Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | July 16, 2010

Making Your Condo Your Castle

It’s easy to make your home your castle, regardless of where you live — and Edmonton designer Rosalyn Lazaruk can show you how.

Lazaruk has worked with design and decor for six years, establishing wicket-blue interiors in 2004.

We asked Lazaruk to share some of her tips and tricks for making your condo your castle:

Question: With the open design of new homes and condos, how do people go about fixing them up to make them seem less “big-boxy” and more homey?

Answer: To create a less boxy feel in an open-concept home, it is important to create a division of space. Clearly defining the entryway, living area, dining area and kitchen will give sense to each area, making each more comfortable.

Question: With the open design, is it necessary to carry the same colours and designs throughout? If so, how do you go about it? And how do you create spaces that are still separate living areas all in one big room?

Answer: It can be difficult sometimes to use several paint colours in an open concept home — the start and stop points are not always clear. I prefer to use one paint colour throughout, bringing your accent colour into the space by painting or wallpapering a feature wall, adding art work, as well as through the use of textiles.

Just because you have an open concept, things don’t have to be ‘matchy matchy.’ Come up with a colour scheme with four or five colours and pair them together differently in each space.

Question: What trends do you see emerging?

Answer. It is a really fun time in design as it seems that the trend is anything goes. Odd pairings and quirky colour palettes are allowing our personal styles to be reflected in our homes.

It is difficult to label any one style as it seems they have all been redefined. Traditional decor has received a revamp and is definitely taking on more of an eclectic vintage approach — luxurious rich velvets paired with chintz in textured linen, mixing warm metals like brass, antique bronze and gold.

We are seeing modern homes warming up, with farmhouse tables being paired with sleek dining chairs, hits of colour to what used to be a white paint palette, and unique and quirky collections on display.

If we are seeing one piece being added to our living space, it is a fabulous upholstered chair. Adding a chair in bold upholstery or exaggerated lines makes a statement in a room and brings life to our tired, neutral sofas.

My favourite colour palette for 2010 is crisp white, navy blue and grey throughout. Accent colours can go all over the map with this palette … imagine hot pink or tangerine for a punch of colour.

Question: Obviously, the economy has affected the whole way of doing things — and the number of people opting instead to maybe renovate or redecorate. What impact has it had on the way people look at their homes? Do you see that continuing?

Answer: The idea of completely overhauling everything when renovating or redecorating your home has changed.

Going along with the trend of mixing design styles seems to give us more personality in our decor, as well as more flexibility in budgeting.

Spend the money on quality upgrades like new floors, countertops and lighting; the rest of the design can come from a mix of the old and the new.

I love “up-cycling” — taking something that we may not have much use for and turning it into something new and innovative that works for us in our spaces.

Reupholstering, painting and refinishing furniture, shopping second-hand — it is all about being creative to get the balance that we want from our homes.

I see this trend continuing, as it is giving us beautiful spaces that reflect our individual personalities while at the same time keeping these great pieces out of the landfills.

Question: Do you have ideas and hints for decorating on a budget?

Answer We had a challenge at the Interior Design show last fall where we had to create an entire

bedroom for $500. Shopping on KiJiJi, secondhand shops and, of course, the all-time favourite — garage sales — helped us get it done.

We made our own headboard out of plywood, foam and fabric, turned a small dresser into a night stand and a dining room sideboard into a dresser.

A lot of times, decorating on a budget takes some creativity and thinking outside the box. If you are not up for the DIY projects, certain things can go a long way.

The easiest way to change your decor is by switching up your textiles. IKEA has some fabulous fun fabrics for under $6.99 per meter, making it an inexpensive upgrade to add new throw pillows, make slipcovers for dining room or occasional chairs, and even stretch the fabric over canvas for original playful artwork.

I like to move furniture around my home to make it feel new. I will switch out my side tables with my night-stands, move lamps around the house, change the artwork from one room to the next, and maybe add paint to a feature wall in a new exciting colour — and, presto, a brand-new look for the cost of a can of paint.

Question: What are some of your ideas for decorating small spaces?

Answer: I like to incorporate glass into the small spaces as it keeps it light and airy. Try using glass tables in the eating area and living room.

Lighting in a small home should come from around the room, not from overhead. This allows you to define the individual space, giving it the lighting it needs.

Don’t overcrowd your space — it will only make it feel smaller. Multi-functional furniture will eliminate extra pieces that will crowd the space. Your dining room chairs should be able to serve as comfortable occasional chairs in the living room.

Storage ottomans can tuck away toys and blankets while still being able to be used for extra seating. A Murphy bed that lifts up when not in use creates space, or has added storage underneath.

When living in a small space, you cannot be a pack rat.

Having unique pieces and collections are a must to give personality to the space — but give them room to breathe. Do not be overwhelmed with clutter.

Question: If people buy with a friend or get a roommate, how do they make their spaces work?

Answer: Whether it is a roommate or a spouse, everyone has different ideas of how a space should look and feel — it is all about compromise.

Your shared space should reflect a little of both of your design styles and personalities, but if one of you loves it and the other hates it, personalize a special spot just for you, like your bedroom or office.

When I meet with clients the first time, I have them pull pages from magazines of pieces they love and hate. Going through these photos with them helps us all understand where the happy medium lies.

Make a list of what each person wants and needs from the space and go forward from there.

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