Budget Friendly Spring Home Updates

Each year as spring approaches, I typically see a surge of homeowners wanting to spruce up their homes. There are so many easy and affordable things people can do to dramatically update their homes while keeping function, style and budget top of mind. 

jo alcorn rodney sofa

Consider swapping out some accessories for lighter, brighter options. I love working with white on white (all different tones/shades of white) to create a fresh, bright pallet. Flowers are mandatory too – I cannot live without flowers – and they scream spring! 

jo alcorn interiors

Feeling the itch for a more dramatic change this spring? I’ve recently launched a new line of Jo Alcorn wallpaper in patterns that are guaranteed to give your mood a lift and make you feel like you’ve made a dramatic change with a little DIY magic. 

jo alcorn wallpaper

Think you have to turn off your fireplace and forget about it until fall rolls around? Think again! Dimplex has stunning units that operate with no heat; you can keep them on during the spring and summer on cool, rainy days when you want that comfy, cozy feel of a fire but without the heat. This unit that I recently styled is a new type from Dimplex called Revillusion. It can run all summer long with a no-heat option to keep a romantic, relaxing feel going strong in the warmer months. 

dimplex fireplace

 If you have an electric fire place, or even a wood burning unit, you can redecorate it to match your spring décor. HomeSense is my go-to when I want to easily change any décor with very little expense. For mantel décor in the summer months, I recommend light, airy and fun accessories. 

mantel decor

Spring is always a great time to organize and make small changes that will add huge functionality to your home. Adding in soft close hardware and drawer organizers can sometimes make it feel like you have a brand new space. GRASS, a manufacturer of soft close drawer and cupboard systems, has a new line called Tavinea which is an interior drawer system that is modularly built so it can easily be tailored to your personal specifications. The days of the junk drawer will be limited after this addition. 

Grass kitchen

If you have open shelving or glass cabinet doors, another option to update your décor is to change your glassware and plates. I love to pull these out early in the season and get them on display – they give my kitchen an instant spring feel. And I’m all for making it feel like the warmer months will be here soon! Walmart has a great selection of outdoor plates and glasses that are sure to please and fit the needs to everyone.

walmart glasses

Spring really does inspire us to organize, air out, and freshen up, but a spot that people often overlook is the laundry room – it’s a room that receives very little attention. I assure you, if you spend a bit of time to organize it properly, you can be far more efficient when you’re in there and have the bonus of enjoying that space! I love baskets from Bouclair to hide all the bits and bobs, cleaning supplies and other things that make the household tick. 

laundry room makeover

There is no easily, more stylish way to change up your living space than by adding in pillows. The more the merrier I always say! My pillow collection is fully washable (you toss the entire pillow – cover and stuffing – into the washer!) hypoallergenic and made in Canada. Jo Alcorn Collection

jo alcorn dog bed

Spring will be here before you know it. These quick and easy updates will make your space more functional, enjoyable, and easier to live in for more than just the season to come.

Love your Bedroom!

While many people overlook their bedroom thinking no one sees it but them, it is a room that people should make a priority. It’s the first thing you see in the morning, and the last room you curl up in at night, so why not make it a place that brings you joy?

1 INTRO slide .jpg

While there was nothing wrong functionally with this bedroom, it really lacked inspiration, detail and personality. My goal was to fill up this large space with items that brought it to life, and add detailing that would make it a show stopper in this home. 

To start, I always recommend a colour that you love; choose one that gives you a serene, relaxing feel and that speaks to you personally. For this space I chose Wickham Gray HC-171. It is the base that started to bring this room to life.

To add interest and dimension, I made a few features in this space with moulding. We created a wall treatment using great trim products from Metrie, which gives the space an elegant feel.

The most common request when working on a bedroom remodel is to create a serene, relaxing atmosphere. A fireplace is the perfect addition to a bedroom setting, but
the main issue I encounter is that wood is messy and gas is expensive to install. A great option is an electric unit. Electric has drastically evolved in recent years and can create the exact ambiance, mood and overall sense of comfort that is perfect for a bedroom. They are also easy to install and extremely affordable. This unit is a Dimplex unit that took the homeowner only 25 minutes to unload, unpack and set up!

To spice up the new fireplace unit, we had a custom build-up created to give it that “real” fireplace mantel feel. We used Metrie products again and matched the existing crown moulding to the new unit. It creates a simply stunning effect.

No bedroom is complete without a bed – it is the most important functional piece in the room. In this space we used a Casper mattress, which was delivered in a box right to the homeowners’ front door. It’s a great option for people without cars and city dwellers. Plus it’s extremely comfortable! Pair that up with the headboard and bed frame from the Jo Alcorn Collection and we have a winning combination of style, colours, textures and comfort.   

Now to dress the bed. This is where you can have some serious fun with patterns, colour and texture. We started with crisp white sheets, pillows and pillow cases from Casper and topped it off with a subtle duvet cover from HomeSense. Again from the Jo Alcorn Collection, we used pillows to incorporate the exact texture and finishing touches that are perfect for this room.  

The side table lamps and curtains were purchased from Wayfair.ca. Wayfair is a great site that has an outstanding amount of products to choose from (over 7 million to be exact!), their site is easy to navigate and they offer two-day delivery options and free shipping over CAD $75. 

I often like to add a bench to the end of the bed. It looks great and is also the perfect place to pile your decorative pillows and throw at night when you turn in. For this space I used this stylish white bench from Bouclair which fit perfectly in the space and the budget. We picked up a great light from Bouclair as well. 

 Your bedroom should be a place you love! 

Until next time, Jo


Thank you to the following company for their partnership in the makeover: Casper, Wayfair Canada, HomeSense, Bouclair, Benjamin Moore, Metrie, Jo Alcorn Collection

2017 Design Trends!

Each New Year brings with it new trends, colours and design options, and 2017 is no exception. Here are my top 10 trends to watch for in 2017. You might even want to try out a few!

2017 design trends, jo alcorn furniture

Darker colours add drama and warmth to any space. A colour I simply love this year is Shadow 2117-30 by Benjamin Moore. It’s bold, dramatic and fun. You can also use this colour in accent pieces to bring it into your décor. 

2017 Paint colour

 If you are nervous about adding in darker colours to your walls, a great place to start is in pillows, a duvet or a rug. It allows you to test a dramatic colour, but at the same time you can easily swap it out or try another colour. This works in any room – from bedroom to bathroom, kitchen to family rooms. Try out a few pillows from my my Jo Alcorn line as a start joalcorn.ca

wall detailing, ship lap, jo alcorn pillows

  An alternate to adding in bold, dramatic dark colours is to incorporate bright and cheery accents. Try a new headboard which will make a dramatic statement. Adding a few stools in the same pattern but different colours will also make a huge impact.  Also available on joalcorn.ca

fabric headboard, jo alcorn collection

I love wall detailing – even the most subtle elements can make an incredible impact. Both wallpaper and wood detailing can give you an elegant custom look, but if a project of this scale isn’t in the cards for you, try a bohemian wall hanging. Homesense has some great options that will make a huge impact in your space. 

dark walls, wainscotting

 Nothing is more natural and calming than a fireplace. My favourite unit is the new Dimplex Stockbridge Opti-myst stove that is functional and mobile. The flames look and sound as real as a wood burning, crackling fire. For pennies a day you can have all the comfort and nostalgia of a roaring fire without any mess or a pricy gas bill.

Dimplex, electric fireplace

If you are tackling a kitchen reno in 2017, look at the little details that make the biggest impact. A feature I can’t live without is soft close cabinet and drawer system. GRASS is a world class leader in soft close hardware that absorbs every load gently and silently. It’s usually only a slight increase in your budget and the return is so rewarding. No more slamming doors or jamming drawers. It’s an upgrade well worth the investment. 

GRASS hardware

While we’re on the topic of the kitchen, think about your appliances. KitchenAid has gone above and beyond with their new Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator that is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Professionally-inspired with features like a platinum interior, unique premium wood finish and sleek Stainless Steel appearance take this refrigerator from stylish to exquisite so there’s no sacrificing function for fashion. Add to that the bonus of a PrintShield exterior which helps keep fingerprints at bay.

kitchenaid, stainless fidge

This is the year to add some bling to your sink – a magnificent faucet is like a jewel in the kitchen. You use it every day, people see it when you are gathered in the kitchen, and it’s meant to be functional. If you are considering an upgrade, check out Delta’s stunning new faucets in an array of styles and finishes. This year, make your faucet a focal point instead of having it fade into the background. 

Delta Faucet, Delta

Let the light shine in! Instead of the lighting fading away into the background, let it stand out. It’s all about drawing your eye up to enjoy the lighting you have chosen. This year, make your chandelier a statement piece.  Artcraft has some amazing lighting pieces that truly are a piece of artwork or if your budget doesn't allow, you can also choose less pricey pieces from Bouclair who also have a great selection. 

black lighting, jo alcorn lighting

For the bathroom a few simple upgrades can make the most impact. Try changing out your faucet to a wall mount. I love the look and finish of Delta’s new ARA collection and it’s a Two Handle Wall Mount Lavatory Faucet with Channel Spout. To add even more of a fresh feel try swapping out your towels or shower curtain, these little things can make your space feel brand new – Bouclair has a great bath selection with new lush towels, great patterns in shower curtains and towel latter's which are all very affordable. 

Bathroom decor, delta faucet

My Top Gift Picks for 2016!

If you’re like me, every year when the holidays roll around I start shopping early to find my favorite classic items, and great new options. Here are my favorite finds that are sure to please everyone on your list. 

christmas decor

 A stunning holiday décor theme is white elements mixed with winter animal accents. This year I found these great items from Bouclair Home that you’ll want to pick up for a loved one…and yourself too!  


Give your health conscious and busy, on-the-go loved ones a gift that they can really use. The Hamilton Beach Professional Quiet Blender is a great option. It’s so powerful you can chalk it full of hearty fruits and vegetables for a healthy smoothie or a warming soup on a cold winter’s day. It’s also sleek and modern so you can proudly display it on your counter top. 

Hamilton beach blender

I love functional! I recently fell in love with the Thermador Under-Counter refrigerator. These refrigerators mount under your counter and will work well in any space, whether it is a compact city condo or a large suburban kitchen. This would be a great gift to split with siblings and pair with a wine subscription for your parents.

Thermador refrigerator

Give your dog the gift of comfort this year with these reversible and fully washable dog beds (and I do mean fully – the entire thing goes into the wash!). As an added bonus, you can get matching throw pillows, so pooch’s bed is an attractive part of the décor

jo alcorn dog beds

The holidays are all about giving. Plan International Canada’s Gifts of Hope are unique gifts that support real projects in developing countries. One I particularly love is Buzzing Bees that you can donate on someone else’s behalf – providing all the essentials for pollinating a buzzing family business. You can pair your recipient’s donation card with a honey pot or a beeswax candle.

Plan Canada Gifts of Hope

Cuddle up under this luxurious heated throw that combines the best of both worlds – luxury and comfort – together. The faux fur reverse to Sherpa heated throw from Sunbeam has a Sherpa lining for an incredibly cozy feel. The perfect gift to enjoy on cold winter nights.


I have always loved the nature inspired selections from Artemano. I have an annual tradition of going to their store to pick up great hostess gifts – they have options that no other store carries, items inspired by or found in nature. Each unique piece is sure to delight your recipient, and bring the warmth of nature into their inside world. 


I love to decorate with art – and no room is complete without some great pieces. One of my favourite sources for artwork is  Posterjack. You upload your photo on their site and they turn it into beautiful artwork on canvas or in gallery frames and unique table decor like acrylic blocks. Their artwork makes for a really thoughtful gift. 


There’s always that hard to buy for guy on your list, but this year a trip to Home Hardware is all it takes to find something perfect! I love gifts that are practical and will get used. The Benchmark Twistor is great for the handyman on your list! It’s an 8 volt cordless screwdriver features 380 different head positions with a 360 degree orbital rotation.  


Not sure what to get that someone who has it all? Why not consider pampering them with a get-away? I recently stayed at Viamede Resort in the Kawartha’s. It’s a two hour drive from Toronto (or they also offer a shuttle service). You can go on a weekend or even on a mid-week getaway. The gift of a getaway is perfect for that person looking for experiences instead of a tangible gift. And did I mention the food is amazing?

Viamede Resort

Happy Holiday's everyone and wishing you all a great New Years! 

Cheers, Jo 

Guide to the perfect holiday decor tips!

I recently designed a magical holiday décor scene for Niagara Fall’s Winter Festival of Lights. Several other celebrity designers also created enchanting seasonal vignettes, as did some up and coming design students from Humber College. To inspire homeowners, we’re sharing our top ten holiday décor tips. To see a sneak peak video of the set ups click here.

Table Rock Niagara Falls - winter festival of lights

“I love natural items in my holiday décor,” says Jo Alcorn. “Add in birch logs to your home for a holiday feel — whether it’s outside in an urn or a pile by your fireplace.” Deck the Falls Designer for Table Rock 

winter festival of lights, Niagrara falls

A great way to personalize home décor is to create your own tree topper. Simply purchase a variety of picks, sprays, and twigs and arrange them on top of your tree. Use extras to fill in empty spaces, or incorporate them throughout your home as floral arrangements.” Deck the Falls Humber design student, Jeanette Piatek for Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa   

winter festival of lights Christine Dovey

“In addition to lit trees, I love using LED strips and twinkle lights to enhance holiday vignettes,” Christine Dovey. “Large light globes are another wonderful way of getting high impact holiday sparkle, especially when placed beside a fireplace.”  
Deck the Falls Designer for Marriott on the Falls 

Christmas trees

“Limited space? Consider using a tall skinny tree with a smaller diameter. Make it glamorous by using jewel-toned ornaments. A great tip is to group ornaments in bunches of threes. It gives the illusion of a fuller tree, and has more impact.” Deck the Falls Humber design student, Andrea Plonka. 

Jeanette Ewen - Christmas table top Decor

"My best advice is to have fun with it! Invite friends over, have a glass of wine and let the décor take centrestage,” advises Janette Ewen. “Neutral colour schemes like gold, silver and white always look chic and are easy to work with. For 2016 my favourite theme is enchanted forest — it's easy to achieve by adding touches of moss, along with woodland and animal motifs.” Deck the Falls Designer for The Old Stone Inn.   

Christmas Decor

“Sometimes it’s hard not to fall into the same colour schemes or traditional vignettes. Coloured lights and mirrored ornaments feel modern, and the lights will cast moving shapes on around the tree. Twinkle and spot lights will also make your Christmas décor shine brightly.” Deck the Falls Humber design student, Thea Brothers, Embassy Suites  

holiday decor ideas, nutcrackers

“I love to incorporate a little DIY,” says Nicholas Rosaci. “For the Winter Festival of Lights I created two custom toy soldiers. We gave them a makeover with paint, beautiful ribbons, velvets and gem stones. You can also wrap empty boxes in gorgeous paper to create a little bling under your tree.” https://niagarafallshilton.com/

polar bear

“Make use of vertical space by introducing cotton ball and crystal bead curtains, which work as space dividers, window displays and backdrops for vignettes.”  Deck the Falls Humber design student, Sophie Bisnaire for Radisson Hotel & Suites Fallsview        

christmas gift wrapping

"My number one tip is to incorporate colour pulled from your current decor — such as art — to create a cohesive feel," says Kasia Waloszczyk. “For example, if you have art that contains a smokey teal, add some faux fur pillows in the same tone to bring in a cozy texture.  Lastly, I always love to accent in whites — it truly brings the winter vibe indoors!” http://www.oakeshotel.com/

Christmas gold

“To achieve modern, luxurious Christmas look, use gold and black to ground the space, and add focal-point pieces like Nutcrackers and gift boxes in various sizes. Fill in empty spaces at the base of the tree with large ornaments and use lights to highlight special decor pieces.”  Deck the Falls Humber design student Itza Reyes-Herra for Four Points Sheraton.

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Jo Alcorn xo 

Home is where the Art is!

white office with white framed art

Artwork is often overlooked in a home but if you choose the right pieces, combinations, colours and frames you can create a statement that is jaw dropping.

wall art

You don’t always have to hang artwork. I love the look of layering on top of a hutch or buffet. Add in a few eclectic pieces and you can truly create an artwork statement in your space.

cottage wall art

This is a small space but we wanted to make a huge impact so we went vertical. We picked great pieces from an online source called Posterjack, added in some faux stag heads and let me tell you – this space certainly makes people look twice.

little girls room, pink walls

Artwork isn’t only for adults either! Kids love to display their art and be inspired by fun quotes and inspirational images. I like to choose artwork for kids’ rooms that will grow with them.

boy rooms, storage

Another tip for kids is to let them get involved in decorating. Have them create their own masterpieces and frame them for their very own gallery wall. They’ll be proud of what they produced and can swap out pieces as new ones are created.

home office

I love to make a work space as inspiring as possible and what better way than with art, inspirational sayings and visuals.

entryway art

From the moment you enter, it’s the perfect time to set the tone for the décor in your home. Art pieces don’t need to be limited to the living room or dining room; bring it right into your front foyer to welcome your guests!


I tell all of my clients not to be intimidated by artwork or hanging art. Check out sites like Posterjack who can take your own photos and turn them into masterpieces, or you can choose from their gallery of images. Just a few clicks, then they ship right to your door.

white walls black fireplace

 Finally – get creative! Think outside the typical places you might put artwork! Find little nooks and empty spaces that might otherwise sit empty and dress them up with a great piece or two.

 Until next time, 

w&c designer girl!


Let's talk bathroom trends and how to spice it up on a budget

Bathrooms are typically smaller spaces so you can really have fun in them with colour, patterns and pops of colour, and make a pretty dramatic statement on a fairly tight budget. 

bathroom, bathroom trends

If your budget allows, I like to go with flooring that will be durable, stylish and fun. I prefer to source from tile specific companies like Creekside Tile. They have hundreds of options and you can gather so many design ideas from just going into their showroom.

small bathrooms

I focus on the details and functionality in all the designs I do. People often forget about the little things that make the biggest impact. I recently worked on a space and we installed Grass soft close hardware. You don't see this type of hardware since it is built right into the mechanism of the drawers, but the gentle soft close (and that there are no more drawers slamming loudly!) is a dream.

drawer vanity

It’s so easy to change up your current look with a coat of paint or some unique décor pieces. A new coat of paint in a dark colour might seem scary at first but a small space is the perfect spot to try a bold and daring colour as well as accessories in colours you might not typically choose.

brass birds, brass wall art

The faucet is really the jewel of any bathroom that finishes off the space just right. This is a perfect place to splurge. I love Delta’s options for a sleek and modern faucets that command attention.

delta faucets, bathroom facets

If you are thinking of replacing your current vanity I’d suggest choosing one at your local big box store. You really can get a boutique stylish unit like these Cutler Kitchen and Bath vanities that are sold at Lowe’s.

cutler bathroom vanities

If you are looking to add a spa like retreat in your bathroom, a great relaxing treat is an electric fireplace. Units like the ones at Dimplex have come along way. You can get small units to fit even the tiniest of bathrooms and grand scale units to fit the largest master bath. You may never want to leave your bathroom after you install one of these. 

dimplex fireplace, dimplex

For a quick bathroom update consider wallpaper and accessories. You can get both at very affordable prices from retailers like Bouclair Home. If you’ve wanted to jump on the wallpaper trend and try it out a powder room that is smaller in scale is a great place to test out a pattern.

bouclair home. shower curtains

Until next time, w&c designer girl! 

Create an easy, breezy cottage feel right in your home!

When summer arrives, everyone’s thoughts turn to a great holiday get-away. Even if you don’t have a family cottage, or can’t slip away to one this year, here are some tips on how to create an easy, breezy, cottage feel right in your own home.

Cottages are all about the outdoors, so why not bring the great outdoors inside? Get creative! Tree branches or beautiful stones from your own property are budget-friendly and look beautiful on display.

Cottages or lake properties are all about quiet escapes where you can put your feet up and relax with a good summer read. This year, change up some of your artwork to be nature inspired. Posterjack.ca is my go to for great photo options. All at the click of a mouse, I can have an entire nature-inspired feature wall created. Best of all, they deliver to your doorstep so you can spend more time enjoying the summer heat.

Summer is a great time to gather with out-of-town family and friends. Gatherings often include meals, so what better time to infuse some cottage feel? For this table setting, I used bright and bold patterns from Home Sense that were mixed and matched to create this gorgeous brunch setting.

Make a great first impression with a statement entrance. For this entrance I opted for stylish bench seating and a sturdy coat rack from Urban Barn. I topped it all off with more nature inspired prints, but this time I chose gorgeous blues and greens in more abstract nature pieces, again from posterjack.ca.

I love the light and breezy look of white seating contrast ed with greenery to really capture the cottage feel. Grab a Mason jar or large vase, add some greenery and you’ve brought the cottage feel right into your home.

Fresh flowers are a staple in any nature inspired décor. I bring fresh flowers into my home weekly all year round but especially in the summer, it’s a great way to bring summer inside.

There is nothing like a cold drink on a hot summer day. A bar cart is a great idea but if you don’t have space for one, you can still set up a nice bar a rea on your counter. Add some faux greenery and you've got your own little sipping station.

Nothing says summer like a picnic table. I love how many people can fit around it and it really brings me back to summer times as a kid.

Adding some durable, comfy and fashionable pillows to your space is sure to brighten it up for summer. Try a few from my new Jo Alcorn Pillow collection store locator joalcorn.ca


.Until next time, 

The Perfect Family Kitchen!

The kitchen is the heart of the home so it’s a bonus when you can have an open concept to more living zones. This once multiple room traditional home in the east end of Toronto has now become a functioning family living space. Having the open concept now means you can gather in two great spaces simultaneously, whether you are hosting and tending to kitchen duties while still conversing with guests or watching over the entire family. Functionality has a whole new meaning to style. Follow these tips to create flow and décor symmetry when designing in an open concept.

Let there be light!  The homeowner knew they needed new windows and doors so that was our next step after opening up the walls. The small existing back doors didn’t allow a lot of natural light in or the view of the backyard. We created an 11’ door and windows opening to achieve the WOW factor when you walk into space. The amount of natural light tripled while making the backyard feel like an extension of the space which added visual real estate to the entire layout. We chose a great Canadian company that makes, manufactures, delivers and installs windows and doors in Toronto. Total Home Window and Doors is one of the largest window and door manufacturers in Canada and as an added bonus they offer a lifetime warranty on their products.

Countertops come with all different price tags. If you have a large surface area, like a island, you want to make sure counter tops are on your spurge list. Islands area a focal point within a kitchen and the most common gather space, so make sure you love what you are getting because you will be looking at every single day.  I love the look of these Caesarstone Quartz countertops from Beyond Marble and Granite. From fabrication to installation, BMG provided top-of-the-line service for this project. 

For this project I discovered a new cabinet company called Fine Line Kitchens.  Their goal is to work closely with their clients to deliver the best possible design and craftsmanship from start to finish. It’s evident from their finishing work that they have been pros in the business for over 35 years. The hidden gems behind the white shaker style doors is the home owners favorite part of the cabinets, with soft closing drawers, organization systems, and even a hidden drawer fridge, life is just that much easier when everything has the perfect home.

Appliances can become a big part of the design style. For this space I chose Samsung’s Chef Collection in stainless steel. These premium kitchen appliances are gold star and have been tested and approved by Michelin Star Chefs. Plus functionality is key when designing a kitchen so you want to make sure your getting appliances that will work with your family’s lifestyle.


Another important feature in a kitchen is the faucet. A gem that I find people often overlook. I love to educate my clients about the importance of a great faucet and all that it can do for the space. I love the Delta Trinsic single handle pull faucet with Touch20 technology in matte black. It adds just the right amount of drama to a kitchen.

Based on the design of this kitchen it was super important to have a low profile vent hood. The Lux Island range hood from Zephyr provided an unobstructed view through the kitchen to the front hallway and it provided the minimalist look we were going for. As a bonus it has a wireless remote control. 


Lighting is also key in a kitchen, as it becomes hanging art and a staple within the overall design concept. I went with a more industrial look pendant over the island to tie in the industrial beams, and then matched it with a two round industrial traditional lights for the over the table. Lighting can be a great way to tie in themes, as did these, marring the transitional rustic to industrial, for a very unique and coherent look. These gems are from http://www.dvcanada.com/


Any time you can bring the outside in and add a touch of rustic to a space jump on the opportunity. In this space we chose a gorgeous raw suar wood table from Artemano with matching benches for large a large family to gather around. The rustic table will help disguise the families wear and tear plus it becomes a beautiful focal point which helps moves the eye around the entire open concept kitchen.

The flow in this space continued to the seating area where we continue the natural theme with table top plants from Bouclair and a sofa adorned with a multitude of toss cushions from Bouclair.com as well.


The final piece that really grounded the living room from the open concept kitchen was the rug which create a bit of separation for the two rooms. I love FLOR Tiles as you can mix and match them and if one gets dirty in this high traffic area they are easy to replace.  The carpet tiles are a great solution for any buys household.


 Until next time, 

w&c designer girl! 

Patio Time

Canadian summers are short, but that doesn't mean you can’t enjoy the months that you have. I took inspiration from a warmer climate, California, to transform a patio into an LA style getaway in the middle of Toronto. For those of you who are seeking inspiration to jazz up your small patio or balcony space, I have some fabulous design tips to help you get started.

Firstly, how do you want to use your space - lounging with friends, or dinner around a table with family? I opted for a living style hangout area, where I could sun on the sofa when I need to relax, but also have enough seating available for entertaining friends.


Always keep in mind sizing, especially in a small space. I choose to go with small profile L-shape sofa with lower backs so that I didn’t close in the space or make it seem cramped. I found this great outdoor sofa in greys and tans at Homesense so that my LA theme could truly come together.

I couldn’t forget the bar cart area a must for those summer parties. Again, Homesense is my go-to when stocking the prettiest of bar-carts

When dealing with a balcony in the city, privacy is always an issue. I created a modern free standing privacy fence with 1x6 wood bought at a Lowe’s. I installed the boards horizontal to save on wood but to also create that more urban modern look which is a continuation from the inside to the out. 

I added an umbrella, not to block the sun, but to block the view of the neighbours above me. Taking away that fish bowl feel and creating a relaxing room. 

Adding planters of different heights to any balcony helps to keep the space interesting. Choose low maintenance plants so you aren’t fussing with them all summer and the space always looks great. I ended up mixing faux and real greenery for easy care. If you have trouble keeping plants alive, switch to faux. If you have a green thumb, go real/living all the way, but if that’s not you, go faux. Great new faux options have all the beauty of living, offering a green, lush looking patio, without any of the work.

In small spaces try to stay away from adding to many different colours with plants and décor, keep it simple so that it is easy on the eyes giving the illusion of a larger area. I added a touch of pink for that punch in my indoor outdoor pillows designed by me joalcorn.ca and can be purchased on Etsy.ca and then found a cool sign for the back fence to really make the space POP! 

The final addition was a water fountain. Not just visually pleasing, the soft gurgling of the water gives the illusion of being near a lake and helps to drown out road traffic. It also happens to be a great conversation piece.

As you embrace the warmer months, get out and enjoy an extension of your home in the great outdoors. Let your creative juices flow as you create a perfect outdoor space for your entertaining or relaxing (or both!) needs. Happy Patio Season!

Until next time,

w&c designer girl!


Source guide: 

All furniture, rug, décor, faux plants, sign, bar cart, and accessories Home Sense homesense.ca 
Pillows, Jo Alcorn Indoor Outdoor Pillows joalcorn.ca collection on Esty.ca
Fence, fountain and real plants and planters, Lowes.ca 

Creating that Cottage Feel

Looking for ways to create a warm and inviting inside space that is inspired by the outside? Look no further! Jo shares her top tips on how to create a great indoor retreat for rainy spring days so you can still enjoy that outdoor feel.

There is nothing like adding a raw edge piece to a space to make it feel like you’ve brought a touch of nature inside. They are an investment worth the price tag.


It’s utterly easy to switch out your art to really update your space. If you are looking to add a little outdoor feel to your space, think about changing your artwork to something nature inspired.


On a dreary, rainy, spring day it is imperative you have a cozy comfortable spot to curl up on. I love the look a sectional gives a room.


When choosing lighting, there are so many wood inspired options. If you want to infuse wood into your décor, it’s an easy way to test out the trend.


. You can also consider a cool sofa table like this one made of drift wood from


- everything they have is truly original and nature inspired.

The easiest way to update your décor may just be with accessories. Add some wood pieces or décor accents. Accessories are where you can really have fun when trying out a new motif.


If you truly want to make a statement in your space and want to create a feature wall, I’d suggest starting with a single wall and trying a stone veneer. It’s easy to install and makes a huge impact in a small space.


I also love using throw cushions with animal prints on them to bring a light and airy feel to any space.


I love to add rugs to really tie a room together. Carpet tiles allow you to mix and match a pattern and shape to make your space comfy and cozy.


There is nothing like a cozy little nook on a rainy day to cuddle up in. Find a big comfy chair and some toss cushions and you are all set. These pillows are from my collection and can be found on



Let’s also not forget about our furry friends! They too need a great place to snuggle up on drizzly days!  On Etsy.ca


 Until next time,

w&c designer girl! 

Mother's Gift Guide

For everything mothers do, Mother’s Day is a perfect time to say thanks. But how to show your thanks can be a challenge. You probably want to get mom something special that she’ll treasure, something to pamper her, or something useful. Here are some gift suggestions I know my mom, and many mothers I know, would love to receive.

There is nothing like a creating art from a special photo to make mom happy on her special day. Posterjack is my go-to for turning my 

photos into art



This year consider an acrylic prints or blocks that are sure to wow! You can load up your own personal pictures or choose from their stock photos as well.


Your mom is one of a kind, so why not delight her with a one of a kind item from Artemano? From serving bowls to hanging lights, from nesting tables to tea cups, this is a store where you can choose a gift that is as unique and elegant as she is.


If your mom is anything like mine, she is probably hanging onto old serving dishes and trays. This year surprise her with something new that’s functional and also brightens up her table.


 I love the KitchenAid Nesting Ceramic 4-Piece Set in almond cream. There are so many classic and trendy colour options, you’re sure to find something Mom will love.  


Does your mom love to have gatherings over meals? Or enjoy entertaining outside? The PC home goods and dishware from Real Canadian Superstore for the spring are stunning! Available available at Real Canadian Superstores nationwide and select Loblaws.

When you’re not sure what to get mom, and just need to have inspiration hit, take a trip to Bouclair. They have so many cute and inspiring pieces to choose from. This year my favourite might just be their new mug’s just in time for Mother’s Day. 


Wicker Emporium is a great hidden gem for gift ideas for mom. Their stores offer gorgeous solid wood furniture and lovely home decor accessories. From vases and baskets to candles and linens this store promises to delight. 


Got a stylish mom on your list who seems to have it all? Pop into Sporting Life or order online. They have great trendy gift ideas from the stylish mom to the sporty mom you are sure to find something that suits yours.


I may be a bit biases here but I think adding a pop of colour in the form of a pillow is a great way to spice up any décor. My line of throw pillows

are is fully washable, including the cover and the filling; simply toss the entire pillow in the washing machine and it comes out looking and feeling like new. Jo Alcorn Collection available at


Or why not win her a stylish NEW HOME - visit


 to sign up!!

Tune in Sunday's at 10pm to watch the episodes on HGTV!

Until next time,

w&c designer girl!  



Tune in


for the Premiere

Are You Ready To Compete to Win?

We're casting three eager competitors to appear on

Home to Win

. The winner will walk away with a key to a gorgeous home, renovated and designed by 20 HGTV Canada stars.

Get the details


Home To Win

is a new powerhouse reality series on HGTV Canada that offers Canadian viewers the opportunity to compete for the biggest prize in the history of HGTV Canada – a gorgeous, fully-furnished home!

For the first time ever, 20 of our best-known HGTV Canada builders and designers will gather under one roof, bringing their extraordinary expertise, creativity and reno know-how to this massive project. Together they will completely transform a ho-hum house into a magnificent masterpiece! Home-winning hopefuls from across the country will vie to compete for this spectacular house in the dramatic series finale.


It is going to be a crazy ride:

Follow my social sites each segment for more behind scene/updates of the show!!

Until then,


Give Your Space a Hotel-Worthy Makeover

Watch Segment Online: http://www.marilyn.ca/HomeDecor/segments/Daily/Feb2016/02_18_2016/HotelDesignInspiration

#CTV-FeaturedVideoRotator { display: none; }

How to apply inspiration from restaurants and hotels to your space.

Products Featured

Wallpaper supplied by Lowe’s Canada

Walls Republic R3707 Contemporary Faux Wood Nature Tree Stump Firewood Wallpaper$115.00

From Elte:

Cecily End Table $995

Yates chair $2,895

Hemisphere cocktail table $1,295


From EQ3:

Klere Bookcase $899.00

Abra Floor Lamp $229.99

Accessories provided by HomeSense Canada:

Faux Fiddle Tree: $149.99

Black and White Chevron Throws: $39.99 each

 Decorative Ceramic Vases starting at $19.99

 Faux Succulents starting at $9.99

 100% Cotton 5'x7' Rugs: $129.99 each

 Decorative Cushions starting at$24.99

 Coffee Table Books starting at $24.99

Until next time,

w&c designer girl!

Tiny Bathroom Challenges & Solutions

The two rooms I am asked to work on time and time again are kitchens and bathrooms.

Bathrooms in older homes and some builder homes are often tiny and poorly laid out.

In a small space, I tend to lean towards lighter colours to help open up the space. I often choose


to freshen it up and make it as light as possible.

I also recommend sticking to primarily white accessories and some funky accent pieces in blues and greys to accent the space;


is a great source for fresh, light and affordable accessories and linens.

I love maximizing space by choosing a vanity that has storage, especially if it’s a guest bathroom or main bathroom where you might want to tuck things out of sight. This vanity in a shade called Morning Dew is from


and can be found at Lowe’s (I love that you can get it at a big box store but it really has a boutique feel).

The faucet is really the jewel of any bathroom that finishes off the space just right. This is a perfect place to splurge. I love


 options for a sleek and modern option that commands attention.

Heated floors are a luxury I like to add to any rooms with tile or engineered hardwood. It’s economical in a small bathroom and can act as your primary source of heat. In this setting I used


 mats which are standard and delivered in no time.

Finally, a product I have been in love with lately: plank flooring. I recently used


planks in style called Tivoli. While modern, it’s also warm and homey. It’s easy to maintain, durable and attractive option for any space, and ideal for this one. With the warmth radiating from this flooring, it will warm more than just your feet!

Small spaces can be a challenge, but when you work from a healthy base, even the smallest of spaces can become a functional and elegant area you are happy to spend time in. Go on, glam up your small space!

Until next time,

w&c designer girl!

Tips to Brighten your mood and keep you warm and cozy this Winter

With the dark days (and nights) of winter upon us, it’s hard to stay upbeat and not want to curl up in a ball and hibernate until Spring. Fortunately, I have some tips to help get you out of that winter funk, embrace our cold and dark climate, and stay warm at the same time.


– You’d be surprised by the impact colour can have on your mood. Add colour into your space with your pillows and accessories – my Jo Alcorn dog beds and pillows have great colours to choose from


. A great trick I use is to fill a mirrored tray with white or bright accessories – this is an easy way to create a nice centerpiece that can be changed with the seasons.

Another easy

winter DIY is to spice up your bland and outdated accessories; sometimes all is takes is a can of spray paint and some bright colours to really add punch to a space. I have used Krylon to spray bathroom drawer pulls, vases and even kids accessories that need new life, and new colour!


Cozy Corner

– Honestly, there is nothing I love doing more than curling up in front of a fire with a glass of wine and a good book on a cold winter’s night. Create a corner in your home that you can use as your chill-zone (without the chill that is!). If you’ve been thinking of installing a fireplace in your space and have access to natural gas, I love the look and feel the KozyHeat Birchwood unit (the price point is also one of the best on the market)


. If

you are in a condo, or don't have access to natural gas, there are great electric options out there (I even have one in my own home). Dimplex has a huge assortment of units that have such realistic flames people often mistake it for a gas unit. These units are great for condos, small spaces and also make a great addition to a feature wall. This year they have launched a new Prism Series that is perfect for small spaces




– I love the look and feel of natural fibers inside the home. My go to for anything nature inspired is Artemano. They are a Canadian company that makes great one-of a kind pieces that are nature inspired. Grab a couple of comfy chairs or stools made from tree trunks, light some candles, and settle in with a good book.


Window Wonderland

– If your house is drafty, that should be the first order of business in the winter. Fix the gaps or even consider new windows and doors. Did you know that in the winter months some window companies will offer you a discount since it’s not their busy season? Total Home Window and Doors is a great Canadian company that can turn windows and doors around for your home sometimes in as little as two weeks.


Mood Lifters

If you really can’t snap out of your winter funk, a few additional things I do is to ensure I get outside each day with my dogs for a brisk walk (even that little bit of sunshine and fresh air helps). I also love anything natural that helps boost my energy and mood so I always have my kettle handy (I love Kitchen Aid’s blue stovetop kettle)



a selection of herbal teas or Neurapas Balance, which is a combo of St. John’s wort, valerian root and passionflower, to perk me up.

Finally, I love fresh flowers and think everyone should have them in their home year-round.


Get Floored this Winter

– A cozy rug is a great way to create a warm and inviting space (and keeps your feet toasty in cooler months). Flor carpet tiles are a great way to add colour to your space and, since they are tiles, it’s easy to mix and match so in different seasons you can change up the pattern.


Use a few, or all, of these tips and suggestions to brighten your mood this winter. Wishing you warm and cozy days!

Until next time,

w&c design girl!

The Trends of 2016

– and How to Bring Them Home:

With the ringing in of a New Year I always find it a great time to update your décor and add in some new trends, colours, textures and accessories to update your look for the coming year. Here are my top six trends for 2016.

Mixed Metals

Platinum, gold, copper, steel…as long as they've got a metallic sheen, they go together. It's bling like you've never seen before in 2016. One simple and stand out way to make a statement in your kitchen or bathroom is by changing your faucet. I love the diversity that Delta www.deltafaucet.ca/

provides; their Vero Collection will make a huge impact in your décor this year.

Artemano www.artemano.ca/

Also has great choices when it comes to mixed metals that will truly make a statement in your home; add some of their one-of-a-kind pieces to really make an impact.

Pastel Colours – 


hints of pastel will infuse a room with energy! Whether it’s from your accessories or the walls themselves, there are so many ways to bring a new colour into your home. If you are nervous about pastels, incorporate the trend methodically with some accent pieces to get you started. Decorium




 has some great pastels in their line up – try an area rug or pillow to see if you like the colour and you can add more as you desire. I also love trying out a new colour in my artwork. I love using Poster Jack




which is an online service where you

pick the art you want to use (or you can use your own photos or choose from their photography), pick the frames, colour and they ship it all to your door. Changing your art to match the trends can be a very cost effective approach, while changing up your look completely.

White Delight –

Clean, crisp, fresh white walls, white accessories, white furniture, you name it! White is going to make a name for itself this year!  You can’t go wrong with Benjamin Moore’s Simply White to freshen up your space or dated pieces of furniture. Another great way to add white to your home is to use a white bathroom vanity. Cutler Kitchen and Bath




 (a great Canadian company) is introducing a high gloss white floating vanity in 2016 available through big box stores as part of their boutique collection.

Gloss white is easy to keep clean too!

Shop locally -

Local and Canadian made products will be buzz words for 2016 and shoppers will love to brag about supporting the trend too. My Jo Alcorn Collection of pillows and sofas are all designed and made in Canada











. Low carbon footprint is an important trend to support. 

Greens –


not just found in the kitchen this year! In 2016, greens will be scattered throughout the house; available in large, medium and small options, you can choose whatever fits your home decor! If you are like me and can’t keep a plant alive to save your life, try some faux options; Bouclair has so many to choose from, and they add a nice hint of green to your décor.




Go Vertical

– A great way to make a statement with your walls in 2016 is with wall decals. They are easy to install and make a huge impact. A great online resource for ideas and www.uwdecals.com they have patterns to suit all styles and are super easy to install.


Wishing everyone a stylish and prosperous 2016!

The perfect Holiday Gift Guide!

I often get asked what my go-to holiday gift ideas are. Not all my gifts are decor pieces. It’s often function that I look for in holiday gifts.

Here are my top gift ideas this year that will fit nicely into any décor, and of course, are functional.

1. Stocking Stuffer with a Purpose

– I love it when companies tie in a charity. Bouclair recently launched a campaign with Starlight Foundation where all proceeds from the purchase of their Nutcracker Oscar goes to the foundation – a great stocking stuffer, table place card or center piece at only $2.00.


2. For your Pooch

– So many people have dogs these days, and if you are a dog owner yourself you know that there is often a stocking and many presents under the tree for your hound. My new dog bed collection is

reversible and fully washable – not just the cover, the entire bed. I’ve also created throw cushions to match your dog bed. Now your puppy can rest and relax in style. Available at shop.ca

3. Baby, it’s Cold Outside

– I am in love with the luxuriously soft comfort of the Sunbeam new heated throw. Its deep colour and soft royal mink plush fabric (faux of course) make it the perfect gift for cold winter nights. It also has a great safety feature: it turns off in three hours so even if you doze off in its comfort, it will automatically turn off. Available at Walmart.


Healthy Holidays

– You may not know this about me but I am very health conscious. I love anything to do with organic and healthy eating. As the New Year approaches I’m sure you’ll hear of many people who want to get healthy for their resolution – why not help them this year? Panasonic has a great new slow juicer that features a superior slow squeezing system that protects nutrients for maximum juicing results. On top of that, its sleek and compact design will add elegance to any kitchen countertop.


5.Cooking in Style  – 

I have been in love with copper cookware forever. It’s a great gift if you want to pamper yourself or if you really want to go above and beyond for that special someone on your list. As a bonus not only does it look pretty, it has the durability of stainless steel and is the only induction-capable set.


6. The Gift of Hope

– Like many people I know, I love to give back. During the holidays, if that someone on your list already has everything they want or need, why not give them something that will help someone else? Plan Canada has so many great options from colourful eco friendly necklaces, to clean water for families, to helping to send a girl to school. I am a huge animal advocate so I love the idea of gifting a goat to help impact a family’s health and income. These are truly meaningful and heart warming gifts to give and receive.



Holiday Mix-ologist

 - A blender is a great addition to your holiday bar. Set up the fixings, print your favourite drink recipes and play bartender for the night. Your guests will love this! I love the look of the new KitchenAid Torrent Blender. The unique front-loading design is so stylish I’d even recommend you keep it on your counter year round as an accent piece.  



.  Tick Tock –

I love the esthetic and functionality of the Phillips Wake-up Light. It fits nicely onto a bedroom side table and it also looks great. It doubles as a nighttime light and instead of waking up to a blaring alarm, it wakes you up gently by gradually increasing the light in your room (like a natural sunrise), which helps people to wake up in a more pleasant state of mind. This year, help someone start the New Year off right each morning. 


9. Holiday Hardware

– I OFTEN find myself in a hardware store throughout the month of December, as I’m sure do many others who might be trying to spice up their space before company arrives. So make your time count and double duty your trip. On a recent trip to RONA

home and garden I discovered they have some great gift ideas and amazing holiday décor. I fell in love with their winter wonderland collection which is all white.



Nature Inspiration

– I adore any décor items that also relate back to nature. Artemano has some great and unique ideas that are truly one-of-a-kind pieces. I really enjoy popping into their store and finding something that speaks to me and the person I am buying it for. On my last trip I fell in love with their glass bowl teak root candle holders which fit nicely into one of their unique trays – making the perfect hostess gift.


With items this great, you can wrap up your holiday shopping easily. Just remember to write your own name on the list – and treat yourself to the items you most desire too!

Have a wonderful holiday, and a Happy New Year!

Until next time w&c girl!

Creating a sleep retreat

With colder months upon us, the time change, and days getting shorter and shorter, it’s imperative to get the sleep your body (and mind) needs. We sleep a third of our days away (or we should!) so your bedroom ought to be a sanctuary that induces sleep the moment you step into it.

Here are my top five tips on creating a sleep retreat and routine that really works for me.

Backbone of Your Bedroom

The bed is the masterpiece of the room. So not only should it look great, it should also be beyond comfortable. When choosing a bed, personal preference is key. Do you want it firm, soft, what size fits the room and so on. I tend to go to a store that specializes in just beds when making this large purchase. Sleep Country was amazing at taking me through exactly what I needed and helping me choose just the right bed. I also find a headboard is such a great addition to any room. It can act as a décor piece as well – this is one I recently launched in my Jo Alcorn Furniture collection available at shop.ca

Pillow Talk


your physical space is uncomfortable then it’s going to be even

harder to hit the hay. Invest in a good quality pillow to rest your precious head down on at night. I recently launched my own pillow line that is lush, 100% cruelty free, clean of chemicals and fully washable plus Canadian made (also

available at shop.ca)

Flower Power

– There is nothing like fresh flowers in your bedroom to help set the mood. When I found out there was a flower out there that could actually help me sleep all I could think was ‘double duty!’ … but this kind of flower is not something you display. It’s a natural supplement I heard of years ago that helps to calm my running brain at night; I literally used to hit the hay and start designing rooms in my sleep. Passionflower is a natural supplement that helps calm my busy brain so I can get a good night’s sleep and be rested and alert for my clients in the morning. (Pascoflair has truly been my nighttime life saver



Curtain Conundrum

– I love light in my bedroom! I like waking up to the sun streaming into my bedroom but after recently speaking with Holistic Nutritionist

Jenn Pike

(www.jennpike.com) who gave me some tips on sleep, I am re-thinking the light situation in my bedroom. One of the most important things she told me was that any amount of light that comes into my bedroom will impede my sleep routine. She said if you were to invest in one thing for your bedroom, it should be black-out blinds or an eye mask. You can pick up black-out blinds or curtains relatively inexpensively from

Bouclair Home

. If you are on a tighter budget, you can use an eye mask – my new personal favourite is a

Blinks Ultralight Sleep Mask

that I picked up from Bed Bath and Beyond.

Temperature Tantrum –

Your bedroom should be the ideal temperature for you to sleep soundly; not too hot and not too cold. I love the feel of a rug on the floor when I hop out of bed, instead of my feet hitting a cool floor. For my space I chose a gorgeous rug from mirens.com.

I also like tend to cuddle up and read in bed to wind down and hate getting into a freezing cold space.


 have a great Sunbeam heated blanket that I turn on while I get ready for bed that heats up my bedding to the perfect temperature. Available at a number of retailers including

Home Outfitters.

Bedroom “pet” peeve

– At a recent sleep event I also learned that the number one thing that keeps you up at night is…your pet! I love my fur-babies but now know if I am truly going to get the sleep I need they are going to have to get the boot from the bedroom. Creating their own sleep retreat in a safe and cozy area, with a great bed will ensure you (and they) get their zzz’s.

Follow these simple steps and tips to enjoy the best sleep of your life. After all, not only do you need sleep, you deserve a peaceful night’s rest. I wish you all sweet dreams, in a great bedroom. Goodnight!