torstar file photos


Glass tiles by Saltillo Imports


Layers of lit glass panels form a divider

A cheap-and-cheerful glass vase

You’ve got the holiday ornaments packed away for another year, and the pine needles swept away. Congratulations! But now you’re sitting in your empty and strangely barren house wondering and you’re suddenly feeling a little down.

Well, the design team is familiar with what ails you — it’s called the post-Christmas holiday blues. Once the colours, flash and sparkle of the season are removed, and you are left to contemplate the bleak browns and greys outside your window ... blah is the word that comes to mind.

We have an easy decor suggestion, one that takes advantage of the light that comes into your home, and can introduce colour and cheer.

Glass. It’s the perfect solution for our northern latitudes where lack of light and colour in the winter can be monotonous. Glass lets the light shine through, whether it is diffused or transparent. We think that textured or bubble glass is particularly lovely, and adds interest when viewed against the light. Coloured glass in any colour adds a cheery, bright note that is a pleasure to the eye.

Coloured glass bottles or containers in one colour, such as royal blue or soft rose or a light green on a windowsill casts delightful coloured light into your house when the sun shines. Attractive glass vases or bowls on tabletops or side tables can introduce that much-needed splash of colour. Kitchen or dining room cupboards with lights are another great place to display some of your most colourful glass. And of course, candles inside coloured glass containers always add a pretty and romantic feel to a space.

Though fine handblown, etched or cut glassware can be expensive, attractive glass doesn’t have to be. Tammy and I have found a treasure trove of lovely coloured glass pitchers and vases in dollar stores, and their cheerful effects are just as effective as much more expensive glassware.

Clear vases or bowls can be partially filled with colourful glass pebbles for a punch of colour, and vibrant fruit such as lemons or pomegranates in a bowl can have the same delightful effect. Think in terms of "shocking" your senses with a spot of colour.

If you’re in the market for renovations or improvements, consider glass in its various permutations-frosted, patterned, coloured, textured, smoky or even opaque-for all sorts of applications. Molded panes of frosted or textured glass are starting to appear in stair balusters. We have even seen thick textured glass treads on open staircases in lofts or other contemporary settings, a great way to open up space and let the light shine through. We have seen molded glass screens and dividers used very elegantly, in a way that provides both privacy and light, both inside and outside.

Glass tiles of different sizes are also starting to appear on floors and walls in different rooms, particularly bathrooms or other wet areas. The wonderful thing about glass tiles, if grout is applied so that the edges remain slightly exposed, is that they can refract light and even appear to "glow" in the right conditions. But if they are on the floor, do be sure and treat them with an anti-slip coating. With a new light on things, you and your home should be ready for good things to come in 2007.

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