Quite a few of my clients haven't gotten around to putting up their Christmas tree yet.
Here's a few quick tips to get you started.
1. First select your tree.
There are so many options to choose from:
2. Choose a suitable Tree stand.
Whichever stand you choose, ensure that you select the proper tree stand that will give you stability and hold a generous amount of water if necessary.
3. Tree skirts
They add a decorative touch and provide coverage for any planters or non-decorative tree stands. Great backdrop to those pretty parcels!
4. Tree lights
We now have three options to choose from:
If you choose LED white lights - ensure that you select the warm white which is usually 2700 to 3000 Kelvin units . This will ensure you have a warm glow. The cool LED lights often give a very bluish and harsh looking light.
Incandescent lights are the most beautiful lights but they are hard to find now and produce heat which can lead to fire hazards on dry trees.
Mini battery pack lights or Fairy lights are a beautiful option, especially on smaller and more delicate trees, or tree branches. If you go this route ensure that you select the mini or fairy lights that include either a remote option or a timer option, so you are not digging through the tree to find the battery pack.
Depending upon which type of lights you use, I tend to use 100 lights for each foot of Christmas tree.
5. Hanging your Christmas tree lights.
Note this is the most controversial aspect of this post as there are many methods to do this, but I prefer the "branch wrap “approach.
Make your starting point of lights at the bottom of the tree near the trunk. Pull the string of Christmas lights taut to the tip of the branch, then work back toward the trunk, wrapping the cord circularly over itself and the branch, while working your way to the top of the tree. Make sure to select the largest branches to wrap first. Ensure there are more lights at the trunk area of the tree as this provides depth to your design. You will know your tree is "all wrapped up" when you finish at the top lone branch.
Start with the largest ornaments first, placing them near the tree trunk with a few coming through to the branch tips. Then start with the medium sized ornaments, filling in the gaps and lastly the smallest and most delicate ornaments should be placed near the branch tips. This gives dimension to your tree and draws the eyes from the base to the branch outwards to allow others to enjoy your ornaments. Hanging your ornaments only on the outside of your tree can make it looked cluttered and less 3 dimensional. I've got to say I see this all the time and it's difficult to resist the urge to tuck a few ornaments into the background to provide depth.
Plan on at least 10 ornaments per foot of tree.
ie. 6' tree needs 60 ornaments.
Ensure your most precious ornaments are placed where they can be viewed easily. I have a special light bulb which we had only one of. It's now burned out so I've put it in a large plastic ball ornament, hung it on fishline and added a little 'snow' to it. Now I can enjoy that special blue bulb to this day, nice way to protect those keepsake ornaments!
7. Garland. Some people like to use garland. If this is the case, use it sparingly. I find it can overwhelm the tree so I tend to stay away from it.
8. Tinsel. This is optional and time consuming. Each piece needs to be placed singularly by itself. Try avoiding throwing your tinsel on by the handfuls, as I did as a child! It is truly beautiful to look at a tinselled tree, it reflects the lights and ornaments as well!
9. Tree Topper. Your final touch is applying the Christmas star, angel or Christmas spire to the top of the Christmas tree. Make sure the branch is strong enough to support your topper and can be seen above the rest of the tree facing the most viewed angle.
10. Almost done! Now, look at your beautiful tree that you wonderfully decorated, and see if there are any bare patches or empty spaces in the tree. Ask yourself if you may need to add more ornaments or perhaps move a few items. It's your preference on how full you want your tree to look. Some prefer a sparse looking tree while others prefer a full and colorful tree.
With all these considerations you can decide what kind of Christmas design theme you choose for this year. It all starts with your tree. Take your inspiration from the tree and dress up your mantel and a few table tops!
My preference is to put on my favorite Christmas music, have a nice glass of wine, nibble on a few (OK several) chocolates and dance around the house while decorating the tree.
Have a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy your decorating!
Merry Christmas from all of us at Jil Sonia Interior Designs.
Ready for the last post outlining the 15 Essential Steps to Design your Dream Home? Here we go!
First, let’s review, we’ve looked at steps 1-12 so far:
15 Essential Steps to design your dream home Part 1 of 5
1. Selecting your perfect structure
2. Floor plans and elevations
15 Essential Steps to design your dream home Part 2 of 5
5. Mood and Style
6. Overall design
15 Essential Steps to design your dream home Part 3 of 5
7. Bathroom and Kitchen design
8. Furniture Plan
9. Lighting plan
15 Essential Steps to design your dream home Part 4 of 5
10. Window covering
12. Wall colour
Now... we move on to the last 3 steps Part 5/5
Steps 13, 14 and 15 !
Now that you have a complete plan, exterior colours, roofing, windows etc, you can shop! Now it's time for accessories. For rhythm, you need objects that repeat. Instead of one candlestick on your sideboard in your dining room, what about 3 of the same? This way our accessories have more of an impact.
Ask yourself repeatedly through this process -- are my choices consistent with my commitment to the desired ambience? If not go back through a few steps. You cannot compromise here and get the room of your dreams.
Continuously keep the mood of your room in mind. Try to do all your accessorizing and styling within a short period of time in order to keep to one style. Note: 80 percent of the design of a room should be in one focused style and 20 percent can vary. This 20 percent will certainly stand out.
Every room needs some bling unless it's a Farm home pictured below. Fully complete one room, before moving onto the next.
14. Edit your choices:
Keep the concepts of harmony and balance in mind when editing your ideas. I find this stage often takes the most time. Your final choices should please your eye, feel balanced, and create your desired mood. Our eyes need to rest so don't be afraid to have a little bare space, that helps make everything else pop.
Line the items up along a wall to see what you are working with.
What works, what doesn't?
15. Finally - Relax:
Designing a home is not easy. There are important choices to be made and made quickly. Having a game plan and following it does ease the stress.
Now we're all done, kick back, relax and enjoy your beautiful new home!
OK, are we ready? Questions? I'd love to help!
So, let’s review, we’ve looked at steps 1-3 designing your dream home.
1. Selecting your perfect structure.
2. Floor plans and elevations.
And steps 7-9 of designing your dream home:
7. Bathroom and Kitchen design
8. Furniture Plan
9. Lighting plan
Now... we move on to steps 10, 11 and 12!
10. Window coverings:
When designing your dream home, be aware of oddly shaped windows. For some reason architects love to add them in! Notice the angle at the top of the window below.
These windows are very difficult to cover. If you like horizontal blinds these can usually be used for some of the more difficult, or odd shaped windows, however not everyone likes horizontal blinds. Many clients prefer window coverings that can be slid to the sides so that all the glass is showing. Transom windows (especially if they are arched), although beautiful, are especially difficult to cover.
Determine what kind of light coverage do you need. Do you sleep in - then curse the sunlight in the morning; or do you embrace it? You may need room darkening, or light filtering blinds. Do you have a window needing privacy? A window with lots of glare? Many solutions are available.
Discuss your drapery needs with an interior designer or window coverings specialist. Note blinds, drapery and window coverings can be a little pricey, 30% of your room's budget usually goes towards window coverings.
OK, so we are really getting to the styling part here. We know the mood we want to achieve. But where do we go from here? One idea is to start with a ‘signature fabric’, this is a fabric that sets a style or creates your desired mood. Determine the placement of your signature fabric. This can be an expensive fabric - perhaps use it just for the front of a small pillow or the back of a beautiful chair. Confirm your signature fabric suits the ambiance you desire. Use this fabric to set the colour tone of your room.
Now select complementary fabrics. In general, allow no more than three different patterns in one room! Determine placement of all fabrics i.e.:
- patterned drapery fabrics for the windows - like the example above
- perhaps a cream and raspberry stripe for an ottoman,
- black and cream polka dots for the chair backs.
Finally select trim to customize draperies or throw cushions. This trim can be a fringe on pillows, or a band of colour/fabric/ribbon along the side of a drapery panel. Then use your signature fabric to pick colours for the rest of the room.
12. Wall colour:
Now you can finally pick a wall colour! Can you believe we had to wait until step 12 for this? Wall color is not usually picked until near the end of the design, as there are so many distinct colours of paint to choose from. Kimberley Seldon says " picking a wall colour first is like buying a lipstick, then look all over trying to find a dress to match."
Remember to keep the room’s atmosphere in mind. What is your light level? Resist the urge to paint a dark room in a light colour. Donald Kaufman says "Light wall colours never come to life in a dark room..." If the room is sunny, play that up - don't use a dark colour for the walls. Look at your signature fabric for wall color ideas.
I can go on and on about colour but really colour expert Maria Killam says it best when she says "Painting a dark room in pale colours simply accentuates the shadows in a space."
Other questions to ask when selecting a colour 'theme': Are you drawn to warm, neutral or cool colours? Do you prefer many colors or a monochromatic look?
Personally, I throw out the colour theory I was taught in design school. I don't understand how someone can look at a room and say "Do I want a complementary colour scheme? What about the split - complementary colour scheme or maybe an analogous colour scheme?" Only interior design students talk in those terms. I used to be one of them!
Maybe, just maybe, those theories come into play when looking at how to spice up a room with accessories or accents, but in general the main points to remember are:
Finding all this confusing? Contact me to find out how you can have the home of your dreams!
Stay tuned for our last 3 steps!
Well next week is an exciting one for Interior Designers and the public!
My favourite interior design show, IDS-West, is coming to Vancouver, BC the week of Sept. 19-22, 2013.
It all kicks off Thursday night, Sept 19th, with a party! Entertainment, a fashion show and wine - what more can you need? Especially when it's nestled in between various exhibitors booths - such as Ames Tiles, Raincoast Contoured panels, Native Trails, Van Gogh Furniture, Benjamin Moore and Urban Barn.
Tommy Smythe will be appearing Saturday Sept 20th at noon.
(PS I interviewed Tommy last year and asked if he gets tired of being call Sarah Richardson's sidekick. He said "No, not at all!" and in fact loves that moniker!)
He will be speaking on how to live and love your antiques and how to incorporate them into your design. Love that man!
On the same day, one of my all time favourite designers is speaking at 2pm. Brian Gluckstein will be sharing ideas how to spot the difference between a trend and classic design.
Have you seen his gorgeous dishware and accessories for sale at Home Outfitters?
Very well priced and have that clean, classic look that we all love.
For more information and tickets, please go to http://idswest.com/ I'll look forward to seeing you there!
Please note, all photos are from IDS West.
I had the good fortune of attending Design Camp in Seattle last month.
Among the brilliant speakers and interior designers was the gorgeous and down to earth Bill Indursky (linkedin.com/pub/bill-indursky/9/a48/621). Here's part one of a two part series!
Design maverick Bill comes from an impressive art and home furnishings background, even dabbling in pottery in his early years. I was lucky enough to stroll through an art gallery alone with him and Interior Designer Linda Holt , and quiz him on upcoming trends.
Bill is known for his outrageous clothing choices; when he's speaking he always dresses to show a trend. When I met him, he was rocking a kilt with these crazy, large, forearm metal cuffs - indicative of the Egyptian trend that is soon arriving.
Without further ado, here are our trends for 2013:
Raw: a lot of raw materials have been making their rounds last year. Expect to see more raw woods, raw metals, rusted metals, weathered looking tables and chairs. With the chaos of the recent years financial decline, we're looking for more reality. Something stable.
Lettering is hot! Look for it in pillows, artwork, decor and wall murals.
We're digging the all over letter pattern such as shown on this dramatic ceiling. Now which client can I use that for???
What about your initials on your desk?
Or hung on the wall?
Over the top design, heavy on the contrast. Big, powerful statement pieces. Oversized and dramatic is key!
What do you think? Are you seeing a large purple chair in your living room?
Classic looks, Neo Greek key. Egyptian columns and room dividers, Grecian urns, patterned wallpaper showing old ruins, Parthenon looking furniture...
Well, I hate to say it, but Bill says: Gray is out and Brown and beige are back and here to stay!
At the Design Centre in Seattle, all we saw were various versions of beige, dark brown and cream. I even took
him aside twice and asked him to clarify this (I'm just not a brown fan!), but no, gray has had it's day and we're back to beige and brown again.
Linda Holt (www.lindaholtinteriors.com) covers this topic more in depth in her post
"It's baaaack, shocking color trends"
So tell me what do you think, is Bill spot on, or do you see something different coming down the design pipeline?
If you need help sorting out the trends that will work for YOU, or just want classic interior design that will stand the test of time, please visit: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We'd love to help!
Jil Sonia McDonald - Interior Designer of Jil Sonia Interior Designs.