With consumers living in a much more circular economy where we are cognizant of our impact on the earth and its environment, the concept of “upcycling” is changing the way we think, shop, furnish and decorate our homes.
Margaret Pherson, owner and proprietor of “A Touch of Class by Mags” has been working since 2014 as a Certified Professional Home Stager, providing services ranging from Interior and Exterior House Painting, Staging for Living and Sale, to Commercial Painting and Decorating. “Upcycling is part of a sustainable trend not only in clothing but also in home decor” says Margaret. It allows us to reinvent and repurpose items that would otherwise end up in landfill sites. With environmental issues at the forefront including climate change and overflowing transfer facilities, upcycling means the use of old materials with no waste!”.
The recent resurgence of thrift stores and vintage markets has had a positive impact on the upcycling trend, leaving environmentally conscious consumers searching for the perfect pieces to decorate their homes. Although the concept has been around for centuries, it was often used out of necessity due to lack of available materials or the need to save money. More recently, the demand for vintage and upcycled goods is a reflection of current design trends (i.e. barn board feature walls), and creates a platform for artisans to express their creativity by creating one of a kind pieces that leave little to no carbon imprint on the environment. “The move towards repurposed goods is not just for DIY projects anymore” says Margaret of this evolving trend. “Professional studios and larger manufacturers are taking advantage of the demand for these types of products and are growing their business exponentially. They are finally realizing that the millennial generation in particular want unique pieces that are timeless and long-lasting and so they look for products that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. People are willing to invest in high-quality craftsmanship again”.
Artisanal design has been out of reach for many in the past. However, with the success of online platforms such as Etsy and Shopify that offer a marketplace for talented people to feature their products to a very broad market, the retail environment and accessibility of these products has changed and has had a positive influence on the popularity of sustainable products. These sites offer everything from candles made from wine bottles, watches made from upcycled skateboards, to barn board welcome signs and refinished antique furniture. They give artists a place to feature their pieces, and consumers the opportunity to shop for interesting, one-of-a-kind pieces that use little to no energy to make, and they produce minimal waste in the process.
For the budget-conscious consumer, DIY television and YouTube instruction videos have opened up a whole new world for those willing to take a risk and upcycle their own creations. When the global economy was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people suddenly had the time and inclination to take on projects they otherwise may not have considered. Lack of materials and disruptions to the supply chains have resulted in long delays for delivery of furniture and other commodities, and it has forced consumers to get creative in their thinking and come up with alternatives to those offshore purchases.
Perhaps most significantly, home time with family during isolation caused a marked shift in priorities for many, and as a result, prompted those with an entrepreneurial spirit to venture out on their own. Many who considered furniture restoration or design to be a hobby turned their talents into successful businesses, creating bespoke designs for their clients to meet their individual tastes and needs.
According to Margaret, the trend towards upcycling has given new life to Eclectic Style in Home Design and Décor. Best described as “fun” and “creative” with the freedom to span eras and textures, this style fits perfectly with the move towards repurposing materials and reinventing pieces from days gone by. With a variety of texture and colour, and an “anything goes” attitude, this style is easy to achieve but there are some basic “rules” that should be followed.
Keep Your Backdrop Simple
Mixing patterns, textures and colours is what this style is all about, so keeping your canvas (walls) to single colour painted walls in neutral tones helps to balance the use of more complicated pieces. You will have a lot more choices when you start with a blank slate!
Choose one or two basic tones and colours for your décor scheme but don’t be afraid to throw in an element of surprise here and there! Varying patterns and colours keep it interesting and give it a bespoke feel.
Time Means Nothing
Do not be afraid to choose key pieces from different eras. Modern, traditional, and art deco can be creatively used in the same room. Choose a few statement pieces that work with your basic theme and go from there. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Don’t Clutter It Up
Although eclectic design involves lots of texture, colour and pattern options, having a focal point such as a gallery wall and not filling the room with unnecessary knick-knacks from your grandma’s attic will keep your space stylish instead of dated and cluttered.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!
Refinish pieces you already own, repurpose something to add character to a room, buy sustainable goods from a local artisan. Eclectic Style can be interesting and fun, but it is also an excellent opportunity to be environmentally conscious!
If you’re not sure you can pull off this trend on your own, enlisting the help of an experienced design professional like Margaret Pherson can help to ensure that the end result is a beautiful room that you will enjoy for many years to come. A basic design consultation starts as low as $250 and goes up from there depending on the services you require and the work needed to complete the project. From conception to completion, Margaret will use her knowledge and experience to work with you to create a room that you will love.
Margaret can be reached at her retail location “A Touch of Class by Mags” located at 83 Broadway in Orangeville ON, 519-589-3545 or her website: www.atouchofclassbymags.com
Written by: Tanya Bottomley | Phots: Cory Bruyea