10 Must-Haves for the Home by the Time You're 30

Recently, designer Tommy Smythe was on the Marilyn Denis Show discussing the 10 must-have home decor items to own by the time you're 30. Using Tommy's list as a guide, I thought I'd share a shopping list of the items I would select from each category to add to your decor.  

1. Original Art/Photography

Invest in a good piece of original art or photography, it will add interest to your space. As Tommy says, it's time to get rid of those old concert posters. I like the colour-enhanced photos of abandoned homes and buildings in Havana by Werner Pawlok. So hauntingly beautiful.

2. Good Quality Sofa

Tommy advises that a good quality sofa will cost you $2,000 at minimum. This price gets you good fabric and good construction. It's worth the investment - after all, other than your bed, it's the piece of furniture you spend the most time on. Restoration Hardware has a wide selection of really comfortable sofas starting at $2,000; you can choose the fabric and colour you want. If you like to change your decor often, stick with a neutral colour and change your accessories with the seasons.

3. Good Quality Lighting

Please, can we all get rid of those "big box, female anatomy-looking light fixtures?" You know the ones Tommy is referring to. The addition of good quality lighting can be in any form, but I prefer to spend a bit more on ceiling or wall fixtures, since they're a little more permanent. If a candelabra-style chandelier is too formal/traditional for you, try something a little more contemporary like this one from Living Lighting:

4. Antique or Vintage Items

Tommy tells us that having at least one antique or vintage item in your home shows your guests that you have a level of taste and sophistication, and I completely agree. I grew up surrounded by antiques so I would even suggest having at least a few. Antique shops and markets are everywhere and you usually have to hunt to find that perfect piece, but it's well worth the effort once you do. Here's a lovely faux bamboo brass tray from Vintage Fine Objects that would add sophistication to any style of decor:

5. Plants or Pets

Plants and pets indicate to people who come into your home that you're able to care for another living thing. As Tommy says, "you should not be the only thing alive in your apartment." Start with plants if you can't commit to a pet. This photo from Pinterest illustrates how they can be worked into a decor scheme:

Original source unknown

6. Good Quality Bedding/Sheets

Tommy advises to have two sets and replace them every two years. Choose a 400-thread count and go with a simple white sheet set. Crane & Canopy has some high-quality, affordable bedding options available. The Linden set is one of my favourites and is on my wish list:

7. Kitchen 

Tommy talked about several kitchen items to invest in, and for this point I'm going to share the items he showed on the segment instead of showcasing my own suggestions.

Cookware - buy a matching set of pots and pans. If you can't afford to buy them all at once, buy them piece by piece and invest slowly over time. (Tommy featured a copper set by Williams Sonoma.)

Dinnerware - a set of 12 (or a baker's dozen since, let's face it, dishes will break) is ideal. Start with a good set of white plates that can act as a workhorse but that also look really nice. (Tommy recommends Sophie Conran dinnerware, available at HBC.)

Table Linens and Flatware - a set of 12 for each. How lovely is this Kate Spade pink gold flatware set?! 

Knife Set - get a beautiful knife block that can be left out on the counter. Even better - this version that has an integrated cookbook or tablet holder for easy recipe viewing. 

8. Matching Hangers

Disorganization in the closet is disorganization in life. Have an all matching set, whether it's all wood, all plastic, all velvet, etc. HomeSense (and therefore probably also HomeGoods) has inexpensive packs of 10-25 hangers. I recently bought a couple of packages for my own closet but regret to tell you that I haven't purged the old and invited the new in yet!!! So for now, I'd like to share this photo from my friend and fellow blogger Tiffany Leigh's walk-in closet makeover

9. Good Books

Having good books on display shows that you have a level of interest and scholarship in your life and in your home, says Tommy. Books are a symbol of hospitality, and guests are invited to pick them up and read. I've worked for a book company most all of my professional life, allowing me the opportunity to accumulate a vast amount of books in the last 15 years. I've since donated a lot of them and I wish I had a photo of the wall-to-wall bookshelves I used to have that housed over 800 tomes but that photo is trapped on a broken phone. Instead, here is a more recent picture of some of the books I just couldn't part with: 

10. Cleaning Person

When investing in great stuff, you've got to take care of it. Investing in hired help to keep your house clean is the best gift you can give yourself. It took me a long time to learn the value of this, but about a year and a half ago I hired someone to clean my house every other week and now that I've done that, I will never go back. Not only does Adora clean my house better than I ever could, she keeps my sanity in check by keeping my house in order. J'adore Adora. (P.S. If you live in Toronto and would like her number, please contact me. She is THE BEST.) 

Gorgeous Gourd Lamps

via Jana Bek
You know when you get a new car and suddenly you start seeing that make and model everywhere, even though you never really noticed it before? I'm kind of having a similar feeling with gourd lamps right now. That is to say, gourd lamps have always been there right in front of me, I just didn't really pay them any mind until I decided I might like to get a pair for myself. It started with these lamps I saw at Target: 

The deep navy caught my eye and the shape made me linger a while. I couldn't come up with a spot in my home for them, so I imagined them in yellow instead and visually placed them in a master bedroom project I'm working on. Since then, it seems the only lamps I see in interiors are gourd lamps! It must be a sign: I need this this style of lamp in my life. I love (gourd) lamp. Sorry, I just couldn't resist!  :)

Here are a few interiors incorporating gourd lamps that have caught my eye lately:

via Lonny

Design byAlexandra Kaehler, photography by Heather Talbert via SMP Living
Alaina Kaczmarski via The Everygirl
via Glitter Guide

Leopard Print - A Shopping Guide

This post needs no introduction because leopard print.  So, without further ado, a selection of leopard print products for home decor, fashion, accessories and art:  

A bit of inspiration to start us off -leopard print pillows in Ashlina Kaposta's home office; to get this look, see pillow below from Tonic Living.

Pillow, Tonic Living

Banana Republic skinnies

Flats, J. Crew

Scarf, H&M

Print, SS Print Shop

Cheetah gets in on the action too!  Cheetah print, YSL Loafers print - The Aestate

Agenda, Indigo/Chapters

Last but not least, my favourite - J.Crew iPhone case

Indigo/Chapters Holiday Products - Sneak Peak!

Last week, Indigo/Chapters held a media preview to showcase the products that will be in stores this holiday season.  My lucky readers - I have a sneak peak just for you!  

The dining table display mixed neutral ceramics with richly coloured napkins and glasses, and was under a canopy of twinkling garlands.  

The bar cart area featured glittering gold and silver bar accessories like trays, goblets and cocktail shakers.  

Monograms are making a comeback.  I've seen a resurgence of monogrammed bedding, towels, throw pillows, and other home decor items.  Now, you can get monogrammed wall art in the letter(s) of your choice.  Also available in silver.  
There's also a selection of pillow covers and throws in a wide variety of textures and fabrics. 

Scented candles: my faves were Mulled Wine and Cedar & Balsam.  What does mulled wine smell like, you ask?  Like Christmas.  It smells like Christmas.  

Don't let the grey days of winter get you down - accessorize with bright colours! From scarves to jewellery to handbags, the fashion accessories available at Indigo/Chapters this holiday are gorgeous.  

This was one of my favourite items from the media preview - this luxuriously soft and silky multi-toned blue scarf (middle of photo).  

Another of my favourite items - the leopard-print pouch (at right).  Though I must say, the black and gold foldover pouches are nice too (top right and bottom left).  

Original prints by Stephanie Sterjovski of SS Print Shop are growing in popularity and now they can be purchased in store or online at indigo.ca.  

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak of holiday products coming to Indigo/Chapters this holiday season! These lovely items will be starting to appear in stores for November, so you can get your hands on your favourite items soon!  

H&M Home

Have you heard what everyone is talking about lately?  And by everyone, I mean Americans.  And by what they are talking about, I am referring to the launch of H&M Home, the Swedish retailer's affordable line of home decor products available online to the US market this fall.  The prices are incredible. The product offerings are pretty good too.  There are a lot of rustic and French provincial pieces, with some modern and funky items thrown into the mix, too. Mostly, their fall line up consists of neutral colours and natural elements as you would expect to see for fall.  It's too bad I won't be able to order anything...they don't ship to Canada!  In the meantime, here's some eye-candy of the product vignettes from the US H&M website

Here are some of my product picks: 

For the glamourous and funky, this candle, jewelled velvet cushion cover, skull cushion cover, and set of 2 leopard-print guest towels:  



For those who love vintage and rustic, this ceramic sugar jar, NYC transit ticket hand towel, glass vase, and wood box: 



Happy Friday, and have a great weekend!  

- All images from HM.com