From drab to fab

I had allot of rooms before I became so passionate about home decor. Most of my early furniture decisions were based on availability and what I had on hand for my budget. This is when I learned my most important factor – budget it everything! Sure, if we could all afford Restoration Hardware we would hall have incredible spaces admired by others. But what if our own style was more important? What if using what you have within your budget could go just as far?

Before I realised those important lessons I was lost in a sea of mediocre but still with a sense that using what is available to you matters. Here is a brief journey of my home decor evolution.

  • College rental with roommates – a drew the short straw for the smallest room – so I decided I need  everything in the room to be tall and narrow furniture – to fake more space but maximise storage – thank you IKEA!
  • Summer in Toronto living with boys – as the only girl in our rental house I needed my own CLEAN space with a little glam. Mirrors and light colours were the answer.
  • First job – living on my own – hand me down furniture / mixing with college decor just trying to survive working and taking care of myself and afford to go out with my friends. My social life, and clothing style were thriving but this phase was my ultimate home style slump. Because everything was temporary. I was trying to be a grown-up with no money. This sad home decor style lasted for two more rentals places – with identical furniture in each place but also included fancy martini glasses of course.
  • Then I bought my first place – no more IKEA!
    • I was determined to buy my first home (a great two-bedroom townhouse) and not bring any of my old IKEA furniture with me into the new house. However, my new townhome also came with dusty rose carpet and vinyl floors, which were killing my style vibe.
    • But I realised that after putting the down payment on my house and wanting to buy new furniture, I knew I did not have enough money to change the flooring of the house.
    • So by using my marketing and product promotion background, I opted to buy furniture that camouflaged the carpets and flooring and highlighted the furniture instead. I used earth tones furniture with browns, greens and chrome lacquer furniture (thank you EQ3) which made the dusty rose carpets, look beige. Colour lesson number 1! And beige carpets I could handle.
    • I also used bright red side tables and antique mirrors to draw attention up off the floor to purposeful accents. And lighting with a more white tone to hide the warmth of the the pink carpet. It worked and most people didn’t even realise I had pink carpet – success!

So how did I get here?

When my recent love of decor became a true passion. Three years ago, I got engaged and decided to sell my house in Canada and move to the USA to join my fiance. I knew that dusty rose carpet was not going to get top dollar (thank you property brothers) for my house.

At this point in time, I had never watched  an HGTV show and I had no money to make any real improvements to my house before putting it up for sale. I was quote $10K for hardwood flooring –  after all, I had immigration, a move and a wedding to plan. Hardwood floors where not an option to get my house to sell.

However, because I worked in Marketing and I knew exactly how to promote to the right target audiences. So I knew staging my house was my only option. I started my research  with pintrest and HomeSense Canada. I combed through the latest trends and decided that I could copy them by shopping right and playing up the light and size of each of the rooms. Celebrate what you have rather than then focusing on what you can’t afford to change.

I decide that as a single girl living in my very own townhouse I would market to someone exactly like me.  I liked bright, white decor that was for me – not generic. I got rid of any furniture I didn’t love before putting my house on the market and replaced it with cost effective room layouts that were bright and airy and celebrated being feminine rather than bland flat colours that were neutral. It worked, I sold my house in a month (twice actually, since the first buyer’s financing fell through – she was also a single woman) to a woman exactly like me. Young, single and looking for a place of her own. I did not paint or change the carpets. I changed light fixtures, furniture and decor only and stayed on my $250 budget!

Here is my first before and after pictures  of the changes I made in my townhouse – I still feel so proud of the dramatic change I made.

Before…

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Before – the basement with no purpose

After…

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After – pretty sitting area in the basement
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After – a brighter basement office
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After- kitchen – vinyl flooring (camouflage with decor)
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