diy: coffee filter flower garland

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Our Dinner x Design table scape received countless questions about the hanging rose petal garden installation we created above the table. So much so, we decided to prepare a step by step DIY guide. We dyed 600 coffee filters and used roughly 500 in our installation. The outcome was incredibly dramatic, more so than we anticipated, and we too were quite smitten with the result. We hope you find this tutorial useful should you decide to channel your inner creative and take on the simple yet dramatic task of dying this ever so popular household item.  NYLAFREEDESIGNS_DXD2015_FINAL 003 Image credit: Phil Crozier

step one

you will need:
• food colouring, a minimum of two packages (we used clubhouse brand from superstore, blue, red, yellow and their unique purple from the neon collection) buy enough to manipulate the colour, the more food colouring the higher the saturation of colour
• gloves (as fitted as possible)
• water
• large coffee cup or tupperware container
• pitcher of water on hand, in order to dilute colour as needed
• coffee filters (we used superstore no name brand no. 2,  they are smaller in scale and create a realistic feel)
• 2-3 garbage bags. place over the surface you are using to dye the coffee filters, you will also need this space to allow them to dry
*finally, wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty, the food colouring will stain coffee filter diy step 1 step two
• while wearing gloves, begin by adding food colouring to the water. dip coffee filter into liquid mix to test the colour. this will enable you to find the right balance in colour ratio. we used roughly:
5 parts red
3 parts neon purple
2 parts blue
1 part yellow.
• use artistic licence when testing the colours, they don’t all have to be perfect!
• variation in colour creates visual interest. also, remember the coffee filters will always dry to a lighter colour, therefore don’t be afraid to use a lot of food colouring. coffee filter diy step 2
• once you are satisfied with the colour, begin by dying 5-10 coffee filters at a time, dipping them into the coloured water. once all of the filters are saturated, lift out of the liquid and drain the excess by pressing them with your hands. set filters aside. step3 step four
• the dye mixture will slowly deplete after each 5-10 filters have been saturated. depending on the number of coffee filters you wish to make, dilute the food colouring solution, which will alter the colour, lightening each batch to create a natural ombre effect. step4 step five
• once you have used all the coffee filters or have simply run out of food colouring mix, open up the filters and prop them up like tents on the garbage bags. this allows them to dry in a open position creating a flower-like effect. allow a minimum of 4 hours for filters to completely dry. coffee filter diy step 5 step six
• when the coffee filters are completely dry it’s time for the stringing process. you will need
-fishing line (we used 20lb)
-safety pin or paper clip coffee filter diy Step 6 step seven
• depending on desired length, take 8-10 coffee filters choosing ones that vary in colour saturation and hue. line them up on the table, arranging them in the preferred order. coffee filter diy step 7 step eight
• begin by taking your safety pin or paper clip and poking a small hole at the peak/highest point of the coffee filter. take a piece of fishing line approx. 4-5 ft. long and tie a knot at the end. thread the fishing line through the coffee filter so the opening faces downward. coffee filter diy step 8 step nine
• irregularly place the coffee filters along fishing line, becoming more concentrated at the top. this gives more volume as well as creates an organic feel. coffee filter diy step 9 Repeat until desired number of garlands has been reached. Now sit back and admire your hard work and creative genius. Well done!  coffee filter diy final

Thank you to Adrienne who put this DIY together, photographing and note taking along the way. Adrienne also dyed all 600 coffee filters for our Dinner x Design installation and as mentioned they were the pièce de résistance.




how to layer carpets

One of my favourite ways to add texture and interest to a room is to layer area carpets. It’s an unexpected addition and one that seems to surprise most as I learned on the set of Breakfast Television. Here are a few great tips:

1. Start big: Fill your room with the largest possible base layer.

2. Go flat: The bottom layer should be a flat or tight weave. You’ll be adding at least one other layer so starting thin ensures the thickness doesn’t reach trip-able proportions.

3. Texturize: Texture on texture is a great approach. Contrast shag with a woven jute to add warmth and visual interest.

4. Add impact: With the base layer neutral and natural, take your next layer up a notch by adding colour and pattern, or both!

5. Go bold: Layer pattern on pattern for a “collector’s” feel to your space. Combine similar style area carpets with complimentary colour schemes for high level interest and impact.

Overall, have fun and take risks. If you’ve found the perfect area carpet or a small work of art, but the overall size is too small or it’s the size you can afford, layering is a great way to work it into your space.

Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,



bt calgary: decorating with metals

Metals are everywhere in our home and much like the jewelry we wear there are statement pieces with huge impact to smaller items adding subtle, yet important details. Early this morning I was on BT Calgary sharing tips on decorating with metals. Watch the video for all the details.

1. Metals as accents mirrored fireplace, better homes and gardens magazine

2. Statement metals metallic wallpaper, elle decor

3. Mixing metals mixing metals, house beautiful magazine

4. Metals in furniture nailheads on furniture, traditional home magazine

5. Metals in the kitchen using metals in the kitchen, house and home magazine Take a look around and see how many metals you have in your home currently, even within one room. Any areas you could use a little more depth or sparkle?

Image credits: 1 l 2 l 3 l 4 l 5

Thank you to Herringer Kiss Gallery, Crate and Barrel, and DWA Interior Furnishings for providing the props!

Nyla Free Designs Inc. is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs Inc. also offers an online design service to Canadian clients through Design in a Box.


let’s learn: buying original art segment on BT Calgary

I had a great time on BT Calgary yesterday sharing tips on buying original art. If you missed the segment, not to worry, you can watch it online. Here I am with Ted just before we went on air. Thanks to Glenn for snapping the photo and for all his help with getting set up!

In the midst of nerves and complete absent mindedness, we missed acknowledging the Herringer Kiss Gallery for providing the art (hangs head in shame). Thank you Deborah!

You’ll find more tips in the current issue of Dabble, Reality Check column.

Nyla Free Designs is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs also offers an online design service through Design in a Box.


inspirations for choosing drapery fabric

Choosing fabric is one of my favorite tasks when detailing drapery. The colour, texture, pattern and flow of the fabric are important details to consider, in addition to the style and purpose of the room.

Although drapery is often considered a finishing touch and one that is last to be installed, it should not be at the bottom of the selection list. With a high level of impact, drapery is an important decision in the early stages of the room design. Being a vertical component of the room, it becomes a focal point or a backdrop to support furniture and architectural details. Knowing the difference is important.

Below are examples of work from my studio, Nyla Free Designs showing rooms with drapery treatments and details about the fabrics we chose.

Drapery in bedrooms must function and be aesthetically pleasing. In a modern space such as this one we opted to use a fabric similar to the wall colour. Creating a simple backdrop, however not compromising on style we used a silk fabric with metallic thread. The full height drapery skims the floor which allows the fabric to billow at the bottom similar to a beautiful gown.

This sitting area at the top of a staircase does not require drapery for privacy or light control. Here we used a semi sheer in wool to frame the windows, add depth and offer softness in the background.

We often think of drapery in a formal dining room but an everyday eating area need not be overlooked. With large windows in this kitchen nook, the room would feel bare and stark without fabric to finish off the space. We selected a charcoal silk with horizontal stripes in black and cream. It’s depth of colour and linear detail create a bold statement in the room accentuating the architectural detail of the bay window.

This dining room shares space with a sitting area and dramatic two story windows. From the second floor office the drapery is also visible. This formal charcoal and caramel damask pattern in silk acts as a space connector and adds a dramatic vertical statement.

Wanting a hotel style treatment with an edge we used a track at the ceiling with wall to wall drapery, creating a cocoon feel when the drapes are closed. We also wanted to introduce colour into the drapery so a muted mauve was selected with a subtle linear texture. It offers a warm feel with the impact of soft colour. Beautiful in a bedroom for an elegant, yet cozy feel.

I adore textiles and what they bring to a room, both in function and personality. Drapery is no exception to this. Plan early to include window treatments in your budget and watch your room go from basic to beautiful.

Thank you to Leslie Caruthers (@tkpleslie) and The Curtain Exchange for hosting a new weekly twitter chat with today’s focus on textiles in drapery. Also to Ann Maine, Editor In Chief of Traditional Home Magazine, Michael Diver, managing editor and Krissa Rosbund, Senior Style Editor for being the special guest experts joining in the discussion.

Nyla Free Designs is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs also offers an online design service through Design in a Box.



let’s learn: wool carpets

I’ve been working on several projects lately where we’ve been on the hunt for carpet. Whether it be wall to wall or an area rug, I am a huge promoter of wool. Many of my clients are unsure and leery of carpeting their homes with wool, and several questions arise as we shop for the perfect colour, pattern, texture and of course material. I thought I would give some insight as to why I love wool, along with some pros and cons to help demystify the uncertainties.

The first reason I love wool is that it’s natural. It is naturally soil and stain resistant, however it is still porous so tending to a spill right away is important. Scotchguard or similar products will penetrate rather than protect so it is best to leave it alone. Speaking from experience, when my oldest daughter was 18 months old she fell and hit her head on the side of our bed. Blood was all over our wool carpet. Of course needing to rush her to the hospital for stitches, I left the blood to sit for hours. I will admit that it took some time but the blood stain came up beautifully and you would never know there had been an accident.

Wool is a breathable fibre that does not promote the growth of bacteria or dust mites. Dirt and debris make a slower descent to the bottom of the actual carpet, thus giving you more time to clean them, via vacuuming, than nylon fibers. People with allergies often favor wool for this reason. Wool being a renewable resource is also environmentally friendly ~ another great reason these days to make this selection over synthetics.

Wools fibers are very durable and therefore do not show matting and frizzing as soon as a nylon carpet would. Wool is quick to regain its good looks after a cleaning and the time that it takes a wool carpet to discolour is slower. Because wool is a natural fiber, it takes the dyes so much better than a synthetic material. This is another reason that I love wool. The colour selection in a wool carpet is much more appealing than that of nylon. The saturation is deeper and richer, and in turn adds a quality factor to the overall look and appeal.

Now wools does not come without disadvantages. Wools will sometimes pill, releasing fibers over time that come loose from the carpet. Another word for it would be ‘shedding’. Regular vacuuming is essential and this will not go on forever. The other con to purchasing a wool carpet is cost. It is not the least expensive option for your floors. Wool is an investment, and one that you will love for a very long time. If you have it in the budget, I would highly recommend it. Above carpets from Godfrey Hirst.

There are also many companies that manufacture wool area carpets, from several different price points. I recently purchased a wool carpet for a client from West Elm and absolutely love it.

Another area rug company that I love is Angela Adams. At a mid price point she offers organic, nature inspired patterns that would bring a room to life. A portion of the line is also available at Home Depot.

Weaver’s Art out of Toronto is a higher end source for Wool and Wool/ Silk combination area carpets. Beautiful designs and handwoven craftsmanship will leave your floors feeling like they have a piece of fine art on them.

I hope you found this little tutorial on wool carpets helpful!