Interior Decorating Made Simple by Guest Blogger Ashley Burnstad


Friends, I am so excited to introduce to you my friend Ashley Burnstad. We Went to high school together but didn't really start communicating until I hired her for my wedding, as she runs an amazing wedding planning business out of Vancouver, BC; Candeo Weddings. (www.candeoweddings.com) Ashley is one of the most posh, polished and put together women I know, so I HAD to have her write a post for me. Make sure to check out her YouTube channel as well PinkConfidential. (www.youtube.com/user/pinkcondifential)

Interior Decorating Made Simple by Ashley Burnstad

If you're a) moving into a new space and starting from scratch or b) looking for some guidance on how to revamp your current space - read on.
Interior decorating can seem really overwhelming - the thought of searching out individual pieces from different stores is a daunting task and it's certainly not for everyone. I particularly enjoy that process, but many people don't. It's not as bad as you think and can actually be a lot of fun if you know the basics.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” - William Morris

1) Find your style and make your space feel like YOU.
This is tough - you probably like a lot of different things, or maybe you don't really know what your personal style is. Spend some time on Pinterest.com or Apartmenttherapy.com - look through images of homes and make a note of which ones make you feel inspired. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that your home makes you happy. It could be on the cover of Architectural Digest, but if you don't like it, you wouldn't enjoy living in it.


2) Find one beautiful thing and use that as inspiration.

This could be anything - a sofa, a clock, a throw pillow - whatever. Something that you ADORE - take this and run with it. Start with the clock on the wall - what sort of side table do you envision to go below it? You want a mirror across the room - what kind of mirror will coordinate with the side table? What material is the mirror frame made of? Find some accessories that match. Think of the room as a bubble diagram - this one inspirational piece is the centre.


3) Stop buying things just for the sake of filling a space.

When I first moved out on my own, almost everything I bought was under the basis of "this will do." Currently I don't own a SINGLE thing that I purchased back then. Within months, I started to hate my home, but had spent a small fortune at IKEA just to have stuff. What a waste.
Take your time. Ask yourself with every single thing you buy - do I love this? I don't care if it's a TV stand, coffee table, desk organizer or area rug. Never sacrifice form for function. You MUST have both if you want to keep something for a long time. Otherwise, I promise it will begin to bother you and you will inevitably get the urge to replace it.


4) Never sacrifice lighting.

Lighting is quite possibly the MOST important thing about decorating a space. Lighting can influence emotion. When in doubt, purchase lamps and floor lighting while avoiding overhead lighting. Nobody likes a blinding potlight overhead while they are trying to read on the sofa. An important thing to remember is that not having ENOUGH light is unhealthy - not just for your eyes, but it can elevate your stress levels too.


5) Use basic furniture spacing guidelines. 
This will affect the flow and general feel of your space greatly. Bad furniture spacing is what tends to make a space just feel wrong. There is lots of information online, such as here:http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/proper-furnitur-149156. Given the cost of living in Vancouver, many of us don't even have enough space to follow these guidelines, but it's important to try.


6) Stop putting things on the floor. Stop. 
Don't put a stack of books or DVDs in the corner. Don't put that decorative box on the floor beside your desk. Doing this makes your home feel like a bachelor pad. Furniture exists for a reason. Nothing should be on the floor unless it is a significantly sized space-filler i.e.: a LARGE vase with decorative sticks or a stack of 6 suitcases in the corner. Bigger is better here.


7) Don't block doorways, closet doors or windows. Period. See how ugly it can look?


"Where do I get stuff though?"
This is fairly subjective question and will greatly depend on your style. My home is largely made up of vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces from Craigslist and vintage shops in Vancouver. I have nothing against Urban Barn, EQ3, etc. You can definitely find great pieces there. I would just be cautious of furnishing an entire room from one place. Put some time and effort into shopping around and you will have so much more success. Check out and support your local retailers!

"What makes you qualified to write a blog post about interior design?"
Not a ton. I took 2 courses in interior design at BCIT, but for the most part it's been trial and error. I have moved about 10 times as an adult and generally just love interior decorating. I've done a few remodelling projects for friends and family too!