During the last One Room Challenge I blogged a little bit about the process I go through to build a design scheme. Today I am going to expand on this topic and provide a few helpful tips if you are starting a project of your own!

But first, if you are new here a very warm welcome to my cozy corner of the internet. My name is Lisa and I am an interior design expert in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I have 5 kids ages 6 and under and I live in a semi-detrached bungalow in the north end of our city (home to the best baseball team in the world… I digress!) and with a family of my size with a house so small (1290 square feet on the main floor!) by necessity I have had to learn real quick how to design homes that help families thrive (and cut down on the clutter in big ways). I really love helping busy families get the most out of their spaces.   

For the One Room Challenge, this amazing thing run by Linda at Calling It Home where people are challenged to design a space in 6 weeks, I am tackling my home gym to help my family make the most of it. Personal fitness has recently become a big priority for me and completing this gym is a big motivation for me to keep the healthy lifestyle up. Plus, it was kinda difficult to work out in a space that was basically a storage locker for my Christmas decorations. Check out the horrifyingly ugly / non-organized space here.

To build a design scheme, here are some quick steps to consider:


So to build a scheme I really like to start somewhere- and in this case, it's going to be the floor. In my laundry room I created a patterned floor out of porcelain tile and thought it might be fun to again be daring with my floor choice. I'm using this rug from FLOR called the Frug in Cobalt:

It's going to be fun and graphic, and I love it will be soft underfoot to absorb the impact of using weights and jumping around. 


Once I have an item to start with I allow it to serve as the driving force of the colour scheme. So I'll be pulling the cobalt blue and neutral grey and using them in millwork (going to do some accent shelving or gables in cobalt against white or light grey cabinets… so excited!). I will also jump on over to Pinterest to search for images in my colour palette to serve as inspiration. Look at the gorgeous images below (and forgive me I searched and searched but could not find a source- if anyone knows please let me know so I can credit properly!) This allows you to have a visual reference point for the colour palette of the space- I know I can get distracted really easily by new items I see- and something think if I can squeeze them in to a design even though I know they won't work- having a visual reference board can help dissuade you from making choices that simply won't fit.  

3. FOLLOW THE 75-20-5% RULE

A simple tip that I have developed as a result of designing tons of rooms for television where you have to make a really strong visual impact in a short amount of time is the 75-20-5% rule. Essentially this means a principle colour is used for 75% of the space, a secondary colour is used for 20% of the space and a surprise pop colour that might not relate to anything at all is 5%. So in my gym, that is likely going to mean the blues in the carpet will be my 75%, whites / greys in the cabinets and walls will be 20% and a fun surprise colour shade TBD will be my 5%! 

To learn more about the One Room Challenge and see the featured 20 designers click here, and for the link up participants click here.




Fall is probably my favourite time of the year. Sweaters, cozy comforts, and of course all things pumpkin spice. But fall also makes me nervous- knowing we're moving into colder temperatures, shorter days and more time cooped up indoors makes me think about the list of projects I still have to finish around the house! Although we went through a massive renovation for basically all of 2014, there are still lots of neglected areas I want to finish- holes to patch, unpainted trim, products that still have stickers on them, boxes that still need to be donated, a million paint touch ups- and I don't want to look at all that chaos while cozied up at home all through the winter. It would be amazing to feel like I can just enjoy my house for a while (at least until the next urge to redecorate perks up!)

So right now (RIGHT NOW!) is the perfect time to get a few things done on your punch out list. Cross them off, get them done and get ready to enjoy and bask in your completed space. 

If you need a little motivation to help you out, I've partnered with CIL Paint on a fun contest that will absolutely help you towards the goal of a beautiful home. Getting there doesn't have to cost a lot- sometimes a can of paint is really all you need. 

The Beauty on a Small Budget contest challenges Canadians to make a room beautiful on a small budget using CIL Premium paint. So pick your space- paint out the fireplace, change up your favourite accent chair, or tackle the walls- and simply post a photo of your completed space on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the paint can in the photo and the hashtag #CILPremiumBeauty. 

The grand prize will consist of a two-hour home design consultation with either myself, style-maven Erica Cook, or editor-extrordinaires Earl Einarson and Jan Halvarson from Poppytalk (pending location of winner) and (HELLO!) $5,000 CDN in The Home Depot gift cards.

CIL Premium paint can be purchased exclusively at The Home Depot and costs just $29 for a 3.78 L can. I've used the paint throughout my entire home and I can tell you from experience a little bit goes a long way. As a busy mom of 5 I am in love with the fact that it is paint and primer in one- streamlines the process and makes things go faster : )

In addition to being a paint and primer in one, CIL Premium paint is also:

• Free of VOCs before adding colourant

• Washable & durable

• Virtually odourless

• Easy to apply

So get your creative juices flowing and figure out what your project will be! The contest begins October 13, 2015 and closes on November 29, 2015. You can enter as many home projects as you like- just be sure to include the hashtag #CILPremiumBeauty and a can of paint in your images. The more projects you tackle, the better your odds!

Now wait for it- if that wasn't sweet enough I am making it even easier for you- I am giving away a $250 Home Depot gift card so you can take part in the CIL Beauty on a Small Budget contest. To enter, 1) share this blog post on Twitter and tag me @lisa_canning and the hashtag #CILPremiumBeauty 2) tell me what paint project you'll be undertaking. That's it!

I'll be selecting the winner this Friday October 16, 2015 at 9am. Contest is open to Canadian residents. Winner will be randomly selected and gift card will be delivered via courier to the winner.  

As for my house, here's what I need to tackle with paint:

Pink walls be gone- we basically half completed this bathroom and then never finished! It's time!!!!

These shelves are going to get a fun accent colour of some kind… 

And all these marks on the walls will finally disappear! 

I hope you'll join me in this challenge- excited to see what you might tackle : )


ORC WEEK 1: Oh boy this is ugly

ORC WEEK 1: Oh boy this is ugly

Pretty darn excited it is that time of the year again- One Room Challenge! The crazy time time of the year that designer / bloggers / decor enthusiasts the world over embark on the challenge to renovate and complete a room in 6 short weeks. Yes, we be cray cray. And yes, last time I completed my laundry room in 6 weeks while almost 9 months pregnant (WHAT?!?!). Here's what that crazy challenge looked like last time: 

This time I am tackling my home gym. Shield your eyes- maybe put on sunglasses:

Why did we paint it this colour?!?!? We were so excited when we first painted it! Why are there boxes everywhere? Why is the door off the hinge of the closet? Why are my Christmas decorations randomly on the floor? WHY WHY WHY WHY?!?!?!? 

Finally this space is going to get some love. I have recently made exercise a priority in my life by hiring a trainer to come to the house- so not only does this challenge have an interior design goal and win, I am also hoping a physical transformation occurs in me in the 6 weeks as well. Not sure if I am brave enough to post a before shot of my stomach after having 5 kids ages 6 and under, but I am brave enough to yet again jump into this fun design challenge and share the progress every Thursday with all of you! 

A very big thanks to Linda at Calling It Home for organizing this audacious fun party every season. Check out the featured 20 designers here, and the linking party here! Follow along all the fun with the hashtag #oneroomchallenge