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.

The fifth wall

Dear Debbie;

Is it worth the trouble to paint a ceiling? My partner thinks it will look great and I am afraid it will pull the ceiling lower. Help.
— Franklin

Dear Franklin;

For those who find decorating a challenge, it’s only fair to let ceilings be white, no discussion required,


Go with the flow

Whether you are decorating one room or have decided to do an all-out renewal, it’s important to have an eye for how your choices flow and blend from one room to the next. There are so many ways to paint a room. Do you accent the woodwork, what about the doors, can you put more than one colour on the walls,


Get in the swing

Dear Debbie;

I can’t seem to get the right light for our family room. When we are playing table games, I’m always dragging a lamp around so we can all see the cards. It’s not a big room and there is no ceiling light.
— Bonita

Dear Bonita;

This is a good question.


Frame your windows

Most every room in your home has a window, often more. Wonderful for letting in natural light. Perfect if you have a lovely view to behold. Do they really need to be covered with curtains or other window treatments? When privacy is a factor, then the answer is obvious. But there is so much more to the story. Windows are a focal point and so let’s take a look at how you can make the most of this important element.


Capturing fall

Dear Debbie;

Have you any tips for adding a bit of the glorious fall to our home without going over the top. It’s a short season, but we love the colours. Thanks for your inspiration.
— Daniel

Dear Daniel;

Each season of the year introduces us to a different mood. Nature’s abundant array of crops and colour transformations lead the way and inspire a change in decorating palettes and displays.


Mirror images

Mirrors play a powerful role in interior design. Their practicality for checking out how you look may be the most familiar benefit. Hard to imagine applying makeup and fixing up bedhead without the bathroom mirror. That dressing room mirror reveals how successful you are with your colour choices and accent pieces. Your reflection reveals how others see you. And that reflective quality is what makes mirrors so brilliant.


Painterly visions

Dear Debbie;

Are soft pink and blue just for kids’ rooms? I am painting my kitchen wall and like the feeling of pink to go with my dark blue cabinets, but are these baby colours? I’m not sure how to proceed.
— Veronica

Dear Veronica;

Pink is a marvelous colour with shades that range from the softest pink hue to the vibrancy of corals and candies.


Superbly accessible

Second to the kitchen, the bathroom is the busiest room in the house. With daily demands and tight schedules, it is important to have it organized to optimize space and utility. If you are renovating a bathroom, research what’s new and designed to make your life easier before you start. Quality products and the best choices for your lifestyle will vastly improve your mood each morning and evening.


Line it up

Dear Debbie;

I am a fan of stripes as becomes obvious if anyone looks in my closet. Wearing them is one thing, but is it too much to decorate a wall when the space is quite small?
— Cynthia

Dear Cynthia;

It’s a great idea to indulge in your passion for stripes as a decorative element in your home.


Kids underfoot

Dear Debbie;

Would you recommend painting a nursery floor? We like the idea of adding some fun colour/s but don’t want an area rug. A bare floor is easy to crawl and play on. There is a builder’s laminate floor in the room now that is warn and has some (ink) stains.
— Martha

Dear Martha;