Debbie & Design

Read about Debbie’s exciting discoveries — today’s stylemakers, iconic products for the home, and irresistible decorating tips and trends. Debbie gathers news of great design from around the world and shows you how easy it is to bring your favourite looks home.

House to Home appears weekly in newspapers across North America. Produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle, the column is syndicated by Torstar in Canada and King Features/Hearst in the United States.

Coral relief

If you have ever wondered how so many industries from fashion to paint and wallpaper, interior fabrics and accessories appear to have similar shifts in annual colour trends, look to Pantone Inc. This company standardizes colours offering a numbered colour matching system so that any manufacturer can dial in, identify and match colours that will be popular globally. Pantone’s colour for the year 2019 is Living Coral,


Your perfect workspace

Dear Debbie;

When is working at home a bad idea? I find it a real struggle to put aside home tasks and unrelated phone calls and get down to concentrating on my paying job as an accountant. Should I rent office space?
— Anna

Dear Anna;

For many people working at home solves a myriad of challenges including time lost travelling and food expenses.


Move ahead with flair

As we turn the calendar page to a new year, I have a habit of dreaming about what will come next. I am a planner and love to embark on new projects that have captured my imagination. Inspiration is everywhere, it seems to tease me … what about this, but oh look at that. How I determine what path to follow is never totally clear,


Bedtime stories

Dear Debbie;

I’d like to use a floral wallpaper in our bedroom, but I’m concerned that it’s too pretty for my husband. Also, does a printed wallpaper limit what and how you display pictures? What would you suggest? Thanks
— Diedre

Dear Dierdre;

This is a great question. A beautiful riot of flowers makes a stunning choice for a bedroom,


Set for the holidays

It’s that time of year when permission is granted to pull out all the stops. Even the most minimalist among us are tempted to add some sparkle and light and seasonal trimmings. Whether you are planning for a large holiday feast day or prefer more intimate get-togethers, free up your imagination and make the most of this joyous time of year.


Lighthearted kitchens

Dear Debbie;

Our kitchen is desperate for a reno, but our budget is limited. Lots of action with a young family. We replaced the fridge and stove with white ones. I want a bright happy space. Where would you start?
— Eva

Dear Eva;

As is my mantra, paint is the most economical renovation tool there is.


Doors galore

We are surrounded by doors, doors that lead us outside to meet the day, doors that welcome us home at night. Doors separate the known from the unknown, the private from the public. What lies beyond is a mystery; even if we open that door every day the landscape and actions on the other side could change. Nick Rowell, author of DOOR J’ADORE,


Paint up a present

Dear Debbie;

Any ideas for Christmas crafty projects with the kids. I like to get them into the spirit of making or personalizing gifts.
— Frannie

Dear Frannie;

Children love projects, especially when working and playing along with mom or dad. It’s a wonderful way to share time with your kids and the results may surprise you … did you know they were that artistic?


Blue and white

Over the years producing my TV shows and decorating my own homes it’s safe to say that I’ve played with the entire colour spectrum. I painted towering two-storey walls in pistachio, a dated and boring kitchen was revived with bright orange cabinets, lavender and purple ruled for a teen’s room, garden greens made a welcome kitchen and pantry, a Victorian dining room glowed in red paint and paper … on it went and on it still goes.


Light it up

Dear Debbie;

I’m helping a friend redecorate her teen’s bedroom as a surprise birthday present. It’s a small attic room, which her daughter wants to have “individuality” – her word. Ideas please and thank you.
— Bernice

Dear Bernice;

It doesn’t take much to charge up a small space. But this is a brave move as surprising a teen can backfire if you try to guess what colour’s they prefer.