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Introducing Western Living’s 2023 Designers of the Year Award Winners
The designer shares her expert advice for designing your small space and making the most of fall trends.
Interior designer Megan Baker offers a fresh take on design through her work at The Cross Interiors, and she’s translating those skills into a warm modern space for the Western Living Design Lounge at the Vancouver Home + Design Show this coming weekend. Catch Megan live at the show on Friday, October 17at 3:00, when she chats with our editor-in-chief, Anicka Quin, as part of the Western Living panel.We chatted with interior designer Megan Baker about fall trends and tips for small space designWestern Living: What trends are you seeing in bedroom design?Megan: There are two really strong opposite trends happening right now. I see light, bright minimal bedrooms that are white washed, there isn’t a lot of colour, but there is a large use of texture instead. Half of the people really like that, as they like something fresh and clean.The other opposing trend I am seeing right now is really dark, cozy spaces. These spaces are much darker in terms of the wall colours; which appear bold in that way. Dark doesn’t necessarily just mean colour, it means heaviness, there are lots of pieces of furniture, and lots of wood elements that make the space quite cozy. So we have one with complete emptiness and one that has a lot of stuff to keep you safe in there. In terms of colours, I am seeing a lot of greys, and black accents in spaces, which can be used in different ways. Black looks so different if it is high shine as it doesn’t have a lot of receptive qualities, and it looks great on accessories. Then there’s matte, this can be used on small accent walls as this fabric kind of absorbs the light, and the other accessories reflect it so you have a variety of shades. The materials that I am noticing lately are furs; this is really nice as it makes the space warm for the fall. Western Living: What’s the biggest mistake people make when renovating?Megan: The biggest mistake that gets made early on is underestimating the timeline of the renovation project. Unfortunately renovations take a lot longer than anybody wants to spend doing a renovation especially when they are living in the space, but I think when you can plan ahead for the time that it really takes products to come in, and make sure what you’re putting into the space is what the client truly wants than you can save a lot of issues from happening down the road. If you can plan ahead for the time allotted than you can minimize the frustration from clients if items take longer than we would like them to or trades get booked up because they are working on more than one project at a time. If there’s time allocated into the project, if you can handle the unexpected in the renovation it can keep everybody a bit more calm, because you don’t feel the swooping deadline coming down on you.Western Living: What’s your favourite design trick?Megan: I love to share this one so I was excited for this question. I love grouping items together, it’s the most effective trick you can ever do in a home. It’s fairly easy to do for anybody wanting to do a refresh, just think of a collection where you have a bunch of similar items together and think about the colour where you group all the same colour ways together. Imagine artwork in a gallery wall format, anything that is a small item looks so great when its grouped together, the more the better. I think you could use the principle of the gallery wall anywhere, one magazine on the table is going to look a lot less interesting than two hundred and fifty magazines that make the table up.Western Living: If you’re working with a couple where each person has a different idea of what their home should be, what are your tips for building compromise?Megan: This is a tricky question, yet it comes up all the time. There’s always more than one person living in a home, and you want everybody to feel like they’re at home and comfortable. You need to make room for compromise, so what I like to do is instead of asking clients about the aesthetics they like, which is where you can get male and females typically disagreeing on the appearance of a home, its important to get down to the real bones of what they want their home to feel like.I like to ask myself, is their home an entertaining space, is it just a nest for the two of them, or is it a backdrop for family game night or something that’s really important to them. Usually they agree which is probably why they are living together in the first place. I like to get them to talk about the feeling of the home and the way they’re going to use the home, rather than saying one person likes orange and one person likes blue. That way I can come up with more creative solutions as a designer and they’re both going to be happy because I’ve achieved both of their goals. So I think that’s how I approach those clients.Western Living: What’s one simple change you can make in a room to freshen it up for the fall season?Megan: Change is a bit of an investment. There are two changes I would like to share. One is a bit more of an investment, I like to change up an area rug, its something that costs a bit more money but if you can change it out for fall/winter and for summer, it’s a big item and you can change a lot of things with it. You can change the size, which can feel a lot bigger, if you keep the furniture the same way, and you can change the type of material. If it’s for summer, it can be a bit of a rougher texture like sea grass or something like that which is going to feel like summer on your feet. For the fall/winter seasons, you can change it out for something plusher, this adds another layer of warmth and cosiness to a space without changing anything else. You can change colour ways too in a rug, which can be a bit more expensive but if you always keep it the same every year and have a rug for fall/winter and a rug for summer I think over time you get your value, and it becomes an investment. For the second change, something a bit more accessible in terms of price range would be a floral arrangement. They’re nice anytime of the year and they automatically change with the season. I recommend asking the florist what’s in for the season and not just getting what got shipped into their floral shop. Using this method to choose a big floral arrangement can be a welcome way to add more freshness and that fall feeling.Western Living: What’s your favourite accessory in a room?Megan: Trays. They are so fun because you can get them in any kind of texture or finish, there are always DIY’s around for them as well. You can also choose your price point, something from CB2, which is cool or even a vintage, antique one that’s beautiful too. They look great layered, and look great with magazines stored inside them. Trays also make a perfect accompaniment on your side table, where you can stash your favourite essentials, they even come in handy if you need to whip up a bar. I think one should always have trays on hand.
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