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Four Tricks For An Easy & Affordable Room Update

We all know the feeling- you walk into a room and it's...just a room. There's nothing overly great or overly terrible about it, it's simply a space that you spend time in. But that's not the way it's meant to be! The rooms we spend time in should help you get into the zone, to tap into whatever you need while you're there.

nice looking office type room

Before and after our Home Office Refresh using just the four simple steps.

Your home showcases who you are and what you love, and each room serves a purpose. What a disservice we are doing to ourselves and our homes when we don't bring out a space's full potential and purpose.

There are simple, cost effective ways that help create the perfect space to get you from the feelings of "this is just a room" to being a space that you love to spend time in, a space that you gives you all of those good vibes, and to create a space that is completely you.

Think : Do you want your space to be calm & serene, or creative & inspiring, or comfortable & relaxed, or colorful & energizing...what emotions do you want to feel when you walk into the room?

The great news is that if you don't have the time, funds or interest to do a full renovation, there are four quick, simple and cost-effective ways that anyone can do to transform any room in your home!

Here are my top four tips to easily update your space.

Walls alive!

The biggest impact you can make in any room is create a feature wall. Using paint is a good option, but the biggest impact can be made using a simple (and stunning!) wallpaper! There is the standard glue-one type of wallpaper, or there is the super-simple, commitment-phobia-friendly peel & stick type of wallpaper. Painting a feature wall is a good idea, but to make the biggest impact and transformation, and to add style, wallpaper is what will take you there! With the endless style options available, you can go bold, traditional, or keep it subtle- but know that whatever you choose, it will truly take your room to the next level.

As you think about the style of wallpaper that you want, use both your personal style and the purpose of the space be your guide. Going back to what I said above, how do you want the room to make you feel when you are in it? Calm, inspired, creative, energetic, relaxed... Both the feel and the purpose of the room will help you select the style & pattern of wallpaper.

There are three elements to consider when shopping for wallpaper :

- Quality : You want the wallpaper you put up to stay up! You also don't want something to fall apart (no flimsy, cheap materials- that will cause way more issues & frustration!)

- Styles : Look for a variety of style options to choose from to help ensure you find the perfect fit!

- Colors : The colors you choose are important! They not only affect the mood of a room, but they can also change depending on the time of day and what else you have in the room. Look for a company that provides a lot of color options.

My wallpaper experience...

Now, my husband is a residential painter, so he has mild PTSD from taking down wallpaper that's been up since the 90's. He always prefers to paint a wall, but I wanted to make a greater impact, so the peel & stick type of wallpaper was an easy sell because he knew it would be simple to put up...and take down (win!!).

I found everything I wanted at Canadian company (major bonus!!), Timberlea Interiors. They have so many different styles of wallpaper that I loved (even my boys were watching over my shoulder as I looked around the site and found some that they liked too!), there's about 70 different color choices (plus I could order a sample to see the exact color in my home before committing to the whole order), and they offer all of their styles in the standard or peel & stick wallpaper application.

website screenshot timberlea interiors

Let me say again, we are not wallpaper installers- we have no idea what we were doing! I was nervous about the whole process, from ordering the perfect color, getting the measurements right, to installing it correctly. Thankfully, Timberlea Interiors has so much information on their website, and I also referred to their social media for more videos...and just to put my mind at ease, I also emailed their customer care team to triple check my measurements. I was beyond impressed at how helpful they were in answering my questions, helping me ensure I ordered the right amount, giving me further tips, and being incredibly kind the whole way through. This is the type of company that I love and that I want to support- the kind of company that I can confidently stand behind and recommend to my family and friends. I ultimately went with the Zen Pattern in the Fog color, and couldn't be happier!

Now for the install... When the wallpaper arrived, the first thing I noticed was how thick the paper was- you can tell that the vinyl peel and stick wallpaper is quality! I have to say, thanks to their easy instructions, prepping the walls was quick and easy and the install was the same! (We had a small hiccup around the door, but it was an easy recovery!) From the start of the prep to the finishing details, it took approximately 5 hours (which included an hour to allow the walls to dry after cleaning them, and a lunch break). If the wall was just a straight-forward wall (no door or desk to cut around) it would have been significantly quicker!

Alayne Joy being happy

The end result was incredible and the transformation that the Timberlea Interiors wallpaper provided cannot be matched! The style, colors and quality truly accomplish what I wanted for my home office- inspiring, calm and unique. If you're considering wallpaper, either traditional application or peel and stick, check out Timberlea Interiors- like I said, they are a company that I can confidently recommend to my family and friends and you won't be disappointed!


The furniture you select for a room is like the bones of a space- it gives purpose, strength and comfort. Whether you want to do a full revamp and get all new furnishings, or you want to keep the budget low and invest in one or two items, you can truly change a space with what you put in it.

When considering what to get, there are some key things to keep in mind :

- Invest the time! Look online to really narrow down the styles that you love, then spend time in-store to get a real feel for what you want. For example, if it's seating- do you like high back or low back? Soft and cushy, or firm and supportive? If it's a desk, do you want drawers? How many? Do you like a traditional wood, or more modern style with mixed materials? What size do you want?

- Consider the use : will the item be used daily, once a week, or rarely. For items that are used regularly, go for quality! You don't want to get a poorly constructed item only to have it fall apart in 6-12 months. Good furniture costs more, but it's worth it to get the best quality within your budget that will last for years!

Look for real wood construction. Check out the seams (if made with fabric)- if you gently apply pressure, can you see the seams splitting? Are the legs (or other parts) solid or wobbly? Do the drawers slide nicely?

- Select colors or textiles that coordinate with your walls. Whether you are repainting, going with a wallpaper, or keeping the walls are they are, make sure that the colors are complimentary. And don't be afraid of bold color, pattern, or texture!

- Be realistic! Think about who will be using the item (is it for you, a spouse, the kids), what will it be used for, and what will the item need to withstand. For example, if looking for a sofa, do you have kids or pets that might cause greater wear & tear? Will there be any food or drinks consumed on the sofa? How many people does it need to seat? ...all of these things will help you determine the material, the color, the size, and the style of the item.

My experience...

Years ago in our first mini update of the home office, we decided to design and build a large wrap-around desk that provided space to work on the computer, plus a spot where I could design jewelry & pack orders, and it also became a space that the kids could use while I worked.

Fast forward to now, we were in desperate need of a new desk chair. The one we had was a hand-me-down from my dad- it was big, black, leather, and super comfortable, but it was old and falling apart and was just so gigantic for the room.

I took a lot of time to determine exactly what I wanted in a chair : I wanted it to blend in and suit the space. Because I spend so much time working, it needed to be supportive and high-quality (high back, quality foam seat, and solid materials). The office is often cold and our old chair was leather which was always cold to the touch, so I wanted a fabric that would be warm and soft. I also knew that I wanted it to swivel and have rollers.

That may seem like a lengthy, specific list just for a chair, but it's important to know what's important to you so that you feel secure when you invest in furniture. The more specific you are with what you want, the better your chances are of finding something that is absolutely perfect!

website screenshot affordable room updates

I found my perfect chair at one of my favorite local furniture shops, Country Living Furnishings. Over 10 years ago we found our amazing sectional sofa at CLF and there isn't a single item in our house that we're happier with (and we still get comments on it when people comet o visit). I know that when I want quality furniture that will last for years, both in how it's made and in style, I can always find it at Country Living Furnishings here in Calgary.

First I looked at their website to see what they had (even though I knew that they have more in-store than on their website), and I saw one style that I loved and needed to see in person. I have to say, when I saw this chair in the gorgeous Country Living showroom, I knew it was perfect- clean lines, classic style, high back, solid construction... But when I sat down on it, it was a done deal! While it came in a few material & color options, I went with a grey/taupe material that blends perfectly with the wallpaper I selected, the Oak wood arms added warmth, and the chrome base worked perfectly with the desk.

If there were ever a love story written about a girl and an office chair, this would be it! Thankfully I knew where to look, and Country Living Furnishings delivers every time!


Often overlooked, yet capable of making a big impact, lighting brings warmth, style and function to every room. Whether you swap out an old ceiling light or add a lamp, this is one quick and easy way to add more style and interest to your space. With the endless options of styles, finishes, and bulbs, you can truly create something unique that lends to the overall feel of your room.

Look both online and at your local lighting stores to find exactly what you want, but keep in mind that lighting costs are all over the place, so shop around to find your perfect style that's within your budget! It doesn't have to cost a lot to get lighting that makes an impact!

My experience...

To my absolute shock, replacing the original ceiling light was my husband's idea, and it was a great one! We found this sputnik style semi flush-mount light at Wayfair. I did scour some local stores in our area, but didn't find anything that interested me, and Wayfair has endless options (make sure you utilize their filters to narrow down what you see) at a variety of price points. I wanted something that was interesting and modern but still had a classic feel, and didn't cost a lot. It couldn't hang too low, it needed to have at least 3 bulbs, and I wanted it to be compatible with a dimmer. This one fit the bill and it's crazy how much it changes the room!


This is the element that brings in your personal style and experiences, it completes & polishes off a room, and really gives it character. Incorporate pieces from your own life (photos, artwork, artifacts collected on your travels, items with sentimental meaning...) and you can even look at purchasing a few new items to really complete the look. Think of the decor in a room like you would think of the accessories to your outfit- some items serve a function, and some are just to look good, but either way, it's what brings style and what makes a room look complete.

Decor includes things like photos, artwork, pretty & functional storage, textiles (blankets, pillows, etc), candles, vases, plants, personal treasures...etc.

Don't be afraid to incorporate color, texture, details and a bit of whimsy with your decor. It should all work with the overall vibe and function of the space, but also speak to who you are. For example, if you are creating a space that is meant to be relaxing and calm, maybe your old disco ball and strobe light would be better somewhere else. Or if you want to create a space that is inspiring, bring in photos of places that you feel inspired, or artwork & decor that brings out your creative side.

My expereince...

The first thing I needed was a cozy blanket, both for warmth and to bring in some texture. (I am all about blankets!) I found one at a great price at the Bay, but you can really find a great blanket at a number of stores! Some of my favorite blankets in other rooms are from Watermark and Kozyhaus.

I'm a big fan of mirrors because they reflect light to make a space feel brighter, so I found a perfect round mirror at Ikea in a warm wood tone that coordinated with the office chair- the mirror went on the wallpaper wall and coordinated perfectly both in design and tone.

I love using artwork and photos in any space and decided to use two pieces of artwork from local artists that I previously had, and also incorporated a photo of the ocean (I love water) that I found on a free photography website. When looking for photos to use, consider the colors, the mood of the room, and things that you love to help you select the perfect one. You can look at websites like Pexels, Unsplash, or Pixabay to download stunning photography that suits you and your space (plus some websites allow you to donate to the artist to thank them and support their work). If you love artwork, some of my favorite artists are Amy Webber (the stunning Rose painting) and Sophia Dorozio (the beautiful watercolor), and Little w Studio makes the most incredible laser cut wood signs & decor around!

pictures and shelves on a white wall

While I'm not big on "stuff" and don't collect a lot of things, I do love books and there are some things that I have from travelling, or sentimental pieces that I love, and I used all of these items to make the space comfortable, personal, and inspiring.

Being that this is my office, there are also things that I need regular access to, and I bought inexpensive boxes from Ikea and some glass boxes from Home Sense that look nice sitting on the desk but also serve a purpose.

The last thing I like to incorporate is plants- both dead and alive (hah). I love purchasing dried arrangements from my favorite local florist, Black Earth Floral - they add a nice texture and element to the room. I also love green, and plants really do bring life and colour to any room. An easy, low-maintenance plant is up my ally- snake plants, succulents, cactus...that's my jam! I got this cute little guy and the pot from Golden Acre Home & Garden Centre, here in Calgary.

nice office with white walls and white desk

Whether you want to update your home office, bedroom, living room, or any other space, you can do so quickly, easily and on budget, when you incorporate these 4 elements : create a feature wall, update a piece of furniture, get new lighting, and bring in fresh, meaningful decor.
Remember to take time to think about how you want to feel when you're in the space, and let that guide you in the decisions you make!

Happy updating!



It's not all about my love for fashion and passion for helping men & women feel their best. From my family, to love for creating a home that everyone feels comfortable in, and the pull to always be near the water (which is tough when you live in the prairies)...



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