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How to Create the Perfect Home

Do you find decorating a dilemma? Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, hosts of HGTV’s Home Heist, have just released a companion book, Colin & Justin’s Home Heist Style Guide, to help you stylishly decorate any room in your home. Here are photos from the new book along with the boys’ invaluable decorating tips. Then, Colin & Justin provide advice to three readers to take their rooms from dreary to delightful.  

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Colin & Justin designed this home with both flow and continuity in mind.

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Focal Points

Focal Points

Every room needs a focal point: A focal point focuses your attention. In this living room, Colin & Justin made the chimney breast the main focal point. First they painted out the unattractive brickwork in a soft elegant grey to blend with the wallpaper and then added a big star mirror over the fireplace shelf for impact. If you don’t have an obvious focal point, such as fireplace, you can still create one. “We’ll use a credenza or a sideboard with a huge, big mirror with lamps on either side,” Colin says.

Use different textures: This living room features a variety of textures: shag carpet, knobby fabric on the couch, the ribbing in the lampshades and the sunburst mirror. “It gives definition, it gives edge and it provides visual and touchy feely contrast,” Justin says.

Photo courtesy of HGTV

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Balance Wood

Balance Wood

Balance wood with other materials and/or colours: “I think sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees because there’s just too much of it,” Colin says. This kitchen works because the white countertops, island and floor balance the wood. The stainless steel backsplash and appliances also add contrast.

Unclutter your countertops: You can’t use a cluttered countertop. This homeowner loves cooking and has a deep fat fryer, sandwich maker and a toaster, but they’re not cluttering up the counter. “Behind each of those doors and in each of those cupboards is something that’s been cleverly stored,” Justin says. Similarly the utensils are hanging on a rod attached to the backsplash instead of sitting in a vase on the counter.

Photo courtesy of HGTV

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How to Use Colour

How to Use Colour

Use bright colours wisely: You don’t always need to inject colour into a room by painting the walls. You can add colour with furnishings, as in this bedroom. “This looks like a really bright room, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s a white-painted room and everything else is stick on,” Justin says. Also, if the whole room was red, it would lose impact. “You’ve got to give your colour some space so it actually pops,” Colin explains.

Lighten up a space: Mirrors bounce light around; same with any shiny surface. In this bedroom, Colin & Justin used a mirrored side table and bedside tables. “If [the bedside table] was a dark cabinet, away from the window, there’s a risk that corner could become quite dark. So we decided to add these mirrored cabinets [bedside tables] to lighten up the space,” Colin explains.

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Room to Work

Room to Work

Make it a place you want to work: Instead of using boring old grey, which would make this workroom look institutional, Colin & Justin created a more inviting space by using a green and brown colour scheme. The home office should fit into the home environment.

Give each person his own space: For families, it helps if you can give each child his own workspace. This home office has a tri-desk arrangement. “It’s almost taken the open-plan office idea, where you get your own cubicle,” Colin says.

Photo courtesy of HGTV

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White is Right

White is Right

Opt for a white bathroom suite: It’s best to choose white for baths and toilets. The colour says clean, fresh and operational. “If you walk into an avocado bathroom and it looks like the Incredible Hulk has just exploded in there, then that’s not good at all,” Justin says. A white bathroom suite also gives you the flexibility to change the look of the room easily. The grey walls in this bathroom could easily be painted another colour.

Avoid carpeting: “Carpets are harbingers of bodily drizzle and ooze, particularly in the bathroom,” Justin says. Steer clear of absorbent surfaces and opt for flooring that is “washable, wipeable and cleanable.” In this bathroom, the boys used a flexible board made of resin and linseed oil.

Photo courtesy of HGTV

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Clash of the Patterns -  A Reader's Room

Clash of the Patterns – A Reader’s Room

Make sure patterns don’t clash: “Mary just needs to say to herself, ‘Would I wear these patterns [the plaid and the floral] together?’ No she wouldn’t. So why dress your house that way?” Colin asks. He recommends keeping the plaid and losing the floral curtains. Justin suggests doing the curtains in a solid panel of colour, perhaps picking up the blue or red from the plaid chair.

Lighten Up: This room is too dark. The boys recommend a softer wall colour: a bone or an elegant almond. And a light-coloured area rug would brighten up the floor and define the living zone at the same time. Additionally, a paler background would create obvious background and foreground, which the room also lacks.

Photo courtesy Mary, Toronto

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Boring in the Bedroom - A Reader's Room

Boring in the Bedroom – A Reader’s Room

Paint out unattractive features: The homeowner refers to his wardrobe as a “plywood monstrosity” and is considering installing built-ins, but Colin and Justin recommend another, less expensive option: paint out this unattractive feature so it blends with the walls. As for the walls, Justin would paint them white or soft blue or create an accent zone of wallpaper.

Steer clear of matchy, matchy: The bedding and matching pillows is guilty of looking dated and contrived. “That bed with the Osmond memorial tribute bedding, that’s not the best look,” Justin says. Instead, he’d choose white bedding and a couple of patchwork pillows or white bedding with the patterned throw folded and laid across the foot of the bed.

Photo courtesy David, Toronto

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Rec or Wreck Room? - A Reader's Room

Rec or Wreck Room? – A Reader’s Room

Decide on the room’s function: This rec room seems to be a catchall room at the moment. Colin says that Joyce has to decide whether this room is a TV room, a gymnasium or a storage room.

Use what you can’t remove: Joyce can’t afford to remove the pole, so Colin and Justin suggest working with it by getting a carpenter to build a circular or octagonal table around the pole. She could then put the footstool in front of the chair, where it belongs.

Continuity: Colin likes the wood paneling and wonders why it wasn’t extended  round the room. If Joyce wants to use a storage unit, she’s better to use one the same height as the paneling and to paint it the same green colour to maintain continuity and clean sight lines.

Photo courtesy Joyce, Manitoba