Light Up Your Nights! 7 Ways to Decorate Your Backyard

Summer nights are best spent outside in cozy backyards. The best way to make your backyard space even cozier? Add lighting in just the right places. There are plenty of ways to use lighting to enhance your outdoor space, and depending on your design taste and lifestyle, you’ll be able to choose lighting that suits you best. Take a look at how to decorate your backyard with 7 different types of lighting!

1. Overhead String Lighting

String lighting is the prettiest way to light up your backyard. If you have a courtyard in your backyard, make it even cozier by positioning overhead string lighting at regular intervals throughout the space. This will create ambient lighting that blankets the area with a warm glow come nighttime.

2. Decorative Lanterns

Decorative lanterns are so gorgeous and can enhance the aesthetic of any outdoor space. Group them together on a dining table, place them on each stair of your porch, or line them up on a wall. There are so many ways to use decorative lanterns to lighten up your backyard!

3. Cafe Lights

Cafe lights are a type of string lighting that will give your backyard a gorgeous glow. You can hang them from trees or posts already standing in your backyard, or you can buy free standing cafe lights to get the same effect.

4. A Glowing Walkway

Adding a glowing walkway to your backyard space is a unique way to add light to your yard. Add glow-in-the-dark pigments to your walkway paint or materials and you’ll have a glowing path leading in and out of your backyard. If you’re not fond of having the entire walkway glowing, add it to the grout between stones or only paint certain areas of the walkway.

5. Flameless Candles

Candles are often recommended for indoor decor, but they’re just as beautiful as decor pieces for your backyard as well. Add them to your dining table or to any tabletop you have on your back porch. Candlelight offers a gorgeous glow without being too in-your-face. Use flameless, battery operated candles as a safer option so you don’t have to worry about any fire accidents.

6. Outdoor Lamps

Lamps aren’t only meant for the indoors. Outdoor lamps are a nice way to decorate your outdoor space, plus they provide a great source of light for when the sun goes down. Electric outdoor table lamps and standing lamps are charming accents that will light up your nights.

7. Deck Lights

Use solar deck accent lights on your deck railing or stairs to light up your backyard and make sure your space it safe. They turn on when the sun goes down and stay on for eight hours, extending your time outdoors and ensuring you’ll have light no matter what time it is.

Ready to light up your backyard? Use one or several of these lighting ideas to extend your time outside every night!


6 Cheap and Chic Stair Makeover Design Ideas

If you play your cards right, your staircase can be a gorgeous focal point of your home. Up until now, you may not have given much thought to the stairs that lead you to different floors of your home, but did you know there are plenty of ways to boost the aesthetics of your home with your staircase? If your stairs are ready for a makeover, check out these 6 chic design ideas!

1. Painted Risers

If your staircase is in good shape and you’re simply looking for a way to change things up, paint the risers a different colour. It’s always nice to have the risers contrasting with the treads. If the treads are black, paint your risers white; if they’re a light to medium shade of wood, paint your risers charcoal!

2. Pretty Tile

Have you ever considered adding tile to your staircase? Tiles are great because they’re light, durable and make your home look more sophisticated. Apply tiles to the risers of your staircase so you get visual appeal when you walk up the stairs. Choose tiles in a pattern you know you’ll love for years to come!

3. A Rainbow Staircase

This design may be a little bold for your center staircase, but how about for your staircase heading down to the basement? If your basement is a designated kids’ area, a rainbow staircase is a fun way to lead in and out of the space. It’s bright, quirky and unique, and your kids are sure to love it!

4. Change Up Your Stair Runner

One of the easiest ways to makeover your staircase is by adding or changing up your stair runner. Traditional stair runners tend to be rather dull, but there are lots of beautiful options to choose from! Go for stair runners that complement and enhance the aesthetics of your home, brightening up your interior. Choose a pattern if you want something bold, or opt for a solid for a more subtle look.

5. Re-Stain Your Hardwood Staircase

If you’ve undergone a home renovation or have recently switched up the furniture in your space, your staircase may not match your interior anymore. If this is the case, re-staining your staircase could be the answer. New stains are inexpensive and give you a fun project to do on the weekend! You’ll feel so much better when your staircase flatters and enhances the rest of your space.

6. Wallpaper the Risers

Ever thought of using wallpaper on your stair risers? This idea is awesome, especially if you love the idea of wallpaper but aren’t keen on using it on your walls.  Mix and match patterns in like colours or use the same design for each of the risers. It’s a fun project and will make a gorgeous statement in your home.

Your staircase is about to become a major talking point for your guests! Use these ideas to enhance the look of your space with a chic stair makeover!


How to Pick a Landscaper to Create a Divine Garden

It’s about that time to start thinking about summer home updates, and one thing that should come straight to mind is your garden and landscaping. Your curb appeal is incredibly important to the aesthetic of your home, and the right landscaper can turn your dull exterior into the outdoor space you’ve always dreamed of.

A professional landscaper knows what plants and flowers bloom when, which ones look best together, and what will complement the rest of your exterior. They have the skills and expertise to create a divine garden you can enjoy all summer! Follow these steps to choose the right landscaper for you!

Get Referrals

Ask your friends and family members if they’ve worked with a landscaper they really liked. If not, you can ask them to ask their friends, too! It’s always nice to work with a company that someone you know and trust has already worked with. If they had a good experience with them, it’s likely you will too!

Research and Do Your Homework

Do your own research on landscaping companies in your area. Compare them to each other, and look for companies that have a strong portfolio, references, and experience in a number of services. Check their websites, social media handles and reviews to get the full picture.

Check Out Their Previous Work

Professionals should always be able to show you previous work of similar projects they’ve done in the past. If they refuse to show you their portfolio, it’s definitely a red flag. Checking out their portfolio will give you a sense of what your finished product will look like, so it’s a good idea to take a look and see if it fits with your vision. Don’t forget to ask for and talk to their references for these previous projects as well.

Visit a Current Job Site

Ask the company you’re considering if you’d be able to come to one of their current job sites. This will allow you to see the amount of professionalism that happens on the job. Are they respectful of the house and the homeowners? Or does the job site look messy and poorly managed? A job site visit is one of the best ways to see what you’re in for.

Personality Plays a Part

It’s one thing to have skills and experience, but you want to make sure you’re in business with people you like and can communicate well with. If they’re not able to understand your needs and vision, it will be a long and frustrating ride. Make sure they have good communication skills, are patient and understanding, are willing to work with you, and are creative with their ideas.

Read and Understand the Contract

Before picking a landscaper, ask them if you can take a look at a sample contract, and take note of everything that goes into it. What materials will be used? What’s the timeline? How much is the investment and what is this money buying you? You’ll have to let them know specifics, especially if you need the project to be completed by a certain date, and make sure they’re able to adjust the contract before signing anything.

Picking a landscaper is an exciting task because it means you’re on your way to creating your dream garden. But don’t rush into the decision. Use these steps to choose the perfect landscaper for you and your needs!


Love Shiplap? Here Are 7 Ways To Incorporate It Into Your Home

There’s something about shiplap that makes a space feel cozy and warm. Whether you use it for the exterior or interior of your home, shiplap is a stunning option. If you’re not familiar with shiplap, it’s a type of wooden board with a groove cut into the top and bottom. It was originally used for constructing sheds and barns, but has now become a popular choice for home interiors, too. If you love shiplap, here are 7 ways to incorporate it into your home!

1. Exterior Shiplap

Homeowners and designers love using shiplap on their home exteriors because it’s extremely durable, easy to install, and aesthetically gorgeous. It’s very versatile as you can paint it, stain it or leave it in its natural state. It can stand up to harsh, fluctuating weather conditions, so if you live in an area where the weather is all over the place, shiplap is a great option for your home exterior!

2. Interior Shiplap Walls

Shiplap can be installed over drywall to give the interior of your home a warm, textured appearance. Shiplap planks can be fastened to your walls vertically or horizontally, and you can use them everywhere from your bathroom to your kitchen, to your living room, mudroom or bedroom. Any space you use them in will feel much cozier.

3. Shiplap Ceilings

If you’d rather not use shiplap on your walls, but still want that warm, rustic vibe for your home, shiplap ceilings are the way to go. They’ll add a touch of texture to any room you want to warm up. Of course, you can always do shiplap walls and ceilings if you want a really rustic appearance.

4. Stained Shiplap

One of the great things about shiplap is that you can stain it to get the exact wood shade you’re looking for. The shiplap panels for staining are typically pine or cedar, and both work great for staining. Stained shiplap gives you a more natural look for your home- you can use a dark stain for a deeper, more intense look or a lighter stain for a look that’s softer.

5. Painted Shiplap

Another option is painting your shiplap panels. Most often, shiplap is painted white to warm up a room, but you can get creative depending on your design style!

6. Shiplap for a Country-Style Home

Shiplap is the perfect material to use on the walls or ceilings of a country-style home. It fits right in with the farmhouse aesthetic, whether you choose to install the panels vertically or horizontally. Apply them horizontally if you want to create interest around a room, and vertically if you want to create height in your space.

7. Shiplap for a Modern Home

Although shiplap gives off rustic vibes, it can still be used in a modern home. Shiplap compliments modern design, furniture and decor. Did you recently renovate your kitchen or bathroom to be modern? You can use shiplap for your countertop, cabinets, or even your walls or ceiling. Don’t be afraid to use shiplap in a modern home to give it a rustic touch!


Black Shiplap: Inside, Outside and Everywhere in Your Home

Shiplap is a type of charming wood paneling that reigns supreme in farmhouse design. Although it’s often used in shades of white, black shiplap is a striking and sophisticated spin on the country classic. It’s edgy, elegant and just the perfect dose of moody, and suits contemporary and classic styles alike. If you love the look of white shiplap, but are feeling a more refined aesthetic, here are 8 ways to use black shiplap in your home!

1. A Modern Powder Room

Use black shiplap on the walls in your powder room to give it a modern feel. A powder room is a small space that can handle some drama, and black shiplap is the perfect way to up the moodiness. Choose a vanity and mirror in contrasting colours to black so they really pop against the dark walls.

2. A Farmhouse Kitchen

It you want the look of a farmhouse kitchen, but want to go a little more dramatic than all-white everything, black shiplap is a nice addition. You may not want to go with all-black walls, but an accent wall, kitchen island or pantry doors in black shiplap make a gorgeous, country-chic statement.

3. A Black Shiplap Barn Door

A sliding barn door is the perfect way to incorporate black shiplap into your home. If you love the idea of black shiplap but don’t want to go all out with all black walls, a black shiplap barn door still gives you the look you’re envisioning.

4. A Vintage-Inspired Gallery Wall

A hallway gallery wall is a great way to display your favourite photos, paintings and art prints. Do a black shiplap accent wall in your hallway and place your gallery wall over top. Choose frames in colours like gold and white so they pop against the black.

5. A Sleek Back Porch

If you’re looking to design a sleek back porch area, black shiplap is a great material to use. It will give your backyard a dramatic aesthetic, as well as giving it a nice touch of character. Use it for the back side paneling of your home, as well as on the porch roof.

6. A Cozy Living Room

Cozy up your living room by using black shiplap on all of your walls. Pair them with warm hardwood floors, a patterned Turkish rug, and a big, comfortable couch with lots of pillows and throws. Keep in mind, it’s preferable to do all-black walls in a room with lots of natural light!

7. A Scandinavian Style Bedroom

Scandinavian style decor is marked by elements like sheep skin, worn leather furniture, plants and black and white prints. Black shiplap walls are the perfect way to compliment these features in a Scandinavian style bedroom.

8. An Antique Entryway

Surround the walls of your entryway in black shiplap for an antique feel as people walk into your home. Add pieces like a beautiful vintage dresser and gold accents to enhance the antique aesthetic.

If you’ve been thinking about styling your home with black shiplap, these 8 ideas will help you bring your vision to life!


How to Use Coffee To Stain Wood (And Look Stunning!)

Have you ever thought of using coffee to stain wood? Coffee has so many uses, from fertilizing your lawn to exfoliating your skin, and the latest trick we’ve found is using it to deepen the colour of our favourite wood pieces.

This brilliant DIY makes it easy to stain wood from the comfort of your home! It’s an easy, genius trick that will save you a trip to the hardware store and will enhance everything from wooden bookends to coffee tables to fireplace mantles.

Keep in mind that different types of wood will absorb different amounts of coffee, resulting in different shades. Oak, ash, chestnut and pine are best for staining and will result in a darker stain. If you want to achieve a lighter stain, use a tighter grained wood, such as poplar.

What You’ll Need:

Coffee

Container

Wood

Sandpaper

Towel/rag/sponge/paintbrush

Step 1: Brew the Coffee

Brew an entire pot of coffee, allowing it to get as dark as you want your stain to be. The stronger the coffee, the darker it will stain. Let the coffee cool before applying it to the wood- this will take about half an hour. Once it’s cooled, pour the coffee into the container you’ll use for this DIY project. Note: If you’re staining a large piece of wood, you may need to make multiple pots of coffee.

Step 2: Sand the Wood

Sand the piece of wood you’ll be staining while the coffee cools. If this piece of wood has stain or paint on it already, this step is especially crucial. Remove any dust to keep it from getting stuck on the wood and use a coarse sandpaper followed by a fine sandpaper for the most polished results!

Step 3: Stain Away!

Now’s the time to stain the wood with your coffee! Dip a sponge, rag, towel, or paintbrush into the cooled coffee and cover every inch of the wood. Complete the stain in even layers so the finished product isn’t rough and uneven.

Step 4: Allow the Wood to Dry and Set

Once you’ve completely covered the wood in the coffee stain, allow it to set for about 15 minutes. If you notice you’d like a darker stain, wait 10 minutes and repeat the staining process again. Once you reach your desired shade of wood, wipe it down and allow it to dry completely.

Ta da! You’ve now completed your DIY wood coffee stain! Pretty easy, right? Follow these steps and you can transform any piece of wood you’d like!


Have You Heard About Laneway Suites? Coming to Crowded Cities Near You!

Cities like Toronto are becoming increasingly overcrowded, and increasingly expensive to live in. Creative and thoughtful initiatives are coming into play, including laneway suites, a project put forward by Evergreen to increase housing supply in the GTA, support new forms of housing, and highlight sustainable construction and design.

These suites will create more affordable opportunities for people to live in the GTA, while providing another source of income for the primary household. Read on to check out the importance, benefits and concerns of laneway suites.

What Is A Laneway Suite?

Located at the rear of a residential lot and detached from the primary home, a laneway suite is a small home that can be used for family or as a rental. Its water, sewer, electricity, gas, garbage and mail come from the front street, but its laneway location allows for more privacy from the main house.

The Importance of Laneway Suites

Building laneway suites is important for numerous reasons. First of all, it creates equity by uncovering new housing opportunities for residents. Low-rise residential homes are becoming increasingly expensive and hard to find, and laneway suites could be just the change this city needs!

It also gives more use to laneways, which are typically underutilized. It creates more safe, accessible spaces for residents to take advantage of. Plus, more housing opportunities in liveable, walkable neighbourhoods will give more residents the option to live near their jobs, services and public transit.

3 Benefits of Laneway Suites

1. Doesn’t Compromise Character

Instead of knocking down gorgeous low-rise homes for high-rises, laneway suites allow neighbourhoods to keep their character. Laneway suites increase the number of homes in an area, but don’t compromise the look, feel and character of low-rise residential streets.

2. Increase Income for Homeowners

Homeowners, and especially first time homeowners, are always looking for extra income, especially with the rise of property prices. Secondary rental suites such as laneway suites help cover home costs, giving homeowners more security.

3. Safety

With more homes and people in laneway suites, it will improve the look and safety of a laneway, bringing increased lighting infrastructure and more eye balls to the area.

3 Laneway Suite Concerns

1. Privacy

Privacy for neighbouring yards is always a concern. However, regulations can be put in place that limit windows with views of neighbouring backyards.

2. Waste and Emergency Collection

Many laneways are too narrow to allow waste and emergency vehicles in, but they require access routes. Access from the main street may be required if the laneway can’t accommodate these vehicles.

3. Parking

Whenever secondary suites are introduced into a community, parking (or lack thereof) becomes an issue. Evergreen suggests that parking supply and congestion issues can be eased by solutions such as promoting car sharing, managing the supply of Municipal Street parking permits and adjusting parking standards based on transit proximity.

Overall, the idea of laneway suites could be just the solution Toronto needs for many of its housing issues. What do you think? Do you like the idea of laneway suites?


How to Make Your Home Smell Awesome All The Time

Do you ever walk into your home and wonder where that funky smell is coming from? Rest easy knowing that you’re not alone, but also know that there are ways to make your home smell awesome all the time! You’ll never have to feel self-conscious about inviting people over, or wonder if you’ll have to plug your nose as you walk into your house again! With these 9 tips, your home will always smell fresh and amazing!

1. Open Your Windows

Opening your windows can make a world of a difference to the smell of your home. It will freshen the indoor air and eliminate any cooking smells or other lingering odours in your home.

2. Use an Air Purifier

Use an air purifier to eliminate household odours and keep your home smelling fresh! Air purifiers also reduce dust and pollen, so you’ll be breathing the in the cleanest air possible.

3. Light Candles

Find a few candle scents you love and burn them throughout your house. Candles are a sure way to make sure your home always smells amazing. If you notice a particularly bad odour coming from your home (perhaps it’s the garbage, cat litter or dirty dishes in the sink), deal with the odour, open the windows and light a candle to first eliminate the bad smell and then make it smell great!

4. Spray Your Shoes

Do you have shoes piled up in your entryway? This could be contributing to the odour in your home. Spray the insides of your shoes to banish any bad scents that are coming from them. Foot powder also works well for this!

5. Use Essential Oils and a Diffuser

There are so many different essential oils that will make your home smell awesome. Add some water and a few drops of your favourite essential oil into a diffuser and enjoy as the scent wafts through your home.

6. Add Indoor Flowers and Plants

Another natural way to make your home smell great is with indoor flowers and plants. Live plants freshen the air in your home and your favourite flowers will make it smell incredible. Growing herbs in your kitchen is another great way to enhance the scent in that room.

7. Empty Your Garbage Cans Regularly

This may seem obvious, but sometimes life gets in the way and you don’t empty your garbage cans as soon as you should. Make sure to take out your garbage and compost regularly so it doesn’t start to stink up your home.

8. Clean Out Your Refrigerator

Your refrigerator can be another source of bad odour. If you’ve left food in there for too long, it could be rotting and cause a nauseating smell in your home. Go through your fridge once a week and throw out anything that’s ready to go!

9. Make Sure No Dishes Are Left In The Sink

Dishes with food left on them can be another bad-scent culprit, and if they’re left in the sink for too long, the odour is sure to get worse and worse. Clean your dirty dishes as soon as you can to prevent the bad odour from drifting through your home.

With these 9 tips, you’ll never have to worry about your home smelling bad again. Use them to make your home smell awesome all the time!


Floating House: The Stunning New Idea That We All Love

Have you heard of a floating house? Floating homes are constructed just like regular homes on land, but are built on a floating concrete barge on top of water. They’re the new trend in sustainable construction, and are suitable for year-round living. Floating homes can be quaint one-storey homes or grand million dollar mansions. If you’re considering make the move to a floating house, here are the things you need to know!

The Differences Between a Floating Home and A Houseboat

Although they both sit atop water, floating homes and houseboats are not the same thing. Floating homes are permanently connected to sewer, water and electrical, and are permanently moored. They’re built and moved into place just once and have no means of self-propulsion.

Houseboats, on the other hand, have features that you can disconnect. You can unscrew the electricity, and untie and easily move away. They are not built to be permanently moored. They are a self-propelled power vessel that can maneuver on their own, and are free to travel the waterway.

Benefits of Floating Homes

There are plenty of advantages to living in a floating home. First and foremost, you get an amazing water view from your home and nobody can block anything that will ruin it. You’ll have gorgeous sunrise and sunset water views right from your property and can take a dip in the water anytime you feel like it. You won’t need to garden or shovel snow when you live on the water, so home maintenance is greatly minimized too!

Most floating homes are designed beautifully, with large windows, gorgeous docks and stunning features like skylights and rooftop decks. Floating house neighbourhoods also offer an enjoyable experience as you get to know your neighbours well and there’s a strong feeling of community.

Drawbacks of Floating Homes

While floating homes offer a number of benefits, they’re not for everyone. One of the biggest floating home drawbacks is space. Floating house communities are great if you love the idea of being in a tight-knit community, but keep in mind there’s typically about 10 feet between you and your neighbour, so if space is important to you, a floating home may not be ideal.

Most moorages don’t have garages, and carports and storage units often have rent waitlists. On top of that, you’re not going to be parking your car near your home and it can become tiresome to haul groceries down a ramp.

Other things to consider about living in a floating home are sea sickness, motion sickness, and extreme weather that can lead to damage of your floating home. And since there are less floating home neighbourhoods, there is often less real estate and communities to choose from when buying a floating house.

Floating homes are a growing trend in the housing market. If this way of living intrigues you, weigh the benefits and drawbacks and decide if floating home living is right for you!


Step Up! 6 Great Design Ideas for Your Front Steps

Your front steps should make a statement. Whether that statement is subtle or bold is up to you, but your steps are the entryway to your home, so they should make a good first impression.

Many of us think about front steps in terms of functionality, and while they do need to be functional, they can also enhance your curb appeal, make your entryway appear larger, and increase accessibility.

Coordinate your front steps with your front porch, entry door and landscaping so it all comes together to welcome people to your abode. Ready to step up your entryway game? Here are our best front step design ideas we know you’ll love!

1. Brick Entryway

Coordinate your front steps and porch by constructing them both with large, timeless brick. It will flow together, making a seamless transition from your steps to your porch- a gorgeous design for a traditional home. Add Tuscan columns where the stairs meet the porch, big, beautiful windows and gorgeous shutters for a charming, traditional look.

2. Grand Staircase

If you have a large front porch, take advantage of the space and add a wide staircase up to your porch. This will open up the facade of your home, giving people a true appreciation for how grand your entryway really is. Place the front steps so they line up with the middle of the porch, giving your home beauty and balance.

3. Resort-Style Steps

Whether you have a vacation home, or just really want the look of a resort-style home for your house in the city, your front steps can help you achieve the look. Decorative tiles or designs placed on the risers of the staircase offer a resort-style vibe that transports you to an island oasis. Choose a tile that reminds you of your favourite vacation spot, and you’ll love walking up your stairs every day.

4. Cool and Contemporary

Have a contemporary home? You probably want contemporary front steps to go with it. Tones of gray can help you achieve the contemporary look for your front entryway, including the stairway leading up to your porch. You can also consider putting hidden lights under each step to portray the look of floating stairs and to help lead your family and guest up the stairway. It’s a cool, contemporary touch!

5. Wooden Warm

One way to make a warm welcome with your front entryway is with wooden front steps. It gives your entryway an inviting feel and makes your home feel timeless and trendy all at once. Choose a wood you really love and that compliments the rest of your home exterior and landscape.

6. Brick & Concrete

Another great option for a more traditional-style home is mixing brick and concrete for your front steps. Use concrete slabs for the treads and bricks for the risers, ending off with a concrete or brick patio- whichever you like best!

If you want your front stairway to be more than just functional, use one of these awesome design ideas for your front steps!