Stephen Saint-Onge is a designer who is all about helping people make their homes be the best they can be — no matter who they are, where they are or how big or small their house is. On his website and in his recent book, No Place Like Home, Stephen points to Gardener’s Supply as a favorite resource. Why us? Stephen believes our products are functional and stylish with a design approach that works for busy families.
We love his design approach, so we went to him for ways to refresh the home for fall and he sent us these tips:
Create a ‘Look Book': Create a scrapbook full of inspiring ideas from rooms in magazines, catalogs, notes from TV shows, movies, etc. When it comes time to make decisions about your likes and dislikes, you will have creative direction at your fingertips. Also, having a visual is a great way for couples to get agreement on a look or style.
Rearrange Your Space: Rework and rearrange what you currently have in the space. If you’re designing a living room, veer from the traditional seating area and create different inviting spaces. For a bedroom, position your bed against another wall to change the flow of the space. Simply reorganizing what you already have will help you see the space from a fresh perspective, and you haven’t even spent a dime.
Accentuate and Accessorize: Don’t feel compelled to buy everything for a different look. Redesigning can be as simple as new end tables and slipcovers or splurging on your favorite sofa. Focus your budget on accessories, such as throw pillows, interesting artwork, frames, books or candles. I love placing candles in a room, but if you have small children, allergies or are concerned about safety, consider using the LED votives or tea lights. These candles give you the look and feel of candlelight without the associated risk of an open flame.
Create a Theme: If you don’t know what your style is, determine a theme for the room. Themes help simplify your styling needs.
Use Color: The background of any room is color. Painting a room is the most dramatic and inexpensive way to change the look of any room, large or small. Particularly in a small space, you shouldn’t be afraid to work with color, even dark colors.
Add Height: In small spaces, ceilings can help make a room look larger. A fun trick is adding trim five feet up on the wall around the room. Everything below the trim is painted white, and everything above, including the ceiling, is painted a darker shade or coordinated color. This color scheme helps create an infinite look to the ceiling, which gives the illusion of more height and space in the room.
Bring in Light: Whether it’s accent lighting, such as Branch Lights, or using the outdoors, lighting is key. To bring in more natural lighting, consider removing bulky or dated window treatments. Changing fixtures can also help brighten up the room.
Consider Hardwood Flooring: If your room is carpeted, consider replacing it with hardwoods. Wood floors are a great way to open the space, and wood allows light to bounce off the floor, which reinforces the effect more openness. If you’re using hardwood, area rugs are a great way to define seating arrangements or a place of interest in the room.
Streamline Bulky Products: From a design perspective, technology can often take up a great deal of room, especially in a small space. Be smart about turning to products that are designed to make your life simpler, more efficient, and stylish.
More About Stephen Saint-Onge
A longtime friend of Gardener’s Supply, Stephen’s work is featured in magazines, such as Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens and on television programs, such as Today, The Early Show, CNN, the Oprah Winfrey Network and The View. Stephen pays keen attention to the family-focused lifestyle and home with his many creative projects. Stephen believes that “good home design has the power to change your life.”
His new book is No Place Like Home: Tips and Techniques for Real Family-Friendly Home Design. In the book, he speaks about his Vermont upbringing, and how it made him the designer he is today. Read more at his popular blog, Designer Dad Studio.