3 Easy Ways to Elevate Your Home Decor

A living room featured on the cover of Brian Gluckstein: The Art of Home.

Photo: Brian Gluckstein: The Art of Home

“Quite simply, life is better when you live in a space you love.” It’s a straightforward thought, and it opens Brian Gluckstein: The Art of Home. It’s the first book from the celebrated Canadian interior designer, hitting bestseller lists soon after release. And it doesn’t disappoint with scores of elegant interiors to both satiate decor porn devotees and inspire renovators and change-it-up artists alike.

Here, three easy ways to elevate your space.

An antique chair sitting in the front hall of a house with a photo of an old camera hanging on the wall behind it.
Photo: Eric Piasecki from Brian Gluckstein: The Art Of Home

1. Go Nostalgic

Gluckstein values vintage pieces for adding “soul and a sense of history to a space.” A simple chair can be transformative but few furniture pieces are more versatile than a chest of drawers with “patina and character,” he writes. Beautiful in a bedroom, yes, but try it at the end of a hallway, at the front entry, in the den or even paired with a piece of modern art, he proposes.

Of course, part of the appeal is the thrill of the hunt. What’s better than finding that perfect piece and at the perfect price? A trip to a country shop can net a hidden gem but so can browsing online. Check out Maxsold.com for all matter of storied items from estate sales across Canada and the U.S.

A living room with a long dresser chest and a painting of a church hanging above it.
Photo: Eric Piasecki from Brian Gluckstein: The Art Of Home

2. Pop of Colour

As Gluckstein poetically puts it, “Like wild flowers dotting a landscape, a little pop of colour brings the entire scene to life.” It can be as little as a bouquet of fresh flowers, an accent pillow or ramp-up to a painted wall — and we’re loving the painted ceiling trend. When choosing a colour, think about the mood you want to create. While you might want an energetic bright hit for the home office, in the bedroom a soft pastel will be relaxing. Then again, you may want the exact opposite; either way, introducing a new shade is an easy way to liven up a staid space.

A mostly white kitchen with a marble island and gold accents.
Photo: Jessica Klewicki from Brian Gluckstein: The Art Of Home

3. A Place for Texture

Surfaces and furnishings should fit the climate and “in places where winter brings months of short, grey days, you want to brighten interiors by reflecting as much light as possible,” Gluckstein advises. Think reflective surfaces like mirror-finish metals, polished marble or granite, crystal, glass and leather or something as simple as a glossy lacquered box on a moody bookcase.

More Bright Ideas

Lighting can be one of the easiest ways to give our home an update. From form to function, it also just makes sense from a quality-of-life perspective. With age, the muscles that control our pupils weaken and pupil response — that is, to widen in dim or dark settings — is impaired.

With a few simple strategies, shedding more light on whatever the subject can help.

-Outdoors, that can be as easy as outfitting existing fixtures with a Sengled Smartsense bulb. The floodlight has motion sensing built right in, turning on as you get within five feet.

-Indoors, try Philips Hue bulbs that glow like cool daylight — better for fine tasks or an energy boost while you workout — to soft warm white. The bulbs connect wirelessly to an app that includes a setting by which you can turn your bedside lamp into an alarm of sorts, with gradual brightening to wake you up more naturally and dimming at night to help ready you for sleep.

-Speaking of turning down the lights, swap out switches with Lutron dimmers and control the lighting via smartphone from the couch, the bed or wherever. Choose the Smart Away setting to have lights turned on and off each evening — making it seem as though someone’s home. Or working by GPS locating your phone, switches can be set to turn the lights on as you get home.

-And although the flicker is flattering, now there’s an alternative to candlelight when the power goes out. Everbright bulbs, also from Sengled, are designed to keep going during an electricity outage. The bulbs switch to battery backup and can operate at 60 per cent brightness for more than three hours.