one of the lucky ones you may be thinking about making a more permanent move to the vacation residence or maybe you want to start using it as another revenue stream.

If you are in that position, think about making your vacation home look a little more 'home-like'



I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to many different places with my husband and my children - Greece, Jamaica, Mont Tremblant QC, Seattle WA, St Simons Island GA and many more.  From my experiences staying in condos, villas and homes in these amazing vacation spots I can say that the overall look played a big role in why we chose the vacation rental that we chose.

Cleanliness and budget were obvious factors but did the home have a comfortable feeling and look? Did it fit the surroundings and reflect the lifestyle?  If you are looking at renting out a vacation home remember you are fulfilling a travel fantasy so play into it.

But how your vacation rentals looks in photos is important.  If someone is spending their hard earned money on a holiday they want it to be the best one and they want a place that will be just that.

A beach house should look like one.  This about the interior paint colours - personally soft tones, like sand, various whites and beach glass are great options.  Natural materials like stone and wood feel organic and calm.  Plush towels in white give a spa like feel.  Other details like local artists' work on the walls, bowls of shells and sand, candles and sea glass accents.  Play with the local flavour - a porch swing and rocking chairs at the home we stayed at in St Simons Island, GA were just perfect for watching the rainstorms and hanging out with family on hot summer evenings.

 

A mountain home always looks great with warmer and a bit darker tones like Cognac leather club chairs, a fireplace, natural elements like stone, wood beams and slate.  Add lots of touchable textures (leather, wool, fur) and blankets for cozy winter nights.  Some great art ideas would be photography or framed maps of the area. Area rugs make a hardwood floor look and feel warmer.  In the winter months, it gets dark early so think about having lots of light (recessed or floor and table lamps)

 

If this is a great spot for families - try having board games, movies and books already there for guests to enjoy.  Kitchen items that they may need - pots, pans, cookie sheets and more...Extra linens for bed and bath.  Take-out menus and recommendations for sightseeing and restaurants.  Make your guests feel and home and they will want to come back again and again.

No matter what type of vacation rental you have, make it a true getaway for guests and yourself.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Easy Does It!

Stylish spaces don't need to be expensive to look fabulous!

Keep it simple and follow (even just some of) these simple ideas to get a chic space in no time!

1.  Start with your basics (sofa, chair(s) and perhaps accent tables) in neutral tones and clean lines.  If you are totally starting from scratch spend a bit more of your budget on these basic pieces -it's worth it!  Clean lines and neutral tones are an easy and strong foundation to work with and have endless possibilities.The items can be used in your main living area and if you do move on to a large space in the future, they can be used again but maybe in a family room or basement rec room space.

2.  Accessories make the whole look come together!  And can be budget friendly, too!  Try looking at online stores too like homesav and onekingslane

3.  Pre-made panel drapes are easy and cost effective.  I like to go with a nice neutral with some texture or a neutral-on-neutral pattern like a lattice or stripe. 

4.  Pillows pull it together!  Mix up pattern, colour and texture for a cohesive and stylish look.  Don't see what you like in your home store? Try denydesigns for something truly unique or try going to your favourite textile store and ask about getting some custom pillow covers made, it's actual a lot more affordable than people realize.  Also don't be afraid to play with the size of your pillows, we are seeing a lot of bigger pillows on sofas these days instead of lots of smaller ones.



5.  Personalize yard sale or thrift shop finds and make them funky with paint and/or new upholstery.  A formal dining chair with some paint and new fabric can take on a whole new look and act as an accent chair in the living room - a perfect idea for smaller spaces like a condo.

 

6.  Art doesn't have to be expensive to look great! Try online stores like art.com or homesav.com for great deals. Or try framing scrapbook paper and hang it in a gallery arrangement, you can also frame fabric!  Or, try framing cards or your photos with over sized mattes - it looks expensive!

7.  Area rugs always bring a room together and they help to define spaces.  But the larger area rugs are more expensive, you can always layer your rugs on the floor.  and if you have wall to wall carpet but want definition in the room you can still use a colourful area rug to do that!

 

8.  Paint is so affordable and can do some much.  If you have an odd architectural feature or an ugly fireplace try painting it.  I like to stick with neutrals, that way you can change up your accessories as often as you like without be limited by a certain paint colour.



9.  Add pieces that reflect your personality!  Like books, photographs, items from nature, wonderful treasures from your travels or a collection display it on a coffee table or bookcase.  These items act as art but also show the world who you are, plus you should surround yourself with what you love!

 

10.  Keep it clean and clutter free!  It's so much easier to care for, clutter free living reduces stress and it allows you to show off your items and they won't get lost in the mix.

11.  Combine expensive items with inexpensive items and old with new.  You will get great results from mixing it up!




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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Breaking the 'rules' of Condo Decorating

You can't do that!

You are in a smaller space now you have to change all of your furniture!

A smaller space means smaller everything

For those of you who have downsized or have moved into a chic condo with minimal square footage you've probably heard all of the 'rules' for living in smaller spaces.  But rules are meant to be broken but do it with knowledge and some style.

1- In a small space you MUST have white or light paint on the walls.

NOT TRUE.  If you love the drama and sophistication of a dark painted wall you can do it in a small space without making it feel and look like a cave but you need to create balance.  so have those navy or charcoal walls but use lighter elements like a cream or pale grey sofa, with art with lighter tones or over sized white matting.  Maybe table and floor lamps with light shades.  Balance is key.



2 - Glass furniture is tacky and trendy but when living in a space that is small it's a must.

NOT TRUE.  I love glass elements in any space (big or small).  Glass is a timeless material and certainly not trendy - it's been around for a while and isn't going anywhere.  When it comes to glass furniture it is perfect for smaller spaces because you get the surface space without all of the bulk.  I look for glass furniture that is 'classic' in style (round with a simple base in chrome or wood, rectangular with a base in chrome or wood) stay away from funky shapes and keep it simple.  And don't over do it - glass end tables, console tables, dining table and coffee table it too much!  So try a glass coffee table and maybe a dining table and your other tables in wood or other materials.



3 - Area carpets make a space choppy and look/feel smaller than it is.

NOT TRUE.  Area rugs are very important in open concept spaces as they help define the space.  But again don't over do it.  In an open concept space I would definitely have an area rug in the living room but not the dining room (ugh, more cleaning) and perhaps the bedroom or den.  Area rugs are a great way to add visual interest with pattern, texture and colour.  And be sure to find the right size - a rug that is too small will make the room look small.  Ideally your area rug will be 1-2ft from the walls. also should you go solid colour or pattern? It really depends on what you already have going on in the room.  Look at this image - there is a lot of bright and bold colour with print, too so a light cream shag with lots of texture was the right choice here.



4 - In a small space everything has to be small (art, furniture etc...)

NOT TRUE. Lots of small things in a small space will still look and feel cluttered.  Yes, you do need to scale back on the amount of items but your don't need to have smaller everything.  I love to have lots of sofa seating (for movie nights, games nights and just relaxing at home alone) so still have that 3 seater sofa or sectional and have a smaller scale accent chair.  You can still have a coffee table but you may need to go with a more narrow option.



5 - In a smaller space, you need to get rid of just about anything because you won't have any storage.

NOT TRUE. You don't need to complete purge everything you own, you still need to live!  You just have to be smart.  Your storage pieces will have to play double duty (or even triple duty).  so have an extra long TV cabinet that can act as a TV stand and storage for DVDs, board games, books and even dining room storage that you need access to but not all of the time.  Look for ottomans that can store extra blankets.  Look for bed frames that have drawers for seasonal clothing. I love the look and functionality of over sized bed side tables, you are seeing smaller dressers being used as bedside tables, they offer so much more closed storage for just about anything.   Many condos have the option to purchase storage lockers and those are great for seasonal decor and sporting equipment because you don't need those things everyday.



6 - In a smaller space, you have to keep art on the walls small and minimal.

NOT TRUE.  You can make bold and big statements with your art even in a smaller space.  If you have extra high ceilings an extremely over sized piece can help to highlight that.  Plus now that you are in a smaller space you should make the most of the wall space you do have and display all of your favourite pieces.  think about putting art in unexpected places in the home like an over sized piece powder room or a gallery display in a hallway.






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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Home Decorating: Mixed Emotions

Decorating your home is so exciting and should be lots of fun but many of my clients get confused and/or bogged down with labels like 'modern', 'contemporary' and 'traditional' and they don't know where they fit or how they want their room to work and usually just stop decorating because they don't want to make a mistake.



But here's a super simple and easy concept to follow when decorating a space.

"How do you want it to feel?"

By asking yourself that questions you will see yourself start to gravitate towards pieces, colours, textures that will evoke that feeling

So think about how you want your bedroom to feel - sexy, tranquil, soothing, exciting, romantic....

Your living/dining space - high energy, zen, calm...

Now if you want to have different 'feelings' in your home you can do that.  The easiest way to make that transition is  rooms that have a door you can start a whole new look or feeling, in the spaces that are open either combine various pieces (follow the 80/20 rule) or just stick to one and add other emotions in other rooms.



I always recommend to have some common thread from room to room especially if you live in a small space like a condo apartment.  So think about things like  streamlined furniture in neutral tones or similar window dressings, these 'standard' elements keep fluidity in the overall theme

Keep in mind that colour is a great and very easy way to tap into the emotion you want to use as your inspiration.  Darker colours tend to be rich, sophisticated and dramatic but can also be very sexy.  Bright colours are full of energy and enthusiasm, and softer tones are more soothing and calm.

Don't get caught up in all of the labels and  get stressed about what to do and how to decorate.  if you follow your heart and use your brain you will get the perfect space for you and don't forget to enjoy!



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