Better Living Expert: Domestic Details
STYLE SHORTCUTS Sophisticated spaces are possible at either end of the budget
Even if few of us can afford to take a money-is-no- object approach to home decor, we all still crave a little luxury in life. Fortunately, one’s budget doesn’t always have to match one’s appetite for finer things. Here are a few splurges—on a sliding scale—that deliver on both good taste, and great value.
PAINTS AND PAPER WITH PANACHE
Wall coverings offer great value in smaller spaces, such as a foyer or powder room. The same can be said for fabrics used sparingly in window treatments and on furniture. Glasgow-based Timorous Beasties’ textile collection, now available in Canada though NewWall House, is a case in point. Fabric starts at about $125 a yard, and wallpapers at about $155 per double roll. Both have terrific design ROI.
New paint formulations pave the way for sophisticated matte finishes, such as the products from Fusion Mineral Paints. The 100-per-cent acrylic paint is made with natural mineral pigments, so colours are rich and saturated. The palette designed by Michael Penney is especially well-conceived and costs $24 for a pint.
A realistic faux-fur throw adds a touch of cruelty-free glamour to any room. Au Lit Fine Linens has a lush mock mink—in inky black or iced tones—for $549. Keep it for a decade and it works out to just $55 a year! If you can’t rationalize that, pick up a warm and fuzzy option from Bouclair like this Foxy Faux-Fur Throw for about $40.
TEXTILES THAT TELEGRAPH LUXURY
Nothing says indulgence quite like a silky velvet. This spring, look for affordable velvet sofas at CB2 that start at about $1,500. On a smaller scale, there’s a velvet ottoman from Montreal-based VdeV in soft taupe or celadon ($234), and cotton-velvet pillows from Urban Barn for $49. For added interest, choose a textured or embossed velvet.
Make one chubby arrangement with two bundles from the “half-price” bin at the local supermarket. Or go all out and place a standing order with a florist like Tonic Blooms, which delivers a $41 bouquet wrapped in a signature denim envelope, anywhere in the GTA, often within two hours. Options are relatively limited, but using local flowers ensures they’re all just-picked fresh, which is the biggest treat of all.
Handsome linens make life more civilized. Treated properly, they also become meaningful hand-me-downs for the generation to come. Designer Paul Semkuley has just launched Lip Service Napkins, an extensive online collection of table linens that includes stunning Liberty print napkins made out of its famous Tana Lawn cotton (set of four, $240). More affordably, Simons has attractive table napkins at $6 each, while Urban Barn’s pretty Aspen table runner sells for just $39.
Low-cost materials can have a big impact in projects that require lots of yardage. Here, burlap (about $80 for 40 yards of 60-inch wide through HomeTex) was used on draperies, backed by cornflower-blue linen from (trade-only) UltraLuxe Linen—a hot tip from designer William MacDonald, who says a tinted lining elevates the look, and makes them hang better.
The gentle light of candles can cover a multitude of small decor sins. Clustering them in holders creates an effective focal point. Turquoise Palace is a good source (trade and consumer). Mixing styles is fine, but if you stick to one material—glass, wood, bronze—it will look a little more like deliberate design. You can also use spray paint to bring cohesion to an eclectic collection.
SOURCES newwall.ca, fusionmineralpaint.com, penneyandcompanyhome.com, aulitfinelinens.com, cb2.com, vdevmaison.com, urbanbarn.ca, tonicblooms.com, lipservicenapkins.com, hometex.ca, turquoisepalace.com, bouclair.com, simons.ca