interior design show


This well-lit room has sheer curtains to let in the light. It’s by Cecconi Simone, who are being honoured at this weekend’s Interior Design Show.


The design team received numerous how-to requests after last week’s column on “hiving.” So, how do you make your home more of a place that’s amenable to becoming a “hive” of activity, an energized place that welcomes family and community, rather than a cushy place to “cocoon” and escape from the world?

Just in time for the coming of spring, we have some suggestions on how to prepare for hiving, and slowly move away from what we like to call human hibernation. Opening up your house to light and activity, culling and streamlining your possessions, and selecting light-toned and lightly-textured fabrics and finishes will make your home seem spacious and welcoming.

  • One of the most significant things you can do to make your home full of light, airy and inviting is to remove clutter. Clutter sucks up light, and makes cleaning more time-consuming.

  • Less is more. Strive for fewer but better-quality pieces of furniture or appliances. Do not under any circumstances overpopulate your space with furniture — things should be roomy enough to be able to arrange and rearrange furniture in the space to fit any function, from a family birthday party, to a breakfast meeting with colleagues, to a neighbourhood get-together.

  • Simplify. Eliminate fussy fabrics, fringes, beads and decorations. Strive for clean lines and uncomplicated style.

  • Put away fuzzy, cozy pillows and throws, and get out lighter cotton throws and pillows. We love pillows covered in bold patterns on a cotton or linen. Or, if you want solid colour, go with intense leafy greens and mustard yellows. Organic ambiguous shades such as fog, haze or lichen are also hot.

  • If you have heavy textured upholstery, start thinking about lighter-looking alternatives, such as a slipcover in pale tones.

  • Painting is an inexpensive way to freshen up a space and make it more inviting. Great new colours include pale aqua, soft blues and spring greens; avoid pastels and deep colours — they’re been-there-done-that.

  • Let the light shine in. Take those heavy textured draperies, wash and store them for the season, and bring out the sheers, and light-toned curtains or blinds.

  • Use glass as much as possible to increase the penetration of light, and the feeling of openness and connection between people in the home. For example, doors, screens, steps, and balustrades on a staircase can be made of smoked or clear glass.

  • If you are fortunate enough to have large rooms, or if you are renovating or building a home, take advantage of the current trend away from single-purpose rooms to larger, more multi-purpose rooms.

For example, in a large living space, set up furniture for multiple purposes — a conversational area, an area for playing music, and a reading corner. That way, people in the room will be able to do their own thing in close proximity to each other, thus encouraging that feeling of connection.