Posts in tips & tricks
How to Create a Welcoming Living Room

I love creating spaces that welcome guests and family for parties, dinners, and celebrations! A living room or family room in your home should invite people to gather, to sit and talk, and to feel comfortable. I have 5 can’t-fail tips that make your living spaces so enticing that your guests won’t want to leave!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs - see the full project  here .

Cynthia Ferguson Designs - see the full project here.

1. Don’t Make a TV the Focal Point

When a television is the first thing you see in a living space, it can be off-putting! Especially when it’s switched off and is just a big black box. I like to use art as the focal point of a room - it tells a story about who you are and what you like. Art can be a great conversation starter, and it makes a room feel much more welcoming!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs - see the full project  here .

Cynthia Ferguson Designs - see the full project here.

2. Offer Plenty of Seating

No matter what size room you have, it’s great to offer a lot of seating for your guests. In the rooms I design, I’ll add ottomans that can double as stools, or accent chairs that can be pulled over to conversation areas. The more the merrier is the rule in this room!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs - see full project  here .

Cynthia Ferguson Designs - see full project here.

3. Light It Up

Layered lighting is fantastic in an entertaining space! You want the option to have a bright room for a celebration, but softer lighting for conversation. I always plan overhead lighting, natural light, and plenty of lamps in my projects. Be sure you have enough tables for drinks and plates, too!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs - see full project  here .

Cynthia Ferguson Designs - see full project here.

4. Soften the Look

Extra comfort and texture are key to a welcoming space, so be sure you add plenty of pillows and throws. That way your guests will be able to settle in and feel right at home!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs - see the full project  here .

Cynthia Ferguson Designs - see the full project here.

5. The Final Touches

Fresh flowers are the perfect way to create a celebratory look! I love to have fresh flowers in my spaces even for a night in with my family! Other great touches include accessories and books. They’ll give your guests clues about who you are and what you like - and they give you plenty to talk about!

Use these ideas to create welcoming spaces that are perfect for entertaining! And invite me, too!!

Until next time,

-Cynthia

Top 5 Trends in Bathroom Cabinetry

This week the largest trade show for kitchen and bath design, KBIS, takes place in Las Vegas. Those two rooms are the top-requested renovations for people’s homes. They also happen to be two of my favorite rooms to design! So here are my picks for the top 5 bathroom cabinet trends for 2019:

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

1. The Furniture Look.

Bathroom cabinets used to be completely built in, making almost every bathroom look exactly the same. I love cabinets made from furniture or designed to look like standalone pieces! It adds a unique and custom look to the room.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

2. Floating Cabinets.

I love the look of floating cabinets in the bathroom! It’s a modern style that also opens up the room, giving the appearance of more space.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

3. Bold Colour.

The days of all-white bathrooms are over! It’s time for colour to shine, and you know I’m all about this trend! Every colour can be found on cabinetry today - which is perfect for a customized look that’s all your own.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

4. Unique Moulding Details.

Rather than the usual cabinet doors with either inset or raised panels, bathroom cabinets now are all about custom details, like this moulding pattern I designed above. We’re finally moving beyond that cookie-cutter approach and into gorgeous unique designs!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

5. Drawers Instead of Doors.

This has been a trend in the kitchen for a while now, and it’s one that’s moving into the bathroom. Drawers give you the advantage of not only using every square inch of storage, but also actually being able to reach it!! Drawers are great for people who are getting older and can’t lean into a cabinet to reach the back, and it’s just more efficient storage!

What do you think of these bathroom cabinet trends? Which are your favorites?

Until next time,

-Cynthia

3 Tips for Layering Patterns

There are two things I love most about interior design: colour and pattern. You’ll see plenty of both in my designs! But there are tricks to working with patterns so you don’t overwhelm a room. Balance is really the key and there’s an art to that. Try my top 3 tips for layering patterns in a room and you’ll never go wrong!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

1. Vary the Scale.

You want to use several pattern scales in the room to achieve balance. For example, in the bedroom above I used a very large-scale pattern on the headboard. Then I have a medium-scale pattern on the bed covering. And there’s even a very subtle pattern in the wall covering that comes from the texture. But it’s small and discreet. Layering the size of patterns keeps everything from being too jumbled and overwhelming for the eye.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

2. Let One Pattern Be the Star.

One pattern should be the “star” in the room - attracting the most attention. In the living room I designed above, that star is definitely on the draperies. It’s bold and dramatic and really draws the eye! Notice how the other patterns - in the chair backs, the rug, and the pillows - are all more like supporting players. That keeps a focal point in the room, which is key for any successful interior.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

3. Colour Is Key.

Colour is the perfect unifier that helps bring it all together. In the room above, you can see that orange is in every pattern, even in the rug! That helps tie everything together and gives it a cohesive look. You can also add in one pattern that’s a contrasting colour for a little added punch.

Experiment with patterns in your own home, but keep these 3 tips in mind! They’ll help you pull of a layered look with a professional touch!

Until next time,

-Cynthia

4 Tips for Downsizing in Style

I have had so much amazing feedback about the room I designed that was recently featured in The Globe and Mail! It was part of a condo that I designed for an favourite client who certainly was not afraid of colour!

I design a lot of condos here in Toronto, and that market is under great pressure, especially in urban centres like mine. With real estate prices at all-time highs, condos are the solution for first-time homeowners as freestanding homes are out of reach. At the same time, we have the start of the baby boomers moving out of the family homes and downsizing into condos. It is a unique situation where two age groups are after the same real estate product. I’m often downsizing clients from homes that are over 4,000 square feet to 1,500 square feet! Downsizing is a puzzle only the brave take on, but here are my top tips for making that move seamlessly and in style!!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

1. Recognize the emotion of the move.

Most people who are downsizing and moving into condos are seniors, and this can be an emotional change for them. Selling the family home is always a difficult decision to make. Sometimes an illness of one of the parents forces the timing of the move. Sometimes the family home doesn't make sense because it is a lot to keep up. Editing the family's furniture collection can also be very difficult as there are so many memories attached to each piece. That is where we come in! Our firm is a great sounding board for practicality. We start with explaining the limitations of a condo and some of the issues that might arise. The more informed a client is, the more their expectations are managed, the easier the transition is for them.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

2. Edit, edit, edit.

This is really THE key to making a downsizing move work. The first step is to learn which pieces are non-negotiable. We always keep the key pieces that our clients simply could not part with to start and then we offer other pieces that will not fit to family members first, followed by vintage shops for resale. We always hang on to the pieces that are emotionally most important for the client or the family. It is about emotional attachment, not practicality when downsizing. We find our clients like to keep their dining sets and to us, keeping the table that creates family memories is imperative, so then we need to deal with how that effects the living spaces.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

3. Learn to mix it up.

The next step is to start mixing in newer pieces. They should stand out and make a statement amongst the antiques and older items. Antiques or vintage pieces give a space credibility. They show history. They share memories. New pieces liven up the space by providing contrast. Use them for a pop of colour, or to add a new softer edge on a table or to act like art in a space - like Tommy Mitchell's accent table with butterflies under Lucite!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

4. Colour your world.

Often our clients like to add new pieces into their new space and we find they are more apt to select lots and lots of colour! As our clients age, their eyesight starts to fade, so we always layer in lots of lighting and lots of bright colours. We have used hot pink grasscloth wallpaper, bright orange velvet trim, and bright green lampshades!  Colour makes a big impact in smaller spaces, so go for it!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Use these tips to help downsize your space while updating your style quotient!

Until next time,

-Cynthia

A Shiny New Year

Metals and metallic looks are key to fabulous interiors - I think they’re just as important as the other colours in the room! Metals can be used to enhance the palette, or as a great counterpoint. Let’s take a look at how I use metals in my designs!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Enhance and Coordinate

I like to use metallic finishes to coordinate with the decor, like you see above. The gold frame brings out the gorgeous colour in the chair’s fabric, and even adds more warmth to the walls.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

In the cool white kitchen above, I used silver nickel looks to almost blend into the background. It keeps the look calm and collected!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Bold Statements

Sometimes you want a bolder look, and that’s when I use a metallic finish to add some drama! In the bedroom above, the gold colour in the light fixture really pops against the blue wall covering. It’s a gorgeous counterpoint!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

I got the same effect above when I placed the gold leaf mirror on a metallic finished wallpaper. The contrast between the two draws the eye to the mirror and adds a little wow factor to this small space!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Mixing It Up

Can you mix metals? YES! I love combining finishes for a fresh look, like in the bathroom I designed above. The nickel fixture is a great complement for the marble, while the gold-colored hardware really pops on the navy cabinetry. Together, it creates a unique and polished design!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Speaking of mixing things up, don’t forget about matte black finishes - they’re going to be HOT in 2019! And look at the drama this bold black chandelier brings in a bathroom I designed - love that piece from Kelly Wearstler!

Ring in a shiny new year by experimenting with the metal finishes in your home!

Happy New Year!

-Cynthia

Putting Colour in the Kitchen
Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

If you pay attention to trends in the home, you’ve probably noticed the movement away from all-white kitchens to more colour in the kitchen! I love colour, so this is a trend that I embrace completely! But I also understand that some people are nervous about using bright hues in their home, so here are steps to help you get into the colour groove!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

If you’re not sure about making a big commitment to colour, try adding just a touch of something bright, like these bold red stools I used in a condo kitchen. It’s a great pop of colour, but can easily be changed out as your taste changes!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

If you’re feeling a little bolder, start with a cream colour rather than white and complement it with lovely purpley shades! This creamy colour is warm and inviting, and much less stark than white. It’s the perfect palette for cooking up something delicious!

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

If you’re ready to embrace the rainbow, it’s best to start with a colour you love. Blue is regularly rated as the world’s favourite colour, and for good reason. It’s a calming, soothing tone that has been proven to spark creativity! It’s easier to be surrounded by colour if it’s one that makes you happy, so keep that in mind as you choose your kitchen palette.

So are YOU ready to embrace colour in the kitchen?! Tell me why (or why not) in the comments!

Until next time,

-Cynthia

How to Artfully Display Your Collections

Collections are a part of our family history. They are a part of our history as a society. I love to collect vintage pressed, for example! I also have a lot of clients who have gathered collections, but they’re often at a loss for how to show them off in their homes. So here are some tips you can use to artfully display what you love:

First, don’t hide them! There’s nothing worse than seeing a group of favorite things hiding in the back of a cupboard or a closet, just because you didn’t know what to do with them. Collections help show your personality - so bring them out front-and-center, like these sweet owls in a Nantucket store window! I love how some are facing in and those near the window are looking out!

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Second, see if you can create a pattern with your collections. That makes it easier to display them on a wall or table, like the gorgeous pottery group I saw on a wall in Sarah Bartholomew’s Nashville design store! This is a great way to showcase a collection of plates, bowls, baskets, hats, and so many other cool things!

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Third, whenever possible, group similar things together for greater impact. I like to put my collections of pressed glass in small groups by colour or shape - it looks more organized and artful!

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Finally, the holidays are the perfect time to pull out your collections - they’re full of memories and nostalgia, which we all love this time of year. These little knitted guys always make me smile!

No matter what you collect, use these tips to create vignettes that will tell a story in your home of who you are!

Until next time,

-Cynthia

How to Have a Haute Halloween

Next week is Halloween! If you want to celebrate the fun of the day but you don’t have little kiddos, there are still so many options for getting a little spooky while staying on the more chic side of the spectrum! Here are some of my faves:

Table design by Cynthia Fergusion

Table design by Cynthia Fergusion

I found these amazing skull plates at TJX, the flatware at Crate & Barrel, and the platter at Home Sense, proving you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a gorgeous look! The black-and-gold palette gives this outdoor table a lot of drama, without a lot of kitsch.

Hudson Grace

Hudson Grace

This feather art from Hudson Grace adds intrigue and a tiny bit of spookiness, but looks incredibly chic!

Pumpkin by Hot Skwash (isn’t that the best name?!)

Pumpkin by Hot Skwash (isn’t that the best name?!)

I was at a jewelry store when I saw this fab silky pumpkin. It reminds me of one of my favorite companies, Hot Skwash! They offer beautiful pumpkins like this that will give you a luxe look for your Halloween decor.

Table design by Cynthia Ferguson

Table design by Cynthia Ferguson

And here’s a look at a dinner party I had last year at Halloween. With lots of candles, a spooky palette, and just a touch of faux webs, I created a Halloween mood that was hip and haute. 

Try these ideas to take your decor from silly to seriously sophisticated!

Until next time,

-Cynthia

4 Tips for a Better Bedside Manner

Whether you have a lot of overnight guests, or you just want to create a better oasis in your own bedroom, there is an art to creating a bedroom that will send you off to dreamland! I’ve designed literally hundreds of bedrooms, and here are my 4 tips that work every time:

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

1. Create Calm.

Did you know that your blood pressure will actually go down by looking at the colour blue?! It’s true, and that’s why it’s such a fabulous colour to use in a bedroom, like the one I designed above. Use the most calming colours you can, like white, gray, pale green. And create a little oasis by adding flowers, books, and maybe even a candle to the bedside table. Whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed!

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2. Layer the Light.

When interior designers like me use this term, we’re talking about having a lot of light sources in a room, from bright to quiet. Bedside lights – like this amazing sconce I saw in a hotel in the Bahamas – give you just enough light to read, but not enough to make the room too bright.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

3. Invest in the Best.

There are 2 things that are so important to invest in when it comes to a bedroom: your mattress and your linens. You will spend one-third of your entire life in bed, so you’d better be comfortable while you’re there! How the mattress feels is entirely up to your body type and your sleeping style, so be sure you test-drive as many as you can in the store. And get the linens that feel the way you want them to! For example, if you get too warm when you sleep, then be sure you go for natural fibers like bamboo, silk, and cotton to keep you cool.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

4. Block It

Most everyone sleeps better if you can block a lot of the light in the room. I like to use light-blocking draperies floor to ceiling to really get the room as dark as possible in the evenings.

Try these tips to create welcoming rooms for your guests, and to help you create a quiet respite from your stressful day!

Until next time,

-Cynthia

Lighting Up!

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, a sign that we’re definitely close to winter and the holiday season. That also means shorter days and longer nights – a time when the lighting in your house becomes even more important! I love finding new and exciting light options for my clients. Here are a few of the top trends in lighting today:

Schoolhouse light, interior design by Cynthia Ferguson

Schoolhouse light, interior design by Cynthia Ferguson

Matte Black. Deep, dark black is a big trend in Europe and it’s starting to appear in homes here! I love the impact it makes when it’s paired with metal, like in this bedside lamp from Schoolhouse that I used in a boy’s room.

Ridgely Studio Works that looks more like an installation than a sconce!

Ridgely Studio Works that looks more like an installation than a sconce!

Free-Form Lights. Sculptural designs are taking lighting to a more artful place! I recently worked on a custom commission with Ridgely Studio Works that looks more like an installation than a sconce.

Kelly Wearstler chandelier, interior design by Cynthia Ferguson

Kelly Wearstler chandelier, interior design by Cynthia Ferguson

Wow-Worthy Chandeliers. This Kelly Wearstler design I used in a master bathroom takes the starburst or Sputnik design to a whole new level! Designed in that oh-so-trendy black, the chandelier adds drama to the decor.

Le Deun Luminaires

Le Deun Luminaires

LED Lights. LED has been a major trend for lighting manufacturers for a while, but only recently have they made them look as gorgeous as they are efficient! I’m so in love with these gorgeous gold rings from the French company Le Deun Luminaires!

Get Lit

Get Lit

Traditional Shapes. In table lamps, traditional shapes like the ginger jar you see here from Get Lit are coming back in a big way. The green colour definitely speaks to me, too!

Primavera

Primavera

Bold Color. Speaking of colour, bright pops of colour are being featured not just on the lamps bases, but also on the shades, as you can see in these pretty designs from Primavera. 

Use these ideas to light up your fall and winter days! And if you’re here in Canada, I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time,

-Cynthia

Perfect Summer Soirées
Cynthia Ferguson Design Tabletop

There is nothing I love more than spending time outdoors – especially after being on hot dusty construction sites all day! I love throwing a tablecloth on the table outdoors and just dining en plein air!

Everything on your table doesn’t have to match or be perfect – summer dinners and socials should be fun, spontaneous, and about the people around the table!

Everything on your table doesn’t have to match or be perfect – summer dinners and socials should be fun, spontaneous, and about the people around the table! I love to mix and match dinnerware – even using vintage or heirloom pieces with newer settings. Some of my favourite sources for those fabulous vintage finds are Sean George Pressed Glass & Goblets, Replacements Ltd., and Cynthia Findlay Antiques.

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

Look for colours that can be used as a coordinating element – like the green in a tablecloth, or the pink in a floral pattern. Then pull in other items from your collections that have the same or complementary colour!

Cynthia Ferguson Design

To create a fun bar cart, I love to use my collections of pressed and vintage glassware! Patterns can be mixed for a festive look, especially when you coordinate with straws and bottles that are in similar colours.

But do you want to know the REAL designer secret to creating a fabulous tablescape for a summer dinner party?

Cynthia Ferguson Designs

The inside scoop is to just throw something festive and fun together and invite your friends over! Don’t worry about any judgement. Trust me, your guests are just thrilled to have someone else cook for a night! Our friends and family love that the table is always a surprise when they arrive!

Open a bottle, look up at the stars, and enjoy the laughter. That’s what is really important when it comes to dining al fresco!

Until next time,

Cynthia

PS – I have some fun events coming up soon! To see the tablescapes I’ve designed, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

-Cynthia