Welcome to Gentek Canada’s MyDesign Home Studio, our home exterior improvement blog

Get tips and colour choices from our designers and learn about our latest windows, siding and home exterior products.

What is “Junk Gardening”? And How to Make It Work For You

If you haven’t heard of junk gardening yet, allow us to introduce you. It’s a type of gardening that allows you to repurpose old items that you would otherwise throw out. Made popular by the book Garden Junk by Mary Randolph Carter, the look of “junk” among beautiful flowers and plants can bring an element of uniqueness to your garden.

The awesome thing about junk gardening is you can use just about anything to complement your garden space. Before you throw anything out, ask yourself- can I use this in my garden? Here’s how to make junk gardening work for you.

Examples of “Junk” You Can Use In Your Garden

Old Wooden Signs

Whether you have old wooden signs in your basement, or find some at an antique shop, they’re a great feature to add to your garden. Signs draw your eye upward, so are ideal if you have tall flowers like Russian sage in your garden.

Rustic Birdhouses

Another great addition to a garden is rustic birdhouses. They’re charming and decorative, and whether they’re still usable for their original function or not, you might as well keep them around. Stand them on poles in your garden or hang them on your garden fence!

Old Tires

If you have old tires, why not paint them and use them for growing herbs? Grow herbs like thyme, lavender, mint and sage in pots and place them in the colourful tires- make sure to also fill the tires with the same soil for good growth. The thick walls of the tires will keep the herbs from spreading beyond the given space.

Galvanized Buckets

Galvanized buckets work great as planters! Wherever you need a pop of colour in your garden, place a bunch flowers in galvanized buckets to give your garden some life!

Choose Where to Place the “Junk”

The items you use for junk gardening should be placed strategically in your garden. The idea is not to make them look out of place, but to feel like they belong there. Consider to overall shape, size and design of the object, as well as the size of your garden, to figure out where to place them.

If you have a garden fence, you also have more chances to decorate, hanging items on the fence. Work with what you have and use space to your advantage by placing your “junk” items in places that make them look beautiful.

How to Coordinate “Junk” with the Rest of Your Garden

With junk gardening, you want to make sure the “junk” fits in seamlessly, rather than standing out and actually looking like junk. Coordinate the colour of the items with the flowers and plants in your garden, and if you need to paint your “junk” objects, it’s a great DIY activity to do on the weekend! There’s lots of opportunity to create beauty within your garden, giving old items new use!

Are you ready to try “junk gardening”? Instead of throwing out old objects, ask yourself how you can use them in your garden, and create a unique garden you love!


Beautify Your Pool With These Cabana Ideas

It’s almost pool weather, and if you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard, why not beautify it with a gorgeous cabana? Not only will a cabana elevate the aesthetic of your pool and yard, it also offers a space to grab shade, as well as somewhere for your family and guests to change into their swimsuits without having to go all the way inside. Cabanas can be sweet and simple or large and luxe. Here are 4 keys steps to designing a cabana to beautify your pool!

1. Decide On Your Location

First thing’s first, you have to decide on the location you’ll place your cabana. If you have a smaller yard, you may not have much of a decision to make, but if you have a large yard, you’ll have to decide which side of the pool you’ll want to place it on.

Do you want the cabana to be at the back of the pool facing you as you walk towards it? Or perhaps you’d rather have it on one of the side edges of your pool instead. Consider things such as how to maximize sunlight, whether you need to run electricity through it, and whether you’re going to invest in plumbing for a bar sink or shower, and if so, where the prime place to locate it would be.

2. Choose a Size

Some cabanas are small and simple, while others are large and extravagant. A small yard means you’ll have a smaller cabana, but just because you have a large yard, doesn’t mean you need to go with a big cabana. Consider how much use it will get and what you’ll use it for.

Do you want it to be solely a place for people to change in private? Or do you want it to be more of an open-air cabana with seating and a bar? Do you want a cozy, intimate seating area? Or are you going to be using your cabana more for entertaining large parties?

3. Exterior Design

The exterior design of your cabana is also important. Do you want it to match the rest of your home? Or do you want it to stand on its own? Think about how it will fit in with your landscaping and the natural surroundings in your yard. You may want to consider designing it to complement the flowers and plants nearby. Then you’ll have to choose a material for your cabana. For a beautiful, durable structure, use a material like our Distinction siding for the look of real wood, without the upkeep!

4. Pick Your Interior Features

Choosing the interior features of your cabana is one of the most fun parts of designing this space! Choose interior features like furniture, pillows and paint colour based on your personal taste. Don’t worry about matching it to your home- unless you want to, of course! You can have more fun with your cabana, choosing finishes and accents that are more eclectic than you might choose for your home interior. Consider adding benches, shelving and hooks, and whether you want a bar station and bifold bar windows. You’ll also want to add a source of light if you’re planning to have late night swims.

Adding a cabana to your yard is one of the best ways to beautify your pool! Follow these steps to ensure you get the perfect cabana for your home!


How to Add Personality To Your Home With a Door Overhang

If you’re looking to add charm and personality to your home, a door overhang could be the way to do it. A door overhang is a small awning or cover that hangs over your door, protecting it from the elements. A door overhang will extend the life of your door, while helping your home make a good first impression.

Your door is one of the first things that your guests will see, so adding a feature like a door overhang will undoubtedly up your curb appeal. It will keep your guests out of the sun or rain while they ring the doorbell and it will keep you protected while you look for your keys! Here are 5 steps to follow to add a door overhang!

1. Colour Coordinate

Just like any other element on your home exterior, the colour of your door overhang should complement the colours of your home. Some homeowners choose a door overhang in the same colour as their door, while others opt for a contrasting yet complementary colour such as a white awning over a black door. Take into consideration the colour of your siding, windows, door and trim to find the perfect shade for your overhang.

2. Consider Weather

Door overhangs aren’t just there to look pretty- they also protect your door from harsh elements like wind and rain. Some areas are more prone to harsh weather, while others enjoy rays of sun. When you’re deciding on the type of door overhang you want, make sure to factor in the weather in your location. If you get a lot of rain, you’ll want a sturdy overhang that directs water away from you while you’re standing underneath it.

3. Lighting

A door overhang will darken your front entry area, so you’ll need to add in lighting. Install a fixture on the ceiling of the overhang, or you can place a pair of lights on the wall of the house under the overhang. One of the benefits of a door overhang is to make your home feel warm and inviting, and an unlit entry, especially at night, can be the exact opposite, so make sure lighting tops your list of priorities!

4. Pick Your Material

Another important factor to consider with your door overhang is the material of the awning or cover. You don’t want it to be a material that’s too heavy. A heavy-looking steel door overhang that looks like it would do some damage if it fell won’t be welcoming to your guests. Instead, opt for a wood, fiberglass or vinyl for a more welcoming look. Make sure whatever material you use is water resistant and UV resistance so it can perform its job well!

5. Choose Your Design

Now comes the fun part! Once you’ve decided on all the functional elements of your door overhang, you can choose its design. Door overhangs come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s up to you what you want for your home. Choose from options like a small or large gable, a shed-roofed entry, a small L shaped cover, and more. The perfect awning for your home will depend on the size of your house and the main function you want the overhang to take on.

A door overhang is a great way to add personality to your home! Use these five tips to choose the perfect door overhang for you!


Want to Create a Gallery Wall? Here’s How to Space Everything Just Right!

If you have a blank wall in your home that needs some love, a gallery wall could be the perfect solution! A gallery wall is a collage of photos, prints and artwork hung together to make a unified work of art. It’s one of the best ways to make a statement in your home, and showcase beautiful art you’ve bought, along with photos from your life and travels.

Mix paintings and photography, black and white with colour, and combine high and low pieces. The pieces in a gallery wall don’t all need to match- they just need to complement each other.

One of the most important aspects of a successful gallery wall is having your photos spaced out just right. They need to be balanced and proportionate to one another and the room they’re in. Here are 4 tips to create a gallery wall with the perfect spacing and elements.

1. Master Spacing

The spacing of your gallery wall will make or break it! It’s smart to have an idea of the layout you want before you start placing art up on the wall. Measure the space you have for your gallery and create a mirror of it on the floor below the wall. This allows you to space out your pieces exactly how you want them and gives you a visual of how it will look on the wall. Play around with a few layouts and have fun with it!

Once you have the perfect layout on the floor, use a measuring tape to measure each of the frames and the space between each piece. You can make marks on your wall with a pencil to show you exactly where each piece should be hung to get your desired look!

2. Think About Frames

Finding the perfect pieces of art for your gallery wall is key, but it’s not the only thing you need to think about. The frames you place your pieces in should also add to the visual appeal of your gallery wall. If you want a clean look, go for frames in the same colour and style. Or you can mix and match more unique frames to add visual interest. If you want your gallery wall to have old world charm, choose frames that are vintage or distressed.

3. Find the Perfect Spot

You want your gallery wall to be a piece of art, not an eyesore. Choose a wall that has a good amount of space, but don’t feel like you have to fill the whole wall. Gallery walls look great over a low cabinet, couch or TV stand. If you notice there’s a wall that’s looking bare in your home, ask yourself if a gallery wall is the solution!

4. Consider Design Elements

It’s important that your gallery wall complements the rest of the room you put it in. Consider the design and decor of the room and how a gallery wall will add to it. For example, if the room has a lot of muted tones and neutrals, you may want to stick with pastels and white and black hues for your gallery wall. Take into account everything from the wall colour to your couch to your decor accents.

A gallery wall is a great addition to any room! Use these tips to create a beautiful gallery wall with space that’s just right!


How to Create The Perfect Wood Ceiling for Any Room

A wood ceiling is a gorgeous way to make a statement in your home. It’s a unique feature that adds lots of character and warmth to your space. You can have a wood ceiling in any room, from your kitchen to your bedroom to your living room, and it works for traditional and contemporary styles alike! You can opt for a traditional wood shade, like maple or chestnut, or paint it in a colour that better suits your design style. With so many options, a wood ceiling is a great home update. Here’s how to create the perfect wood ceiling in any room.

1. Go Vintage

If you’ve designed and decorated your home with vintage accents, a wood ceiling can help you achieve the vintage-inspired look. Choose a slightly gray-hued wood- it’s sure to add to the vintage aesthetic to your space. Add in an antique chandelier and a few vintage pieces of furniture, and you’re sure to convey the look!

2. Bright and White

If your aesthetic is light and bright, paint your wood ceiling white to keep the feeling of your room clean and crisp. It will add subtle character to your space, but still make a beautiful statement. This especially holds true for bright kitchens, with white cupboards and countertops and a lightly coloured backsplash. A white wood ceiling will fit in seamlessly.

3. Modern Farmhouse

On the other hand, if you have a mainly-white kitchen but are looking for a modern farmhouse look, add in a wood ceiling without painting it. The contrast between the wood and the white tiles and countertops will help you achieve the farmhouse kitchen of your dreams. Add wood in other pieces like a butcher block countertop for your island, and open wooden shelving, to bring the room together.

4. All Rustic Everything

If you’re going for the rustic look for, let’s say, your living room, a wood ceiling is the perfect addition to your space. If rustic is your design style, you likely already have wood and stone accents in your living room, and a wood ceiling is the perfect way to complement them. Depending on the shape of your room, you can do a straight across ceiling or a curved dome ceiling to catch the eye even more.

5. Dark and Bold

If you have a more masculine room, with darker shades in your furniture and design accents, opt for walnut wood ceilings to maintain the aesthetic. In a darker room, make sure to have lots of lighting (both natural and artificial) to ensure the room gets full appreciation for its beauty.

6. Light and Feminine

For a room where you want a more feminine aesthetic, choose a light wood shade like ash or maple. Using a lighter wood hue is especially ideal if you want to create a shabby chic aesthetic. Pair it with subtly ornate armchairs, vintage wall sconces and warm velvet accents to master the feminine, shabby chic look.

If you’ve been thinking of putting in wood ceilings, now is the time to do it! Use this guide to figure out the wood ceiling style that’s perfect for you!


How to Make 1,000 Sq Ft Look Chic

When you have a small space to work with, it can feel like you don’t have many options for design and decor. Allow us to change your perspective! 1,000 square feet is just the right amount of space to create a chic interior. Small homes are charming and sweet, and with the right plan, can end up looking just as high end as a big mansion. You just have to find the right balance between adding enough storage and choosing pieces that elevate your aesthetic. Here’s how to decorate your home to make up for your small space.

Don’t Waste Any Space

When you have a small home, it’s important not to let any space go wasted. While you don’t want to over-crowd your home, if there’s a blank wall with nothing too close against it, use up that space by adding in tall shelves or a cabinet. This provides you with extra storage space and increases the aesthetic of your room.

Add a Butcher Block Island

If your kitchen is low on counter space, take matters into your own hands by adding in a butcher block island. It’s important to have counter space and storage in the kitchen, and an added island is one of the best ways to get both! Butcher block islands are also extremely trendy, so will make your kitchen look even more chic.

Use Lighter Shades

Lighter shades will always make a room look larger, so keep that in mind while painting and decorating. Use earthy soft tones for bigger pieces like couches and area rugs and add colour with throw pillows, arm chairs and small bookshelves. Plants are also a great way to add colour to a more neutrally furnished room.

Fancy Finishes

Stylish accents and finishes can make any home look chic. A gorgeous brass faucet over your sink, gold cabinet hardware, stylish overhead light fixtures and faux fur seat coverings for your bar stools are just a few ways to make a room fancy, no matter how small it is!

Under Bed Storage

Another way to ensure your home isn’t filled with clutter is adding storage in unexpected places. With a 1,000 sq ft home, your bedroom is likely on the smaller side. Work with this by adding under bed storage, where you can hide shoes, seasonal clothing, bags and more. You can store a lot under a queen or king bed, so make sure to utilize that space well!

Barn Doors for Bathrooms

Barn doors are one of the best ways to save space and they look incredible chic. In some homes, bathroom doors open outward, which can take up unnecessary space in your hallway. Barn doors are the perfect solution, sliding right up against the wall to give your home more space and charm!

Decorating a small space is such a fun challenge! If you’re stuck on where to start, use our tips to make your 1,000 sq ft home look chic!


Summer is Coming! Grab Some Amazing Patio Ideas and Start Planning

It may be hard to believe, but winter is finally coming to an end and summer is on our heels. One of the best things about summer is the start of patio season and the ability to sit outside for hours on end in the warmth. Whether it’s open or closed, a nice patio in your backyard is the cherry on top of a beautiful home. A patio allows you to sit outside and read, entertain family and friends, and enjoy nature just outside your home. Check out our amazing patio ideas so you can start planning for your dream patio today!

Accessorize

If you have a small patio space, all you need are a few accessories and decor pieces to make it stylish and comfortable. Add a couple throw pillows, a rug, and a small drink stand to hold sparkling water and other refreshments for you and your guests.

Pick Low Maintenance Plants

Plants will breathe life into your patio, making it look colourful and refreshed! But if you don’t have much of a green thumb, your plants may end up wilting, making your patio look worse off. Select low maintenance plants, like succulents, sunflowers and evergreen vines to add contrasting colours and textures without the upkeep!

Add a Bar Cart

A stylish bar cart is a great addition to any patio! They look chic and create a convenient place to put snacks and drinks, so you don’t have to constantly take trips inside. Fill the top of the bar cart with cookies, finger sandwiches and fruit, and put refreshments and bar tools like shakers on the bottom!

Put in Trendy Lighting

Don’t just add lighting to your patio, make sure it’s trendy lighting! If your patio is completely open-air style, add a set of string lights overhead. It’s an affordable way to make a really chic statement. If you have an indoor patio, lighting such as lanterns and hanging wicker pendants will add visual appeal!

Mix and Match Your Chairs

A patio is definitely a space where you can have some fun with your decor. If you have a table on your patio for eating meals and entertaining outside, why not use mix and match your chairs? If you have seating for six, try four matching chairs with two other matching chairs on the table ends, or three sets with two of each matching each other. Or, you can go all out and use six different chairs! Make sure the chairs all complement each other and the table, but it’s a fun way to switch things up!

Paint Your Floor

Painting your patio floor is a great way to refresh the space! If it’s an open air patio, it’s likely wood, so you can stain or paint it to give it a face lift, especially if it’s seen better days. You can also paint a concrete patio, giving it some much needed colour and personality!

If you’re ready for patio season, make these simple additions to your patio to welcome the warm weather!


From Bold to Beige: How to Coordinate Your Exterior Paint Colours

Coordinating your exterior paint colours isn’t always as easy as it may seem. However, with the right tips and advice, you’ll find the perfect exterior colours that complement each other and make your home look gorgeous and inviting. The paint colours you choose for your exterior will be determined by your personal style and what you want your home to convey. Whether that’s bright and bold, dark and moody or somewhere in the middle, here’s how to coordinate your exterior paint colours!

Check out our World of Colour to follow along with the paint colours we refer to!

A Neutral Palette

A neutral palette always ensures an on-trend yet timeless home. Soft creamy grays like Gentek’s “Pearl” and “Dover Gray”, as well as white and greige tones are gorgeous options for your home exterior. Pair neutrals in similar tones that complement each other for a look that’s modern and classic at the same time.

Bright and Bold

If you’re more adventurous when it comes to your home design, a bright and bold colour palette may be more your speed. Just make sure not to go overboard! While giving your home a bold door or siding colour will work if the rest of the exterior is more toned down, choosing bright, bold colours for your door, siding and trim will look too overwhelming. If you love the bright and bold look, try shades like our “Burgundy”, “Mountain Arbour Green”, and “Rockwell Blue”, and stick to bold colours for either your siding or door and trim.

Dark and Moody

On the other hand, if dark and moody is more your style, there are beautiful options for you too. Black exteriors continue to rise in popularity, and on top of that, black will always be a classic and timeless shade. A black exterior is dramatic in such a beautiful way, and if you add contrast with white trim around your windows and doors, it will make an even bigger statement.

Blue Hues

Home exteriors with blue hues are also a big trend right now. A navy like our “Old World Blue” is ideal if you’re into darker shades, and “Pacific Blue” is gorgeous if you more of the sea-inspired look. Pair blues with charcoals and crisp whites for the most gorgeous contrast.

Timeless Trio

You can never go wrong with a white, black and gray colour combination. Opt for a light to medium gray such as Gentek’s “Storm” for your siding, “Black” for your door, and a pretty white like our “Snow White” for your trim. This colour combination is extremely charming, and with the addition of window boxes and lush green landscaping, your home is sure to shine.

Coordinating your exterior paint colours doesn’t have to be hard! Use this guideline to choose the perfect colours for you and your home!

Don’t forget, from now until April 30th, we’re offering free design services on the Gentek project visualizer platform! Get your home prepared by our professional designers in as little as 3 business days, and create beautiful designs in a jiff!


How to Perfectly Match Your Window Box to Your Home

Window boxes offer a stylish statement to the exterior of your home, adding colour and life, and welcoming people to your abode. They’re essentially a miniature garden in a box, and what could be more charming than that? A window box adds visual appeal to your exterior and allows you to get creative with your choice of flowers, colours and plants! They’re a great way to spruce up your home and don’t require the commitment of a full garden, yet make a similar impact. Here are our best tips for perfectly matching your window box to your home.

1. Complement Your Home

First and foremost, your window box should complement your home. It should fit seamlessly with your design and look like it was built at the same time your home was. Choose window boxes in materials and colours that complement your home’s exterior. Paint them in the same colour as your window trim, or create a gorgeous contrast, like wood window boxes with black trim and shutters.

2. Pay Attention to Length

Your window boxes should be the same length as your windows. If they’re too long or short, they’re not going to look proportional and they’ll throw off your entire facade. If you find window boxes you’re completely in love with but they’re not the EXACT same length, just make sure they’re not off by more than a couple of inches.

3. Make a Visual Statement with Your Flowers and Plants

The flowers and plants in your window box should be gorgeous and varied. Play around with colours, textures and sizes to ensure you make a beautiful visual statement that complements your home.

Do you want the flowers to hang over the boxes? How high do you want your flowers to come up on your windows? What colour scheme do you want to stick to? Do you want to add plants like vines that drape over the front of the boxes? Take all these things into consideration when choosing the flowers and plants for your window box!

4. You’ll Need Proper Drainage

Don’t forget- your window boxes will need proper drainage for your plants to bloom and flourish. Some window boxes come with holes in the bottom to ensure that excess water can drain out, but for the ones that don’t, you’ll have to drill holes yourself. Drill one-inch holes in the bottom, about six inches away from one another.

5. Do Your Plant Research

Not all plants require the same maintenance in terms of watering and sunlight. Do your research before choosing flowers and plants for your window boxes, and take into account the type of sunlight your window boxes will get. The types of plants you choose will depend on whether your window boxes will be receiving direct sunlight year-round or if they’re placed in shaded areas.

Window boxes are a beautiful way to make a statement for your home exterior. Use these tips to match your window box perfectly to your home!


How to Make Your Mudroom Work Hard for You

Your mudroom is an important space in your home. Not everyone has one, but if you’re one of the lucky ones, you know what a great addition it is. Your mudroom is the first point of entry to your home, and acts as storage for items you don’t want cluttering the rest of your space. For these reasons, mudrooms need to be functional, but they should also be beautiful, too. The best mudrooms mix utility and style, working hard for you and also inviting people into your home. Here are 7 ways to make your mudroom work hard for you!

1 Easy to Clean Flooring

When it comes to the flooring for your mudroom, make sure that you choose a material that’s easy to clean due to the high amount of traffic the room gets. Ceramic tile is a top option due to its durability, easy cleaning and low maintenance. Other good options are stone or sealed wood or concrete.

2. A Bench

A bench is a great addition to any mudroom, and serves a number of functions. First, it provides a spot for people to sit to take off and put on their shoes. It also offers a place for you to leave bags and purses when you enter your home. Plus, if you opt for a bench with storage underneath, you have a place to put items that don’t get used as much.

3. Cubbies

Mudroom cubbies are a great way to keep the room organized. Each family member can have a cubby to call their own, to hang their bags and coats. Personalized cubbies ensure your mudroom doesn’t get too messy or disorderly.

4. Hooks

All mudrooms should have hooks to hang coats and bags! One of the main functions of a mudroom is to keep jackets and bags from being thrown over chairs and stair railings, so make sure there’s a place for them to hang in your mudroom. There are lots of stylish hooks to choose from these days, so you can match them to the design of the room!

5. Floor Mats

Even if you have good flooring in your mudroom, a floor mat will ensure the room stays even cleaner. Canadian weather is hard to predict, and we’re all too familiar with snow, rain and the mud that comes with it. Invest in a floor mat can handle lots of foot traffic, is easy to clean, and adds visual appeal to your mudroom!

6. Boxes and Baskets

Boxes and baskets are the best way to control clutter. If you have a mudroom with cubbies under your bench or overhead and want a way to conceal what’s in the cubbies, boxes and baskets will be your new best friends! You can use them to store anything from shoes to hats and gloves to seasonal gear.

7. Shoe/Dog Washing Station

If you live in an area that is prone to rainy, muddy days, or have a super outdoorsy family, you may want to consider adding a show washing station to your mudroom. A washing station is also awesome if you have a dog! When they get muddy outside, you can give them a quick wash to ensure they don’t drag dirt and mud through the rest of the home.

If you have a mudroom or are thinking of putting one in, use these ideas to make your mudroom work hard for you!