Posts Tagged ‘decorating’

We don’t always buy our furniture in sets. Over the years, we tend to collect a hodgepodge of different pieces that we’re not really sure what to do with. Thankfully, when it’s done well, mismatched furniture can bring a lot of personality and interest to a space. Read more for our top tips on how to make mismatched furniture look great in three rooms of the home. For even more decorating ideas, check out QC Design School’s Interior Decorating course.

Don't let mismatched furniture get you down

Living Room

The accessory options for the living room make it the easiest to work with mismatched furniture. You want to create visual balance in the space, so use accessories and textiles to pull everything together. For example, if your couch is green and your chair is blue, toss a blue throw pillow on the couch, or vice versa. Repeat the same accent colors in your artwork or curtains to create a unified look. Patterns also work well to tie all the colors in.

Dining Room

If you’re using all different dining room chairs, there is one rule to keep in mind – height. If the chairs are all different heights, it will start to look messy very quickly. To don’t need to collect six different chairs to create a mismatched look. Just have two or three that stand apart, either using paint color, cushions, or style. If your dining set is wood, make sure the stains on the table and the chairs complement one another.


You can take a few more liberties when decorating with mismatched furniture in the bedroom because for the most part, you’re the only one who gets to see it. However, if your bed frame, dresser, and night stand are all different shades of wood (like light and dark), it might be too much of a miss to look pleasing. Paint the furniture all the same color, or different colors to create your own unique color scheme. Again, use accessories like pillows and hardware to tie it all together.

August 9, 2013 10:41 am

Spruce up Your Summer Cottage

Add some rustic chic to your summer cottage

With these last few days of summer, spending those precious weekends at the cottage becomes so much more special. I know I try and get out to my own family cottage as much as possible during July, August, and September.

Do you find though that your summer getaway spot is feeling a bit outdated, a bit too country, or too dark with all kinds of wood? Well, time to get your decorating shoes on.

There isn’t much I love more than a cottage with lots of white and light colors to keep it feeling fresh and airy, mixed in with wood tones. Soft white, greys, and a pop of color like aqua really equal perfection in a cottage space.  They are the perfect complement to the greens and blues of nature.

I like to bring in lots of painted furniture and textiles that are easy to keep clean. White slipcovers on sofas can seem impractical, but actually you can throw them into the wash with a bit of bleach and they come out looking good as new. Having painted pieces of furniture can break up the wood in a cottage space and give you a chance to bring in some white or color. Use jute or dhurrie rugs as these will stand up well to lots of action and be easy to vacuum and keep clean (no shedding!).

The most important part? Grab a cold drink, a good book, and spend lots of time listening to the breeze and enjoying yourself. Have a happy summer!


Gemma Bonham-CarterWritten by Gemma Bonham-Carter
The Sweetest Digs

Gemma Bonham-Carter has made it her mission to DIY her house into a stylishly decorated home, one project at a time. She believes that good design doesn’t have to break the bank. You’ll find her posts focus on reusing pre-loved items in surprising ways to create something new and exciting.




careers in interior decorating and design

The opportunities for someone interested in a career within the field of interior decorating and design are plentiful. In this post, we’ll go over the different opportunities available to you regarding careers in interior decorating and design.

There are several different paths you may choose to take when considering a career in professional design. The most popular and lucrative choice is to start your own decorating business. As your own boss, you’ll have the greatest level of organizational and creative decision making power. You’ll also be able to choose which projects you take on and which you don’t. Plus, you’ll get to work with your clients face-to-face. When starting your own business, you have a lot to consider – but we outline the process clearly for you within our courses at QC Design School.

A second option would be to work for an existing decorating company or consulting agency. If this is the option you choose, you’ll be an employee of someone else and will have less control than if you were to own your business. Working for someone else, however, does have its perks. For one, you are not liable if something happens to the business. You will also work more set hours and may benefit from other things like vacation time, medical benefits, and not having to pay for your own computer equipment or office space.

Another option would be to take on design work on a part-time basis and continue working at your existing job. This could be a permanent option, and a way to make some supplementary income, or a temporary solution until you build up a large enough client list to start your own business with a little more security.

As you can see, it’s quite easy to incorporate a love for design into your life with a little help from QC. There are many people pursuing successful careers in interior decorating and design, and you could join them. Visit QC Design School today and start your own journey towards success!


Ah, pets. They’re such an important part of the family, but they can sometimes take over our lives…and our homes! In a pet home, all thought of decor can tend to go out the window. I know when I first got a cat, I had cardboard boxes in nearly every room (they were her favorite beds/chew toys!), and chewed-on toy mice strewn about the floor. It can take a while to figure out how to keep your home pet-friendly and stylish at the same time. That’s why I went on a hunt today for some fun and functional pet-friendly home decor.

Doggy End Table


I might have just let out a squee when I saw this end table turned puppy pad. What a great way to keep a doggy bed in the living room without having it become an eyesore, or take up too much space. Not to mention, this table is gorgeous and the plaid fabric lining the dog bed could be changed to match any color scheme. The big question, however, is will he use his new home? That, unfortunately, is outside of our control.

Custom-Made Pet Corner


Okay, so this idea obviously depends on you having the space to dedicate an entire corner to your pets. If you do, I love the concept of making a little pet nook that’s just for them. In fact, I want a nook like this for myself! Personally, I would ditch the carpet here – hardwood or tile would be much easier to clean up the occasional mess.

Built-in Food Dish



You know how sometimes, a dog or cat will push their dish farther and farther as they eat, until it ends up in the middle of the room, with a sloppy trail behind? This is a great solution. Give your kitty her own dining area that will stay put! Just make sure you don’t put it in a high-traffic area – those corners could be sharp on the legs.

Stylish Baby Gate



Yes, baby gates are a very practical way to keep your dog out of certain rooms. But there’s not exactly the most attractive feature in a room – and become really annoying when you have to step over them all the time! This wrought iron gate, however, adds to the decor and serves the practical purpose of keeping your pup where you want him. You can get garden gates like these in a variety of styles to suit any decor.

How do you incorporate your pets into your home decor? Let us know in a comment below!



March 14, 2013 1:55 pm

Try These Do-It-Yourself Closet Doors

Do you have any of these closet doors in your house? You know, the flimsy, sliding kind? Well I do, and they happen to be in our master bedroom. They aren’t a total eyesore, but they definitely aren’t pretty either.

Do-it-yourself closet doors

My closet, pre-DIY

Well, I was ready to do something about these doors. I thought about just painting them a solid color, but then the idea for a pattern came to mind. I hummed and hawed about doing something intricate or colorful, but then realized that a simple rectangular box on each door in grey and white (so that it would blend with the walls) would be the way to go.

The first step was to wash down the doors to remove any residue or dust. I didn’t need to sand since these doors aren’t wood, but if you have wooden closet doors you would want to use sandpaper, first with a medium and then a fine grit to prep the surface for paint. To wash down the doors I just used some basic soap and water. If they had been glossy or had some other finish, a de-glosser might have been necessary.

Then I needed to measure out where I wanted the rectangular boxes to go. I started by measuring out the box and putting X’s where the corners would meet. I marked 3 inches in from the outer edges for each door.

Do-it-yourself closet doors

Next up I grabbed my painter’s tape (you want a high quality brand for no bleed through) and taped out the boxes. I cut the edges of the tape at the corners to make sure they were nice and crisp. Since I wanted to paint inside and outside of the tape (and then take off the tape to reveal a white box), I needed to make sure the corners were perfect.



Then it was paint time. I used my leftover paint from the walls (“Coventry Gray” by Benjamin Moore), my mini-roller, a paint mask, and got to work. Two coats of paint later and this is how things were looking. You couldn’t even really see the tape anymore.

Do-it-yourself closet doors

We’re almost there…

After some easy-peasy pealing off the tape, I was left with nice crisp white lines. The pattern totally looks like molding and makes the doors seem much more upscale than they are.

Do-it-yourself closet doors


Doesn’t it add a nice bit of pattern without being over the top? It’s simple, but feels classic and adds another layer of interest to the room. The bedroom is slowly getting closer to how I’d like it to look. I still don’t quite know what that final version will be, but it’s fun to add different elements over time and see how it comes together.

Do-it-yourself closet doors

Post-DIY. I’m so pleased with the results!

The doors just sort of blend in with the room now and actually make the space feel a bit bigger. It was such an easy and quick (half-day) project, with great results. Even if you don’t happen to have sliding closet doors like these, you could use the same technique and pattern on any other kind of door or even a piece of furniture to give it that two-toned/molding look. Have fun!

Gemma Bonham-CarterWritten by Gemma Bonham-Carter
The Sweetest Digs

Gemma Bonham-Carter has made it her mission to DIY her house into a stylishly decorated home, one project at a time. She believes that good design doesn’t have to break the bank. You’ll find her posts focus on reusing pre-loved items in surprising ways to create something new and exciting.


Whether you’re just starting out on a solo business venture or are already a working professional, you probably already have or are thinking of, setting up a home office space. It can sometimes be tough to carve out a space that’s just for you, so we’ve compiled our top tips for keeping that space – however big or small – organized and efficient.

Choose your space wisely
Take into consideration all of the possible distractions you may encounter in each space, and choose the one with the least. If your desk is currently in the living room and there are little ones underfoot, it may be time to move it to a quieter location.

Now it’s time to de-clutter. What do you use every day and what hasn’t been touched in 3 or 4 months? Discard of anything that you don’t use on a regular basis, or simply move it to another room.

A clean space is a happy space, and when you’re happy you’re more productive. It’s been proven people! Wipe down all surfaces, throw away any garbage, and open a window for some fresh air. It’ll make you feel refreshed and ready to get down to work!

Are there objects in your space that don’t really need to be there? Take, for example, that television across the room. If you end up watching it more than you actually work, than maybe move it to a different area of the house.

Now it’s time to get down to business. Take inventory of all the items left in your space and decide what you want to keep out on display (books, magazines, a decorative pen holder, etc) and what you want to keep hidden (the less than sitely pieces can be hidden away in desk drawers or attractive storage bins).

Lastly, you want to make sure your space is well lit. If painting the space is an option opt for a light clear color (light blue or yellow), as it will distract less and have a calming effect. If not, try to place your desk near a source of natural light. As well, add lamps that shed white light instead of yellow, as it will help keep you alert.

Try going through this list about once a month! And, if you’ve got a passion for organization take a look at our Professional Organizing course!


Lighting is one of the most important components in interior design because it has such a huge impact on the overall mood of a space. However, it’s usually the last detail many of us see to as it can be quite a daunting task. Incandescent, fluorescent, high intensity discharge, LED, etc. There is an overwhelming number of options, and even just the idea of having to choose one can leave me feeling lost, frustrated, and pondering if living a life in darkness would really be that bad…? Read on to learn how to choose the best indoor light bulbs for you.

How to Choose a LightbulbThis weekend I revamped my living room with a new light blue paint color and some new dark brown shades for the table lamps on either side of my couch. You’d think that I would have purchased some light bulbs to go along with those, but when the sales clerk asked me if he could help me select some, I broke out in a nervous sweat and decided it was a detail that could be left just a little while longer.

But once the new paint was dry and the lamps were all set up, I realized that my old general service light bulbs just weren’t going to cut it any longer. The light was starkly white and made the room feel cold and uninviting. So, I mustered up some courage, put on my brave face, and timidly ventured back out to my nearest hardware store. That same sales clerk was there and he promptly schooled me in what is apparently the fine art of light bulb selection. Yep, there’s much more to it than simply choosing the right wattage.

Wall color, paint finish, furniture color and fabric, lamp shade thickness and color, and what overall mood you want your space to have are just a few of things to take into consideration. My living room is my place to relax, and I wanted to add as much warmth to the space for maximum comfort. I ended up walking away with low voltage Tungsten-halogen incandescent bulbs. I had originally wanted to go with LED as they are generally more efficient, but I found that they didn’t offer the right kind of light for me. I wanted something warmer to offset the cool blue walls, and these incandescent bulbs pair well with my lamp shades to give off a warm buttery glow. They also have a significantly longer life than most and provide more light per watt than standard incandescent bulbs.
In the end it took me, the hardware store clerk, and countless authors of online articles to choose two light bulbs!

What sort of light bulbs do you use throughout your home? Let us know in a comment below!