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Five ways to spruce up your cottage on a budget

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Five ways to spruce up your cottage on a budget

As your cottage is likely your second home, you may be reticent to invest the time and money required for a full interior renovation, complete with brand new furniture. Instead, you may consider revamping your cottage space with some new accent pieces and DIY projects. Even the smallest updates can have a dramatic effect on the look and feel of your city-escape, breathing new life into it as you sip your Niagara wine and lounge on your Muskoka chairs.

There are plenty of foolproof and inexpensive ways to instantly refresh your space (cottage or otherwise) that you can start implementing today. Here are five budget-friendly tips and tricks to get you started.

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Vintage vibes

Whether you bought your own cottage, inherited it from family, or renting with friends, it’s likely that the space came with much of its own furniture. While this certainly makes furnishing your home-away-from-home easier, the furniture may not be to your taste. In the spirit of recycling and saving money, you can opt to re-finish some classic, staple pieces such as an old dining table or re-upholster an old sofa. If, however, you’re keen on keeping the vintage vibe, but with new furniture, you can easily purchase home décor pieces made in a similar antique style. While there’s always the option of purchasing these pieces second-hand from charity shops or lawn sales, there are many new pieces on the market made to simulate the past. When shopping for these pieces, look out for antique, rustic and vintage styles that complement your current decor.

With your new array of vintage (or vintage-inspired) pieces, you can decoratively arrange them upon an accent table or cabinet. These pieces can be new purchases, or even simple everyday objects, such as: a collection of pitchers or carafes, glass jars or vases, some candles or candle holders, even a collection of mirrors and photo frames arranged in a gallery-style wall will do the trick.

Under cover

Slipcovers have received a bad rep over the years, but rest assured that these new options aren’t your grandmother’s slipcovers! These handy fabric options have come a long way in fabric and design, and are a great (and inexpensive) way to refresh old sofas, armchairs or dining chairs. There are many options when it comes to slipcovers: you can choose to purchase a new piece complete with its own slipcover; purchase a stand-alone slipcover; or have one custom-made for a piece you already own. They’re washable and durable, and because of this, practical even in light, neutral colours. In fact, light-coloured slipcovers work well if you want to achieve a laid-back, beachy vibe for your space. You may even choose to purchase a few different kinds with different colours or patterns to transition your furniture seasonally, or change up your style every summer.

Slipcovers can also easily be used on outdoor furniture, providing comfortable seating for large parties or solo lounging. Their low maintenance makes them especially suitable for outdoor furniture, as they can easily be thrown in the wash and are durable against the elements.

In addition to slipcovers, accent pillows, throw blankets, decorative rugs and tablecloths are other inexpensive textiles you can purchase (or make yourself) to instantly refresh your space, both indoors and outdoors.

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Flower power

Flowers and other greenery are great and budget-friendly ways to instantly add style to your indoor space. They also work to bring outdoor elements inside to give your cottage a cozier, more natural feel. You can opt to use flowers and greenery purchased at your local florist, or simply use those picked on your morning walk. Rather than using a traditional vase, opt for a glass jar or other decorative vessel.

In addition to flowers, other natural elements such as: sea shells, foliage, wood and sand can also be incorporated indoors to impart a rustic, relaxed vibe. In the spirit of bringing the outdoors in, you may also decide to incorporate patio furniture, wicker and outdoor lighting into your interiors.

Simplicity is key

Regardless of the theme or aesthetic you’re going for, ensuring to keep the design simple is key to creating a relaxing oasis away from the city. Making use of accent pieces, such as cushions, colours and textures are great ways to evoke a theme or style without being over-the-top. Mismatched pieces, such as chairs, bunk beds, plates, tables or glasses are all part of the charm of a rustic cottage and allow you to re-purpose pieces you may already have. If, however, you decide to buy new furniture, be mindful of choosing neutral tones, clean lines and all-purpose material, especially for your outdoor space.

Double duty

Whether you’re purchasing a new piece of furniture or repurposing an old one, ensuring that it can serve a double purpose is key. Furniture that serves more than one function is a worthwhile investment, especially in small quarters. For example, ottomans that serve as seating and storage are great living room and outdoor patio options. Sofas and pull-out couches are great for lounging and accommodating overnight guests. Tables can serve as decorative benches, coffee tables and even dining tables, if table height can be adjusted. Daybeds are great for turning a room into a spare bedroom, or double as an extra room for lounging, or as a studio or library.

Many of your re-purposed accents can also be used as clever storage spaces: wicker or wire baskets can be placed underneath a desk or table. Old pieces of wood can be installed as shelves, and old cabinets can be sanded, refinished and used as storage devices throughout your space.

Re-decorating your cottage doesn’t have to become an expensive undertaking. There are a number of small, yet worthwhile, investments you can make that will instantly inject new life and style into your space. See a wide selection of affordable furniture and accent pieces, perfect for your cottage.

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Walking to the Cottage

With the right home renovation, you can walk to the ‘cottage’

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With the right home renovation, you can walk to the ‘cottage’

In an era where time is a luxury, many people are finding the long commute and the additional maintenance of owning a cottage to be less luxurious than expected. In fact, more and more people are seeking to escape in their own home after a long week at work.

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Lifestyles by Barons has been creating luxurious homes for their clients over the years where the main goal is to transform indoor and outdoor spaces into escapes from the stressful everyday life.

When taking on a full home renovation project, Lifestyles by Barons strives to tie the inside of the home to the outside and vice versa. The goal is to use materials, colours and styles that join the two and then ensure that everything blends in with the surroundings.

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At their “Hoover” project, the strategic design was to extend the interior living space to the outdoors for entertaining, as well as creating a backyard oasis for the homeowners to enjoy all year round.

The first step was to add a greater number of windows and doors to the back of the home and to increase the size of these openings. The result is that a once dark home that was visually cut off from the exterior, is now a home that includes a tremendous amount of natural light throughout the day and provides full panoramic views of the entire gorgeous backyard.

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The second step was to ensure that the new space was functional and provided the family with various areas that met each of the family member’s individual needs and still provided a large communal space for entertaining. Off the main kitchen is a kitchenette and a powder room that doubles as a dressing room. Both of these rooms service the pool and exterior eating areas ensuring that no little wet feet trample through the main home. Outside, the backyard now boasts a large multi-level deck with defined spaces for entertaining such as a dining area, a sit-down conversation area, hot tub area, outdoor kitchen, lounge and cabana. The cabana itself has multiple uses including storage, bar area, outdoor entertainment area and encompasses a fireplace sit-down area for those cooler evenings. By placing all of the pool equipment behind the structure, the cabana has become fully functional and the machinery does not overheat the interior space, in turn, extending the pool equipment life.

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In order to increase the functionality and extend the usability of the backyard throughout the seasons, Lifestyles by Barons built with materials that are largely maintenance-free solutions such as composite decking and natural stone surfaces. Enhancing the comfort of the backyard are three fully automated pergolas that, with a simple press of a button, regulate light from the sun in the summer or protect from the elements such as rain. In the fall and winter the homeowners have full access to their hot tub, which is only steps from the main kitchen garden doors and that, in the summer, overlooks the swimming pool ensuring that all guests have a full view of the majority of the backyard.

To further enhance the functionality and beauty of the new backyard spaces, custom exterior furniture was carefully selected to create the right focal points for a quiet retreat or large entertaining. Equally as important, the lighting was carefully designed to highlight specific details and create a certain mood. At night the Hoover backyard takes on a dreamy and romantic ambiance that, when combined with the outdoor sound system, can quickly transform to festive, when entertaining guests.

Forget the long stressful commutes and relax, swim, entertain, escape without leaving the comfort of your own home.

For more information, visit lifestylesbybarons.com.


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Choosing your cottage style:

When choosing your cottage style, it’s the little touches that count

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When choosing your cottage style, it’s the little touches that count

Now that summer is here, it’s time to discuss different ways you can update your cottage for the new season. This isn’t about redecorating your entire space, but more about little touches you can bring to your country home that will make it feel refreshed and new for the summer season ahead.

Whatever your style is: Quaint, rustic, pretty or traditional, all it takes is a few choice accessories and soft finishes to make your cottage feel fresh and new. Consider it a mini-makeover! Here are some suggestions:

Refresh with soft finishes

I love a relaxed, natural feel to my cottage where I can walk into the space and feel instantly relaxed and comfortable, so when we come back up for the summer, I always bring a bunch of new carpets, wicker baskets, and lanterns to freshen up the space. All of the pieces have a rustic look to them, almost as if to say I found them at some small antique shop in town.

Out with the old, in with the new

So many cottages have this old-school, tired look to them. They’re typically really dark, and full of tired old chairs and furniture. I like to brighten up the space – literally. Because many country homes have greater natural light exposure, I want to take advantage of that, so I’d re-paint the walls in oyster shell, cream or light grey, and I’d switch out any heavy, dark wood furniture with something lighter, whether it be something like wicker, or even painted white. Slipcovered furniture is also very popular in a cottage look because it offers relaxed and easily updated furnishings.

Fun with fabrics

Choose fabrics that suit the vibe of your cottage home: If you only spend summers here, consider gauzy linens, burlap, cottons and jute. They feel breezy and airy, and really go with a relaxed, comfortable setting.

Accessories

It’s always fun to update your space with accessories, but remember what I always say: edit your finds, and don’t overcrowd your space. The same rule applies to your cottage. Although it’s very tempting to meander through all of the wonderful antique and vintage shops in cottage country and buy everything you see, thinking it’s just perfect for the cottage, it’s best to be selective with what you actually buy for your home. My weakness is serving platters, plates, bowls, you name it, so if I find some charming options when I’m shopping, I’ll always pick up a few new ones for entertaining at the cottage. You can also refresh your space with new picture frames, throw pillows, lampshades or bed linens, too.

Flowers, flowers, flowers

My favourite thing about a cottage home is walking through a room full of freshly-picked blooms. I love my gardens at my cottage, so I take full advantage of what they grow in the summer and use all the wildflowers and plants as design inspiration inside.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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