Tag: Interior Design

5 Expert tips for Designing Small Spaces

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Small Spaces
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Ready for some great news? Buying furniture and designing your small spaces is now easier than ever! More and more people are embracing apartment living. The home decor industry has answered our cries with so many great ideas to help you with designing small spaces.

Here are our 5 expert tips for designing small spaces in your home:

Tip #1: Extendable Dining Tables

 

Formal dining rooms are not as popular anymore, especially in smaller homes. But it’s also hard to host a larger dinner party in an apartment around a 4 person table. This is why we recommend extendable dining tables so you can keep it small for everyday use, and extend it for the company.

Ok, so this isn’t exactly a new concept. It’s been around for ages, but it’s still worth mentioning because they’ve made some significant design upgrades to make them much more convenient and functional. 

You may have remembered digging around in closets and under the bed for those heavy wood “leafs” to extend your dining room table. Somehow we always left it to the last minute (or was that just us)? Today, dining tables come with convenient leaf storage under the table. Now you always know, assuming you put it away properly, where that leaf is. 

Tip #2: Versatile Chairs

When designing small spaces, you want to get the biggest bang for your buck. This is why we recommend choosing chairs that can be used at the dining table, your desk, and even as extra seating in the living room. This way you can easily move your chairs around where you need them. 

We also recommend when choosing chairs for smaller spaces, to choose ones with lower backs. This will keep them from taking up too much visual space in your room.

The style and design of the chair are also important when you plan to repurpose your chairs around your home. Choose a more natural design so it fits easily with any room decor. Also, if you plan to move them frequently, avoid ones that are too bulky or heavy as they’ll be a pain in your back, literally, to move around. Keep in mind that even if a chair looks trendy in the showroom or in the magazine, it doesn’t mean it’s a great option for your home. 

Remember, chairs don’t have to be huge to be comfortable.

Tip #3: Side Tables

Even in small spaces you’re gonna want somewhere to put your drink down or place a snack bowl or a good book (if you can put a good book down). When designing small spaces, consider where people would put their drink down when they sit and make sure there is a suitable side table for each seat. 

A small coffee table in the middle of a family room can provide a good spot for beverages, but also consider adding smaller narrow side tables next to chairs where it isn’t as easy to put a drink down. If you are tight on space, consider nesting side tables so you can store them when you don’t have extra company over.

Tip #4: Let in the Light!

 

You can easily and inexpensively make your small rooms look much bigger with a few lighting tricks. 

  • Open the blinds: Brighter spaces help make a room feel so much bigger and come with so many added health benefits. Natural light is known to increase endorphins and serotonin and help to balance your hormones. When you get enough natural light during the day you are more likely to sleep better at night. We also know that the sun boosts your energy too so open those curtains and let in the light!
  • Paint it light: When painting your small spaces, consider using lighter paint colours. Dark colours will make a room appear smaller. If you are compelled to paint a darker more bold colour, consider doing it as an accent wall instead. 
  • Add functional lighting: Consider how you will be using each area of the room. If it’s an area you will be working at a computer or reading a book, consider a smaller reading lamp on the table or attached to the wall. If it’s an area you simply pass through (like a hallway or foyer) look for more general lighting options like pot lights and lamps to light the space. In the bathrooms, you’ll want lighting directed over the sink and counter area most. 

Hang a mirror: A large mirror in the room bounces the light around better, making your space appear larger. Also, the right mirror can make the room look 2x as big as you see a “second” room in the reflection. 

Tip #5: Sneaky Storage

Storage is often one of the biggest struggles our clients in smaller homes and apartments have. To avoid cluttered rooms, we need storage options. But when your room is small, we can’t always put in big bulky storage cabinets (they become an eyesore).Instead, we suggest looking for sneaky ways to store your stuff out of sight. For example, some furniture comes with hidden storage. It’s common to find beds and sofas with large storage spaces underneath. Also, look for storage that can be hung on a wall or behind a door. Over-the-door hangers are great for shoes and closet items. Floating side tables affixed to the walls (ie without feet touching the ground) also help make the room feel less cluttered while still providing a functional space to store belongings.

What if your space already has great storage closets? You can maximize these spaces by investing in a closet storage system or clear bins that can be stacked to maximize your space and control clutter and mess.

What’s next for your home?

Source: Good Space Plans Online Seymour Street

There are so many products and design secrets you can use to make any small space more functional and feel larger. Above all the tips, it’s important to practice mindfulness about what you are bringing into your home. We know how exciting it can be to walk through a furniture store or flip through the latest seasonal catalogue. You may feel compelled to buy up the whole store, without thinking of how it will actually work or be used in your home.

Before you buy a piece of furniture:

  • Make sure it’s something that will physically fit in your home (measure and measure again to be sure)
  • Consider its style with the rest of the theme in your home (you probably don’t want your home to look like a mismatched thrift store)
  • Is it something that will be used often, and if not, can it be folded away or stored easily (think the dining tables and nesting side tables), and 
  • Is it something that’s comfortable to use. If it’s not comfortable to sit on or use as intended it will end up going unused and wasting precious space.

Of course, having a professional interior designer help you with this is the best idea! An interior designer will work with you, taking your ideas and making them real by creating a plan for you. 

If you want to start designing your plan right now, check out the custom designing small space packages we have for you.

Good Space Interior Design Travels the Sunshine Coast

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picture by vancouver online interior designer of sunset on sunshine coastI love spending time on the Sunshine Coast. We’re lucky to live in a province with so much natural beauty and space. I’m in constant awe and inspiration when I’m there. The freshness in the air, the endless expanse of the coast, the silence. All these things help inspire my interior design firm when I come back to the bustling city. 

My partner’s family has a cabin there. I have had the opportunity to go up every year for the past 6 years. We try to make it our annual routine to get out; each time I do, I explore something new. As an interior design firm owner I love exploring all the distinctive shops and restaurants as well as other natural sights. Check out our top 5 favourite things to do on the sunshine coast below.

beautiful interior designed sushi bar on sunshine coast

Courtesy of Sushi Bar Nagomi

1. Grab sushi at Sushi Bar Nagomi

This is the sweetest little sushi bar in Gibsons, with a fabulous layout and exceptional sushi. Being right on the coast makes sure that everything is fresh and all made in house. The owners are so lovely as well. The name, Nagomi 和味 has 2 meanings: The Japanese Kanji letters stand for authentic taste and its pronunciation means cozy and peaceful. This fits this sushi bar perfectly! Not to mention the interior design is stunning and so comfortable. 

Courtesy of Sunshine Coast Olive OIl

2. Stock up on olive oils at Sunshine Coast Olive Oil

A local favourite in Gibsons, this store has some of the most beautiful kinds of vinegar and oils ever. They let you sample everything and they offer so many fantastic recipes. My favourite would have to be the Lime Olive Oil and the face cream they make is heavenly. If you can’t make the trip, they also order online and do a wonderful job of shipping it safely to you. 

3. Next stop, the Elfinstone Rock and Gem shop in Roberts Creek.

I love this shop. They have some of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry and stones all made from local stones and gems. They also have a massive geode on display that gets used for festivals. It is so large the owner mentioned that it damaged an axel of the vehicle just transporting it! They also have crystal bowls and metal drums for you to try out. I highly recommend checking them out. 

 

4. Next, Sunshine Coast Wood Expo

We try to time our trips in September so we can all go to the Sunshine Coast Wood Expo in Sechelt. This is always the highlight of our trip. The artists every year just keep getting better and better. There is so much variety and beauty in everything that is created. My favourite part is hearing how each artist collects and gathers the wood they use in a sustainable way. They have some fantastic stories. If you can make it to the coast in September, you should make a trip to Sechelt for the wood Expo.

5. Finish up at Sunstone Gems & Jewelry shop in Sechelt

My recent passion has been making beaded stone bracelets and necklaces. This year I came across the Sunstone Gems & Jewelry shop in Sechelt. This store had some of the most well-curated beads and stones I have seen. Their price point is fantastic and you will leave with some beautiful pieces. 

Conclusion:

I believe that as city dwellers it’s important to take time away from the hustle and bustle and center yourself in nature’s bliss. The people of the sunshine coast are kind and steady people who have a deep sense of community with each other. It’s these qualities that I try to bring to our wonderful clients of Good Space Plans Online. If you would like to read more about enjoying nature in style, check out our glamping blog here

Flowers – Why they are so much more than just a pretty thing?!

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Flowers, – why are they so much more than just a pretty thing?

This time of year is always a little confusing to me, my mind and my body. My self-care practice needs to be at 100% or else I start going a little crazy. Kinda like a bear who is just starting to wake up after hibernation, or a deer learning to walk for the first time. But this state is also my favourite. As we transition into a new season we get to embrace a new life, warmer weather, maybe even a rebirth, if you may.

As our moods begin to shift from an introverted winter to a more energetic and outgoing spring, it is important to shift our homes and office spaces as well. One of the easiest ways to do this is by bringing in new life! Yes, I am giving you permission to buy all of the plants and flowers!

Why should you buy fresh flowers?

1. They freshen the air! Sure they make the room smell delicious, but they also filter the air! Some remove toxins and can even improve your sleep because they give off extra O2.

2. Brighten your space! Maybe you own your home, or maybe you are renting a space where what you are allowed to do to it is quite limited. Flowers are the easiest way to add a splash of colour without the commitment factor of painting the walls!

3. Self Care! There are so many studies on the benefits of fresh flowers, with benefits that include:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced feelings of anxiety
  • Help with fatigue – Hello O2
  • Improved cognitive function
  • My top 3 low maintenance plants for air purification:

1.Devil’s Ivy or pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

This is my absolute favourite plant! They are harder to kill than they are to keep alive! It stays green even when left in the dark. I love this climbing beauty. 
  • Water every 7-10 days, allow the soil to dry out before watering
  • They love sunlight, but only indirectly!
  • Propagate when ready!

 

 

2. Spider Plants

These are my favourite plants for the bedroom because they filter out carbon monoxide from the air and they are very low maintenance. Plus, when the plant matures they produce “pups” which you can plant and make more plants!
  • These do really well in a hanging pot
  • They like indirect sunlight
  • They like dry soil and to be in a cooler room

 

3. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Need I say more. These beautiful plants are great for low light spaces and, if your pot allows, this will grow extremely large. they produce beautiful white flowers!
  • To be watered weekly
  • No Direct Sunlight
  • Commit to a pot size – Whatever size you plant your Peace Lily in, –  it will grow!

The bottom line for all Plants & Flowers in your space… give them love and they will do the same.

My Shift – From Family to Family Business

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My Shift – From Family to Family Business

I work in a family business. I started working in my mom’s interior design firm shortly after university, about 7 years ago. What started as a basic desk job, answering phones and pouring coffee, slowly but surely blossomed into a career. Mind you, a career in a field I had never imagined working in, AND LOVING, let alone working so close to my mom every single day. When I tell people that I work in a family business, they tend to say in a very obviously presumptions shitty tone, “so, like, you work with you mom every single day? That must be hard!” It leaves me thinking, why isn’t it as hard as it once was? How did we get to the successful place we are now?

On reflection, we created several strategies that worked well for us to succeed in a family business environment and culture. The strategies work even for those who might not be part of the Sprague clan but are part of the team and live/work/play in our company culture.

Establishing Boundaries and Permissions. 

Redefining the family relationship in the work space is key. Creating a “contract” of sorts. For instance, it is easy to let old habits or old stories bubble over into the work space. Our strategy was to agree that certain topics and conversations are booked and planned for outside of the work space. Not left to fester.  For any interpersonal conversations we agree to firstly ask permission and commit to actively listening.  Enduring our discomfort for the good of our culture — conflict, resolution and witnessing each other at the expense of the comfort of both parties. In other words, just sit in it.

We Acknowledge Family First. 

We are a family first business. That means, if someone in our family circle is qualified to do work that we have, we will give them that work. We have made this policy overt and clear to ensure it doesn’t confront others we work with.

The lamp is a shining example of this. It was handmade for a client by my very talented brother-in-law. Just one of many of his beautiful pieces.

There is No Work-Life Balance

This is a conscious decision we made in our business. We believe in the flow of “life”. This was put so beautifully by a speaker at the recent season opener Grace Club YVR event we attended as a team. It resonated deeply with me. She said (basically),it’s not like we have a switch in our heads where we can flick from personal to work. They are all one and must be lived that way.” This policy does require open communication and honesty which brings me to the last strategy…

Show Up in Your Truth

We have been working to have a conscious and mindful workplace. This is a HUGE part of our culture here at our Studio and it is central. What ever you are feeling, our place of work is a safe space to express that feeling.

This is the framework: 

  • speak your “feel” without blame
  • take personal responsibility if applicable
  • identify your need around what’s happening for you
  • ask for support and help around that “need”

This is the part of our work environment that I love the most. It’s not always about checking your baggage at the door. And, it’s also not about unpacking that baggage in a hot mess everywhere in the work space.

It’s about:

  • carrying that baggage into the space
  • expressing that it’s heavy and you need help carrying it
  • and what that help might look like for you today

I love working in a family business.

I do acknowledge that it can be challenging but establishing these strategies as part of our work culture has been worthwhile journey. I feel honoured to work with my mom and in our family business every single day. Plus, our staff are pretty much like family after working here, so… welcome to the Good Space Plans Online & Dwaina Sprague ID clan!

 

How Home Makes My Heart Feel

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How Home Makes My Heart Feel

Homeward Bound.

Home for me has always been my safest place in the world. It was in the Fraser Valley- Maple Ridge, BC – on a beautiful piece of acreage. It was spacious, functional and fun. It was something I was unbelievably proud of; always full of food, family and friends. It was my place in the world to feel safe, no matter what. When I came back home from university in Nova Scotia, home was always there waitingfor me. I knew how blessed I was to have this anchor of home. It was a physical place to me as well as a feeling in my heart. At the time, I didn’t distinguish the difference, they were synonymous.

Lost. 

It was in 2012 we lost my father to suicide. The loss was and still is unfathomable. It threw our entire family & community in the deep end of mental health awareness. It left a gaping hole in everyone that knew him. I was left… shattered. I needed to go home, but it didn’t feel the same anymore. The safe feeling in my heart was gone. Shortly after, we sold the family home & property along with a lot of our family possessions. My physical anchor and safe place in the world was gone. At the time it felt like that experience might last forever. After the sale, I ended up renting an semi- furnished apartment off a family friend in Vancouver. It was a space that never felt like mine – I wasn’t sure how it felt, but I know how it didn’t feel, like home. 

Found. 

The next year or so was a blur of trying to make sense of what was now my new normal. It was in late 2013 I moved out of that semi-furnished apartment in Vancouver and into a basement suite in Burnaby with my new partner. I was working for my mom’s interior design firm, Good Space, answering phones at the time. The interior designers at the studio offered to help mock up some space plans for me of my new basement suite with the few furniture pieces I had accumulated. 

They showed me the best flow for the open space feeling of my basement suite and also helped me make a shopping list of things to get for the space in the future. The day my partner and I moved in, we followed our floor plans and began to set up our new space. I filled the shelves with my things, I set up the lamps I had, side tables and some of the personal possession I had at my family home. I felt better about my new space but it wasn’t home, it wasn’t the safety and security I once knew. I didn’t know how to shift this, I felt very stuck.

Home is Created. 

Let’s jump forward to 2019. I still live in Burnaby, still live in a basement suite, and still living with my partner. If you were to ask me today where my safest place in the world is, I would have to say the home my partner and I created in Burnaby. I reflected on how I got here from where I was before and it was a combination of things:

  • Addressing function first in the space I am living, working and playing. It was really thinking about how I use the spaces in my home and honouring their purpose. 
  • Putting aside the desire to have my home look a certain way and understand its about how I want to feel about the space.
  • Making goals and lists for things to get in the future to always be improving the space and function around me. 
  • Most importantly, giving my home the attention it was asking for. 

I honoured that it wasn’t something that was just going to happen, or somewhere that I could just show up at, expecting something from. It is an experience that I am capable of creating in any place I live. It needed nurturing, creating, love and energy.

I learned that home is something I can create anywhere I want to. It’s a combination of energy, function, purpose, my possessions and their meaning to me. It’s a place and feeling that I have learned is both tangible and yet intangible.