Design Chick  

Bye bye winter design blues

Right about this time of year, we’re all really feeling the hold winter has had; short days, dark nights, and heaps of cold and gloomy days.

It’s no surprise I’ve been looking for something – anything – to help brighten and cheer me up in anticipation of warmer months ahead.

I’ve put together a quick list of my top five design items you can add to your spaces this very second to help boost your mood while waiting for spring to show up.

Modern Greenery

Adding hits of live greenery not only purifies your air quality, it helps to boost your focus and reduce feelings of stress and illness. I love to keep things simple when it comes to indoor plants; these are some of my favourites:

  • succulents
  • air plants
  • orchids
  • fiddle leaf fig 

Lighter Accents

Perhaps you’ve got a bunch of heavy looking, darkly patterned accent pillows on your living room furniture; take the plunge and swap them out for something lighter and more airy feeling. The change will instantly shift the mood from drab to delightful.

This might be the perfect time to change your area rug and throw blankets away while you’re at it. Accents in creams, tans, lights greys, silvers, pearl, and linen all hint at summer and will instantly brighten up existing furniture and colour schemes.

Refresh Your Bedding

White, white, and more white… swap out dark and heavy coloured linens for sheets, duvets, and coverlets in soft white. The psychological effect of slipping into a bed of bright, fresh, and calm will have you feeling lighter and more relaxed instantly.

Play With Yellow

Get yourself some lemons. You read that right: head out and pick up a big bag of the zesty fruit. Place all your lemons in a glossy, white bowl atop your kitchen counter or island and enjoy the sunny and energizing effect they help create.

Also consider adding fluffy, mellow, yellow towels to drab bathrooms, and toss a bunch of brilliant tulips in areas that don’t normally get any direct sunlight (like an office corner, bookshelf, or powder room).

Mirror Magic

If you want to take advantage of as much natural daylight as possible, you can double the effect by adding several mirrors cleverly placed throughout your home. The reflection of your rooms not only tricks your brain into thinking your spaces are more expansive, the light will also bounce around and lighten everything up at the same time.

Tuck a freestanding, floor-length mirror by a corner window, or lean an oversized piece atop a console table to help open up a dim entryway… you’d be amazed just how spacious and bright your rooms will become.


5 hot design double takes

Hello 2018! The new year brings with it an amazing new batch of design trends and key coveted items.

I’ve narrowed down a top-five hot list of materials, finishes, furnishings, and décor to keep your eyes peeled for during the next few months.

If you’re wondering what 2018 has in store for the design world, here we go….


The blessed textile industry is setting the mark for another year of big and bold prints and patterns on everything from dramatic drapery panels, to one-off toss pillows, bossy looking area rugs, table linens, and bohemian custom bedding.

The trick to mixing in some bold fabric choices is to pair them with neutrals and solids for a tasteful blend of both, and to stick to one basic colour scheme – too many bold pops of colour can quickly get a little out of hand.


Kitchen and bath cabinet materials are leaning toward the simpler side of design this season, but that doesn’t mean your doorknobs and handles should take a back seat to style.

Bling out your door hardware with playful selections in acrylic, glass, hand forged brass and bronze, and look for hardware that has rich detail and weight to it. These little touches up the ante in a major way, and add polish and refinement.


When looking for new furniture, you might be surprised to see some sumptuous curves and dips making their way back into the fold. 

The hard lined, clean edge contemporary pieces that have been so popular the past few years are beginning to fade out and we’re seeing sofas, chairs, and even over scale benches and ottomans showing up with gorgeous curves and softer details.


Artisanal décor items from around the globe are still a hot commodity heading into 2018 – and thanks to the internet and local import outfits, it’s not all that difficult to get your hands on eclectic, one-of-a-kind statement pieces.

Huge floor vases, abstract wall art, feathered juju hats and mandalas… this year you have my permission to get whimsical and think globally when it comes to décor ideas!


I’m a firm believer in mixing up your furnishing materials, and never matching or pairing up your end and coffee tables to your dressers and storage pieces.

The best design schemes call for layering and mixing in finishes that complement one another, and a classic wood with white combo will do just the trick.

Watch for servers, occasional pieces, and even bedroom furnishings that combine the earthiness of walnut or wire brushed oak, with classic matte or gloss white; the look is unique, timeless, and intriguing all in one.

Top design trends 2018

Welcome to the end of 2017.

As we wind down from a year that saw light wood floors, bohemian influences, wall murals, and Kelly Green as the accent colour to beat, a fresh new batch of design and decorating trends has been released into the world… and 2018 has a few surprises up its sleeves.

Read on for a quick rundown on what you can expect to see gracing the pages of every design magazine in 2018.

Move Over Mid-Century Modern

Say goodbye to teak sideboards and Eames chairs – the style that’s been ultra-popular for the past several years is taking a back seat to a cleaner, more inviting, and minimalistic design backdrop.

A blend of Scandinavian and California Coastal style is hitting the market with influences of bleached out flooring, crisp, white walls with gray-beige and sandy accents, linen covered sofas and rich leather side chairs – everything natural and fresh will round out a huge majority of upcoming design schemes online and in print.

Earthy Paint Palette

Across the board, paint brands are embracing richer and earthier palettes for 2018; colours such as Caliente, Smoked Oyster, Saddle Soap, Wolf Grey, Stone, and Silver Marlin – all from Benjamin Moore – are perfect for adding punch and mood to your lighter and whiter spaces in the form of decorative accents and personal touches.

3D Wall Design

When looking for the perfect feature wall inspiration, you might discover the super chic fusion between Asian and Scandinavian style found in the 2018 lineup for 3D geometric wall tiles.

Void of opulent and fussy pattern, implementing large and architectural tile is the perfect way to make a clean and sophisticated statement on backsplashes, in large His and Her showers, as a floor to ceiling fireplace wall, and even as stylish backdrops to front foyers and great rooms.


We’re thrilled this gorgeous textile is making its way into the fold; a longtime favorite, velvet looks amazing in a multitude of design schemes and styles.

Perfect little toss pillows, light and feminine tones keep things airy and fun, while deeper, moodier tones help to add depth and richness to almost any space – the key is to mix velvet up with other, more modern textiles like linens, and leathers to avoid heading too far back into the past.

Mixed Materials

If you’re in the market to build or renovate, and wondering what to bring into your design schemes for 2018, the concept of mixing solid and earthy materials such as timber, marble, concrete, and glass is still going strong.

Creating contrast with your finishes is a fantastic way to give your home interest and textural character while helping to keep things sleek and streamlined.

Lacquered Cabinetry

Watch as wood grain and natural species show up in supporting roles in the kitchens of 2018… cabinets and vanities are going smooth and simple, with solid tones and profile-less door and drawer fronts.

Not just for the ultra-contemporary abode, lacquered cabinetry allows for more ornate and busy embellishments like imported tile, stunning stone countertops, and hand-forged hardware.


Gift guide for the decorista

The holidays are right around the corner, and perhaps you’ve been struggling with what gifts to get the savvy design decorista in your life?

If you have a decorating maven at home, I have the perfect little list that's sure to set their eyes all aglow.

1. & 2. Velvet & Metallic Luxury

Chic, shaggy, and glamorous – the Metallic Stripe Pillow $59, and Velvet Applique Pillow in Copper $39 from West Elm are two fabulous items every design aficionado is sure to quickly fall in love with. 

3. Sassy Java Repeat

Brunette The Label out of Vancouver is a fun and fearless company offering up bold and sassy sayings on numerous accessories and clothing items. You might not have heard of them before, but you’ll surely recognize their super popular sweatshirts when you catch them waltzing down the street; Fries Before Guys coffee mug $25.

4. Pewter Love

Keep all your cards and cash in one safe spot with the extra cute Cross Body Saddle Bag … metallic leather-alternative with snap close front and adjustable strap, this little gem can be dressed up or dressed down to perfection. $40 from Gap.

5. Coffee Table Fodder

Who doesn’t love a sexy looking coffee table book? The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus hardback isn’t just another pretty face that will sit unread. Inside you’ll find never-ending inspiration and design ideas for those with a penchant for classic and organic spaces. $54, available at Chapters.

6. Tech Pretty

This leather Sliding Mirror Case for iPhone 7 comes in a vintage floral print inspired by Italy’s vine-strewn balconies. A practical two-in-one features a slide-out mirror at the bottom so that it can be used for touch-ups on the go; $68 from Tory Burch.

7. Wooden Charm

Simple, sophisticated, and the perfect shelf accessory or office paper weight, these Petrified Wood Objects
$41-$62 from West Elm are an easy shoe-in for those who love a little unconventionalism in their lives.

8. Shine

When in doubt, candles are always a fail-proof and beautiful gift… this Voluspa Lidded Glass Jar Candle in the scent Branche Vermil has a delicious scent and comes in a speckled mercury glass container. $38 from Indigo.

9. Black & White

Abstract photography is still a really hot design trend this year, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Art is so subjective, and meant to be played with — so don’t worry about trying to match your decorista’s existing style too much.

Pineapple by Style In Form is a fun canvas piece, with ample presence at 39”x55”: $599 from Urban Theory Design.

10. Wrap It Up

The Diamond Mosaic Blanket — an essential in colder, breezier climates — is made from pure Australian wool chosen for its exceptional quality and softness. Perfect draped around stylish shoulders or over the side of a chair. The fringed edges are finished by hand, and the signature diamond mosaic pattern was designed specifically for Aritiza; $85.

11. Moroccan Flavour

The rustic and round Banda coffee table, made of solid mango wood has a funky white-wash finish and adds a Moorish vibe to neutral spaces needing a dose of something different. $1,389 from Urban Theory Design.

12. Uber Chic Wallpaper

And last – but definitely not least –  a new favourite of mine can be found in the collection of chic wallpapers offered through Bohemian retailer Anthropologie; perfect for adding a dash of drama in a powder room or as a feature wall, the Edith pattern is but one of many designer styles available now at www.anthropologie.com. $88 per role.

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About the Author

Crispin Butterfield is the creative force and mastermind behind Urban Theory; a graduate of Mount Royal University in Calgary, her engaging personality and design-commerce savvy make her a valued and well-respected professional and mentor within her field.

She’s able to uniquely see the parameters and vision of each project in ways her clients often cannot, and has honed the process and proficiency required to grow incredible long-standing client relationships. 

Crispin embraces a life full of ingenuity and imagination, fueled by raw ambition and a desire to leave her mark on the world. Her impeccable design style, expertise, and a rock-solid business acumen is the foundation which allows Urban Theory Interior Design to provide full scale services with authenticity, innovation, and ample amounts of personality.

Featured in Style At Home Magazine, Covet, Canadian Retailer, and The National Post – www.urbantheoryinteriordesign.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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