November (in the west) is traditionally a bleak month weather-wise, with cold winds stripping trees bare and frost killing off remaining flowers. Make your house a pleasant retreat from all that. Brighten up your interior at this time of year with these 3 tips.
1. Nature – bring some of the 'harvest' inside. Items collected from the outdoors help us appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings, while enhancing our homes. Twigs with colourful berries placed in a vase, a bough with a bright bow hung from a hook, pine cones displayed in an ornamental bowl, or a poised pumpkin can all inject a splash of colour. Gathering from the garden is also an inexpensive and eco-friendly way to decorate.
2. Lighting – get comfy and snug again as temperatures drop by lighting a fire (ethanol-burning if you’re eco-conscious!). Don't have a fireplace? Create a warm ambiance through different types of lighting. Table and floor lamps are particularly good at generating an inviting glow in a cosy corner and the difference in heights provides visual interest. Wall sconces and low hung pendants (over tables etc) increase the feeling of intimacy. A scented candle is also a welcome addition to any room.
3. Colour – now’s ideal to switch your ‘accents’ to richer and warmer tones. Whether you’re swapping cushions, towels, or ornaments, you’ll want to ensure the hues chosen complement the accompanying décor. With a relatively neutral colour scheme, adding another couple of colours should work well. Think white, grey or taupe background, enriched by orange/green or red/gold combos to start. As always though, however you spruce up your space, enjoy the process as well as the result!
As a designer it’s not just that my favourite colour is green (clearly noticeable in my last home reno!), but that I’m always striving to be ‘green’. Translation - I try to find ways to incorporate eco-friendly products and practices into my projects wherever possible. That is also my philosophy for living, whether it be work or play.
There are a lot of ways to do this in my profession, as I can source commodities that are manufactured in Canada and preferably locally. But why bother? Well a few good reasons include the fact that we have a lot of talented tradespeople in this country; items don’t have to travel as far, which reduces their carbon footprint and there’s nothing like supporting our own businesses.
I choose to go with reclaimed or FSC-certified woods, recycled glass/metals or any of the varied repurposed goods that are gaining in popularity. When building or renovating a commercial or residential space, one can also consider integrating the many alternative energy sources that are increasingly available, such as geothermal, solar and wind power.
What’s reassuring is that becoming more environmentally conscious is more than just a trend. Many of the larger retailers are now carrying an array of articles, produced with enhanced care for their natural surroundings. Below are images of such items, from (Canadian) stores such as Style Garage, Hudson’s Bay or Urban Barn – proving that looking after the environment can equal looking good!
So if you’re working with a designer, whether it be a kitchen makeover, an office update or a restaurant refurbishment, ask them how they can make the process ‘greener’. The planet will love you for it!
Peter Oudejans, founder of OUDEJANS INTERIORS, provides feedback on his latest projects as well as highlighting exciting trends in the world of interior design.