Wallpaper has come a long way from the psychedelic patterns of the 70s, darling! With a wide variety of prints, motifs and techniques, today’s updated versions can add instant drama and interest when updating a plain Jane room. Go one step further, and make a bold statement to an accent wall or to an entire room by choosing custom wallpaper that is hand painted or embroidered. Or dress your walls with easy-to-use vinyl stickers or a fun illustration.
The coming-of-age of bamboo is finally here. This wonder plant is eco-friendly because it’s pesticide- and formaldehyde-free and it’s also a renewable resource since it doesn’t need to be replanted because it gets cut at the base of the shoot and it will grow again in five to six years. It is being used for flooring, wall panels and kitchen cabinet fronts instead of finished plywood or MDF. Taproot, a Canadian company distributes Plyboo (product comes in sheets) and it’s proving to be a versatile and durable substance that is interesting and warm, too.
Spring is a great time to revamp the busiest room in the house — after the kitchen! Update your loo with some round or square shower tiles, a groove shower receptor or a dual flush toilet (equipped with two flushing options to help with water conservation). Or add a splash of indulgence with an overhead WaterTile Ambient Rain shower panel which comes with a control panel so you can customize your showering experience to include the water, sound, light and steam as you desire. (www.kohler.ca)
Similar to the way chefs are having fun with molecular gastronomy, designers are infusing a hit of nature into utilitarian items. In nature you may use a branch to hang something on or a rock to sit on, and now designers are playing off this concept changing the materials they use from natural to man-made. For example, a wood item might become chrome or bronze, and what appears to be rock is actually foam. Over the last few years, this interplay of elements has solidified its place in the design world and will continue to be an interesting and evolving trend.
This is where art, reclaimed furniture and function come together in harmonious matrimony. Instead of continuing on the path of mass consumption, invest in an lounger or ottoman from small, boutique companies like Brothers Dressler. The company repurposes salvaged material into original (and beautiful) furniture.
Investing in a one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted piece – or at least one that appears to have the vestige remains of an heirloom — is a hot trend seen in many other sectors, and it has hit the home market, too. Look for a piece that is unique — and although it may be mass-produced, a hand-finished detail might give it a bit of character. The Tom Dixon beat lights (see below) are on the more mass end of this trend but they are hand-crafted in India and appear to have that one-off vibe.
When it comes to choosing the right paint chip or company, the colour and ethos du jour is green. With a variety of shades to choose from, ranging from soothing hues to more bold greens, some of the Guys’ faves from Para Paints include: Sea Grass (P1001-2), Boston Fern (P1034-2), Amazon Jungle (P1043-7) and Grasshopper Pie (P1057-7). Also look for paints with low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which are still found in most mainstream paints. The colour selection and coverage in these eco-friendly paints is ever improving.
Note: Colours may not be exactly as shown.
Walls are not the only surface area getting some star treatment this season. Don’t just walk all over your floors, remember to dress them to impress, too. Choose area rugs and runners, with patterns and colours that make a bold statement and display them in creative, non-traditional ways. They can be a great way to put an exclamation mark on the theme or design of a room. Many prints are more modern art than just floor covering.
Design created with a symmetrical aesthetic can tend to lean towards the cold and rigid end of the spectrum. This season, inject some life and playfulness into everyday, conventional pieces. Think outside the box: spice up dinnertime with an interesting place setting pattern from Mikasa or incorporate a sculptural radiator that seems poised for an art gallery wall, but is as functional as your traditional ho-hum heat box.
If you have a predilection for modern, architectural spaces, there is still room to introduce a hit of nature. The right accessory can add an interesting and unexpected surprise in a rather obvious space. Add a piece of furniture that is made from a preserved tree stump or incorporate a coffee, dining or side table made from reclaimed wood to break up the hard angles.