Colin & Justin cover everything from paint to playlists

The celebrity interior designers on fall’s spruciest colours and vintage finds


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Colin McAllister (left) and Justin Ryan go to Rebarn on Dupont to find artisan salvaged timber pieces and custom furniture

Celebrity interior designers and TV personalities Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan of shows such as W Network’s Game of Homes and Cottage Life’s Cabin Pressure give us their top tips on how to spruce up your home as the seasons change. They cover everything from painting tips to where to shop and how to be the best holiday host. 

How do  you choose a paint colour to spruce up a room? 
We don’t suggest that one shade fits all, but when in doubt, neutral it out. In all design decisions, you really must think about mood, natural light and functionality before you choose a paint colour. 

A good go-to warm off-white will never let you down, as well as whisper tints with a hint of rose or grey as a subtle way to add colour. Taupe also always works well. 

Once you’re ready to start the actual painting, remember that preparation and the right tools for the job are crucial. You don’t need to hire a professional painter, but you do need to fill holes and defects, sand uneven surfaces and clean off dirty marks to get your walls, doors and trim paint ready. 

Where do you shop for vintage finds, furniture and home decor essentials? 
Having lived in Toronto on and off for eight years and permanently for the last two, we love Toronto as a shopping destination. 

For well-priced pendant lights, small accessories and funky woven wall murals, we love VdeV on Ossington. 

Rebarn on Dupont is amazing for artisan salvaged timber pieces and custom furniture such as dining tables and barn doors. They also started carrying artwork and opened a gallery celebrating local Toronto artists. 

Finally Klaus on King is young, fresh and relevant. They also carry one of our favourite things, giant Anglepoise floor lamps. We have one in jet black in our Glasgow dining room. 

Holiday hosting season is around the corner. What are some ways to make guests feel welcome? 
Make the transition from the front door to party zone as smooth as possible by having handy places to hang coats and stow bags and shoes. This will allow you to easily usher guests in to your home and arm them immediately with a welcome cocktail. 

Make sure the meal you prepare doesn’t involve you standing over the oven all night while guests party without you. Stick to a tried and tested menu that allows you to relax and enjoy the evening as much as your guests will. 

Provide a good selection of drinks and make them freely available. Ensure you’ve stocked some red, white and sparking wines along with beer, spirits and cocktails to cover all your bases. Make sure you balance the booze with enough food for the evening. 

Have guests sit down for dinner at a table that is well dressed for the occasion. 

Provide ample space for all diners, colour code the table with table runners, napkins and non-scented candles (that won’t interfere with the aroma of food) to provide sparkle. Dim the lights, put on some great music and serve that delicious food. 

Our dinner party playlist includes Verve Remixed Volume 3, anything by the Gotan Project and the Horse Meat disco albums. 

We love leaving small personalized goody bags on chairs for dinner guests. Pack yours with small scented candles, perfume samples, candies and a ticket for the next night’s lottery. 

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