The Globe asked designer Irene Langlois of Irene Langlois Interiors in Ottawa to reveal her top colours, materials and decorating secrets.
Favourite paint colour: "OC-52, Grey Owl by Benjamin Moore. This pale blue/grey looks great in almost any space. I've used it with lots of white and linen in a bedroom but it also pairs well with more dramatic colours, like red, black and gold. Very versatile."
Favourite front-door colour: "Black is a classic. On most brick homes, you can't go wrong with black."
Favourite countertop material: "Ceasarstone is my countertop of choice these days. It's practical in a kitchen or bathroom and comes in a wide variety of colours with subtle, gentle patterns. It doesn't overwhelm the space like granite can."
Favourite tile: "Again, I will go back to a classic, Statuario marble. Its white-and-grey veining is simply stunning. Of course, it's a high maintenance product so you have to be careful where you put it."
Favourite piece of furniture: "Mirrors are a great tool to make a room feel more spacious. Mirrors reflect light and add a sense of volume to any space."
Your design rule: "Less is more. It's important to weed out the extraneous and keep only the beautiful and essential."
Favourite lighting trick: "Canister floor lights are a great way to add some ambient lighting. Tucked behind a plant or a piece of furniture, they shed light upward and give a soft glow to a space."
Best DIY project: "Go to HomeSense and buy some new accent pillows, stop at the florist on the way home and pick up some fresh flowers. Easy!"
Best use of $500: "Paint. It always amazes me how simply painting something can completely transform it. Whether it's kitchen cabinets or a piece of furniture, a fresh coat of paint will give it new life."
Signature room (pictured): "This is a home in downtown Ottawa. I love the mix of styles in this room. From the traditional windows with the cremone bolt hardware and herringbone floors to the contemporary furnishings, this space illustrates an eclectic blend of periods."