Top 10 Home Styling Tips from Western Canada’s Next Home Stylist Finalist

Michelle Hopkins
June 9, 2015

Vancouver’s Tijana Popovic is a self-professed DIY frugalista whose blog, Frugal Living Adventures, offers tips on everything from DIY projects, recipes and ways to decorate on a budget. She is also one of three finalists in the inaugural Western Canada's Next Home Stylist competition, which is running all summer.

As a host, actress and enthusiastic home décor lover, the judges were impressed by her unique take on affordable design, her keen eye for fashionable details and infectious outgoing personality – touting these attributes as secrets to success.  

For the next couple of months, Popovic will compete in a series of three challenges to win the coveted title, plus a $1,000 Urban Barn shopping spree, media exposure across two provinces and the opportunity to appear on-stage at this fall’s home and design shows in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

“We were extremely impressed with the responses received from across British Columbia and Alberta, and selecting our three finalists was no easy task,” said Jill Kivett, regional director for contest organizer Marketplace Events. “Each of our finalists brings a unique blend of personality, tenacity and style to the table, and we would be lucky to have any of them take the stage at our home and design shows in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton this fall.”

Meanwhile, Prince George native Popovic says living in small spaces demanded that she get very creative in the way she maximized her square footage – or lack thereof. She now lives in a 1960s duplex. She was happy to pass onto REW some of her own unique decorating trends.

“Rethink the use of your space, your furniture and accessories,” says the 35-year-old. “I repurposed a DVD /bookcase I was going to sell. I bought a ton of mason jars and filled with my spices… the bookcase is now in my kitchen and features my spices and various olive oils.”

If Popovic has one piece of advice for others who love to decorate it’s this: “Don’t play it safe … if your eye is drawn to something, go for it.”

Popovic's Top 10 Home Styling Tips

  1. Gallery wall: Showcase your cherished belongings – whether it’s a piece of art, a framed photograph, antlers or an old wooden window screen. “Living in a small space, it’s a great way to feature some of my favourite things that I love,” says Popovic. “It’s an easy and affordable way to update your space.” Don’t be afraid to change it up often or with the seasons. Add, subtract and be whimsical, she says.
  2. Make a small bathroom appear larger: Buy a colourful, chic bathroom shower curtain, change up your fixtures and use baskets or other items as storage niches.
  3. Invest in a good quality couch in a neutral tone, then mix and match different cushions and throws throughout the year. Blend a selection of pillows in various sizes, shapes, textures, big or small patterns and/or bold and subtle colours to add interest to your couch and ultimately your room.
  4. Popovic likes to keep her bedroom simple and clutter free. However, she does love to mix modern and vintage. “We have mismatched reading lights, both caged, on each side of the bed. I call them his and hers.”
  5. Instead of a coffee table in front of your couch, try a vintage velvet ottoman in the living room. To create added charm as well as a firm surface to set down a drink, Popovic placed on top a wooden box and filled with flowers, rocks and books. “Again, just fill the box with some of your favourite items … you don’t need to spend money. You might be surprised at what you already have.”
  6. Make the most of a feature wall, such as covering it in patterned wallpaper: Create a focal point with big prints, geometric patterns or coloured stripes to create a striking feature wall in any room.  “Don’t shy away from bold wallpaper, even in a small room,” she adds. “A cleverly chosen print can really open up a space.”
  7. Love entertaining but no time for an elaborate table setting? Create a table runner out of fresh flowers – it doesn’t take long and looks stunning! “It took me 15 minutes to make my flower runner,” she says. “It adds pop of colour to the table yet keeps it simple. Also, instead of plastic dishes, mix and match vintage dishes (that she purchased at second hand stores).”
  8. Need a solution for decorating a small balcony or patio? This passionate DIYer used a vintage ladder that doesn’t take a lot of space to feature her herbs pots. It is the epitome of function meets chic. “I have a tiny patio just outside my kitchen door and I repurposed the ladder, which used to act as a bookcase in my living room, to grow my herbs.”
  9. Vintage tea cups make for beautiful flower pots. She fills many with succulents because they are low maintenance.
  10. Another great entertaining style tip is to create your own signature herb-based cocktails and serve them at a table with a hand-written label and artfully arranged herbs and flowers.

For more information about Western Canada's Next Home Stylist or to vote for Popovic (public voting begins Monday, June 15) visit Home & Garden Events Facebook page.  You will have the chance to help choose the winner and be entered to win a $250 Urban Barn gift card.

Michelle Hopkins
Michelle Hopkins is a Vancouver-based freelance writer with extensive magazine, newspaper and online writing experience in home décor, new home developments, culinary adventures, wine, travel and more. Michelle writes for many notable publications including Real Estate Weekly and other Glacier Media Group publications, Western Living Magazine, Vancouver Magazine, Home Décor & Renovations, to name just a few. Michelle is passionate about anything to do with real estate.