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Styling the New Year -
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Styling the New Year

2017 is well underway. For many of us the new year is a wake up call to get things done and take on new projects. No matter where you look this time of year, you’ll probably see words like ‘fresh!’, ‘revitalize!’, ‘new!’, ‘better!’– even in the design world. Now that the fog of the holiday season has lifted and the magic touches of festive decor are packed away in boxes some living spaces may be looking more hum drum than you remember… Maybe it’s time to ‘freshen’ up some of these spaces?

One of our favourite ways to ‘revitalize’ a space is with the transformative power of styling.

New paint, fun accents, even a piece of art can inject life into a seemingly stale space. The best part about styling is it can be used with any design budget and time frame. Regardless if you have $50 and a weekend or $5,000 and some contractors, the right finishing touches will give that feeling of completeness to a space. Sometimes this process can be daunting. Should you paint? Maybe reupholster? Change accent pillows? Organize shelving in a creative way? Lights??

It can be a tricky process. At Designers Collective we make sure that each project is styled with the right touches to make it feel like a productive/homey/modern/’fresh’ space. In our experience styling can be broken down to three stages: looking, experimenting, and doing.



A couple of us may be guilty of going into the time-warp that is browsing Pinterest, Instagram, design blogs, online magazines, etc… (I mean no way 3hrs goes by that fast right?) But looking is an important step: the more you look the more refined your taste becomes. Being able to say yes/no to decorative styles will not only narrow down your options but guarantee that you will be living with something you actually like.

There are lots of opportunities to do your ‘looking’ offline too… Most design and furniture stores advertise their products within various vignettes peppered around their showrooms. This is not only helpful if you’re on the hunt for some new things, but also shows you ways to incorporate large items (couches, tables, are rugs…) and small items (books, objets d’art, knick knacks…) harmoniously in one space.

Look for ideas and inspiration!




Swatches! Testers! Workshops!

It’s important to take your style for a bit of a test drive. If you’re looking to style with paint or fabrics it’s always best to bring a sample home to see it in the space: light, shadow, time of day, and other materials in the room will respond to colours in ways you cannot predict in the store (thank you showroom lighting…). Go with the one that looks best overall in the space.

If you decide to style a space without adding anything new, like organizing shelving or being creative with furniture, we like using photographs as a design tool. Nothing is more helpful than a side-by-side comparison– but if we’re talking re-organizing pillows or getting creative with a bookshelf, it’s difficult to try and remember what the last version looked like. So: arrange, flip, tidy, or move, take a photo, repeat. Compare your style snapshots to see which you like best.

If you are new to the idea of styling or are not sure how to add those little touches that finish off a room, a workshop provides an opportunity to experiment with your options, learn a few tricks from professionals, and mingle with other design lovers. Coming up on February 25 the Designers Collective is hosting a Styling Workshop that tackles some issues many of our clients face when it comes to ‘revitalizing’ a space or adding those finishing touches after a big reno. (Also, browse our workshops page for more opportunities to get your hands dirty with design!)




Dive right in. Think of it as a New Year’s polar bear dip for your style. Use your photographs, workshop how-to, or samples as a jumping off point to style like crazy! Nobody knows your space or style like you! We’re always here to help out and love solving design puzzles… reach out to us at or on twitter (@designers411) with  any styling questions!


Wishing you all a very stylish 2017!


-The Designers Collective

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