Today I’m excited to feature a guest post by none other than the beautiful Daniela Garritano – designer extraordinaire, and one of the competitors on the Ultimate W Expert Challenge. Daniela is available for design consultations (email her here) and you can learn more about her on her Facebook Fan Page. Without further ado, take it away Daniela!
In a less than stellar economy, we could all use a little good news when it comes to how to improve our lifestyle on a budget, right? Well, what if I told you that you could makeover your home for less than 200 hundred bucks? Pretty sweet deal I’d think. So, here are my personal tried, tested and true secrets that really go the distance. Three elements will get you farther than most, but I’ll give you 5. Because any friend of Preet, is a friend of mine!
1) Paint the town red! (Or green, or blue…)
Get your coveralls ready! Colour with paint is by far the most affordable and vital design tool. And, did you know that with a simple coat of paint, you can instantly increase the value of your home by thousands of dollars? How’s that for incentive!
Daniela’s pick: Ralph Lauren Exceptional Quality Paint, $39.99 per gallon, available at the Home Depot. They may have a limited colour palette when compared to other major paint retailers, but think of how much easier your choice will be! And the best part? The coverage is so incredible, that one coat is often all it takes! Imagine not only the time you’ll save, but also the coin, since you can likely get away with only one can as opposed to the standard two gallons for an average sized room. Happy painting!
D’s Tip: Take your paint swatch with you when you shop! You’ll have a much better idea of what to match and it will cut down on back and forth trips to the store.
2) Let there be light!
Every room needs a practical lighting plan with a mix of ambient and task lighting. So, what you want to do is softly illuminate your space through layers of diffused light. Try incorporating table-side lamps, or floor lamps to have a balanced level of background and direct lighting.
For a warm and traditional look, opt for finishes in bronze or wood. For a more modern take, chrome or brushed nickel is your best bet.
Daniela’s Pick: Style at Home Floor Lamp in Espresso, $39.99 available at Rona.
D’s Tip: Use halogen or incandescent bulbs over fluorescent ones. They are the most effective artificial light and they offer the same softness and subtly that natural light delivers.
3) Baby, pillow talk is cheap
Now, here’s your chance to really have some fun! There’s nothing that adds comfort and texture to a room quite like big squishy pillows! Their plush seduction of softness is what makes a room so inviting and they’re super affordable for a quick fix.
Silk, suede and chenille are some of the most luxurious linens. Use similar fabrics to layer in the softness with gentler hues like blues and lavenders to make a room calming and serene. For an atmosphere of warmth, choose rich dazzling jewel tones like pomegranate or topaz.
Daniela’s Pick: Faux Suede Throw Pillow, $9.99 (for a pack of two!) available at Zeller’s
D’s Tip: Instead of using multiple pillows of the same shape and size, try mixing pillows of different dimensions. Stick with the same colour scheme throughout, and you’re golden!
4) Come along with me, on a magic carpet ride…
An area rug is what I consider to be the anchor that really unifies all of the design elements together (Preet says: like the rug that really tied the room together in The Big Lebowski. Okay, I’ll shut up now.) and it’s a foolproof way to add some whimsy and texture to any room.
Don’t be afraid to add some zing! Bold patterned rugs add texture and color without being overwhelming and they have a chameleon-like effect, by blending with other colours throughout the room.
Natural or organic fibres are better choices because of their durability. They live up to high traffic areas, and are low maintenance when it comes to removing dirt and stains.
Daniela’s Pick: Select Edition 60″x 96″Area Rug in Beige, $48.88 available at Wal-mart.
D’s Tip: Look for a rug with rubber backing to hold still and prevent you from slipping and sliding all over the place! You’ll thank me for it later when your furniture doesn’t budge.
5) In Full Bloom
Whatever your style, fresh flowers really are a flawless way to pump up your space. They look fabulous and they’re an inexpensive way to add some vibrant and eye-popping graphics. And best of all, you don’t have to be a genius of floral design to pull off a hot looking arrangement!
Stuck for a vase? If it can hold water, it can hold flowers! Old watering cans and even teapots make a charming base for any arrangement.
Daniela’s Pick: Loblaws Superstore Fresh Flower 10 Day Bouquet, $9.99.
D’s Tip: To hold onto your bouquet a bit longer, look for a bunch that has yet to be in full bloom. Trim the bottoms on an angle under some running tepid water, and your arrangement should last even longer. My personal favourite place to display is on the bedside table. The aroma is close by, and those beautiful blooms are the first thing you see when you wake. What a wonderful way to start the day on a positive note!