Marble Contact Paper in Marmi Grey, Design Your Wall.
These faux marble options are just as elegant as the real deal.
Few materials strike a chord with us in the same way that marble does. The sought-after stone, with its subtle sheen and veined markings, is quick to catch the eye and lends a luxe look to a space without being over the top. The downside, of course, is its price point. Here are 5 marble-like options that will achieve the same sophisticated, formal look for a fraction of the cost.
Looking for a faux marble tile that can handle heavy foot traffic? Consider peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles. In addition to their resilient nature, the tiles can be installed over most existing flooring. In other words, they make for a perfect weekend DIY project that won’t end in defeat. TrafficMaster Premium Vinyl Tile in Carrara Marble, Home Depot, starting at $0.89/sq. ft.
If you love the marbled look, you’ll want to customize all of your furniture with this stylish contact paper. The affordable material has a peel-away backing that can stick to almost any surface, from the top of a coffee table to the inside of kitchen drawers. Keep in mind that the paper doesn’t react well to water, so avoid using it in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink. Marble Contact Paper in Marmi Grey, Design Your Wall, $59.99 per roll.
Elevate your living space with ceramic wall tiles that mimic the look of marble like this elegant option from Ciot. Though similar in appearance, ceramic is far more delicate than marble and is therefore more susceptible to chips and cracks. The solution: Be strategic with placement, avoiding high-traffic areas in favour of bathroom walls or backsplashes. Marvel Wall Tile in Calacatta Extra, Ciot, see store for pricing.
Porcelain is another classic material that boasts marble's polished aesthetic without the hefty price tag. The tile is more resilient than ceramic, which makes it perfect for flooring as well as bathroom walls and kitchen backsplashes. Let's just say marble-inspired porcelain has the ability to make any space sparkle. Glazed Porcelain Tiles in White, Olympia Tile + Stone, see store for pricing.
If you’re not yet familiar with Laminam, allow us to be the first to introduce you. The innovative material is touted as being the world’s first porcelain tile that's offered in 3 metre by 1 metre panels and is thinner than standard porcelain tiling. This means that in addition to covering existing walls and floors, Laminam can take on an array of delicate surfaces (think fireplace surrounds, kitchen countertops and outdoor areas). I Naturali Laminam in Bianco Statuario, Stone Tile, see store for pricing.
A bohemian-style bedroom display at Anthropologie.
Cover all of your decorating bases with our insiders’ guide to the top 50 design stores across the country.
We’ve all dreamt of a truly magnificent home that we’re eager to enter and proud to call our own – but beyond deciding how to decorate it, there’s an equally important (and often overlooked) first step: where to shop. With the bounty of home decor stores out there, each with its own unique appeal, the wild world of mesmerizing furnishings and accessories can make our heads spin. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide of our favourite interior design destinations across Canada. So grab hold of your list of decor must-haves and come shop with us.
Fed up with your ho-hum coffee machine and drab dishware? Look to Alessi for inspiration. The iconic design company transforms archetypal household items into wares so innovative, you’ll never view the standard versions the same way again. The Italian-born brand also offers products by prolific designers like Philippe Starck and Ettore Sottsass.
When a store boasts a chic bohemian-inspired aesthetic that most would happily reside in, and said store also happens to offer an expansive home collection, you better believe you’re in for a treat. Shop here for beautiful textiles in bold hues and mosaic patterns, artful furnishings, delicate ceramics and more.
Stylish and original artwork that’s accessible and affordable? Does such a thing exist? Thanks to Toronto-based gallery Art Interiors, the answer is a resounding yes. The store’s comprehensive collection of artistic works range in style (from paintings to photographs) and in price (from $25 to $6,500). Most of the pieces can also be purchased online. Cue the countrywide applause!
Located in Toronto’s Castlefield Design District, this furniture staple artfully fuses traditional elements with modern must-haves. The family-owned business (now in its third generation) features high-end items from across the globe in addition to a variety of Canadian-made products. Visit the 70,000 square foot showroom to find anything from contemporary credenzas to stunning sofas.
Think selecting paint colours is a mundane task? Think again. Benjamin Moore is one of our go-to brands for transforming literally anything – be it an entire space or a tired piece of furniture. Not only does the company provide affordable high-quality pigments, but it carries a variety of different types, from its eco-friendly Natura paint to its Chalkboard Paint collection.
For the ultimate in contemporary high-end furniture, make your way to BoConcept. The home decor shop sells Danish furnishings and accessories that will lend your home a sleek and sophisticated feel. The store’s stock is also designed to complement all lifestyles, whether you live in a compact condo or a spacious abode.
A Canadian decor staple, Bouclair is one of those design stores you can walk into and find exactly what you need (or an accent piece you never knew you needed but now suddenly do) – all thanks to its expansive collection of affordable furnishings and fixtures. The company also has its own atelier line that consists of stylish, higher-end items.
Characterized as the Canadian and curated version of Etsy, BRIKA is a Toronto-based retailer that specializes in well-crafted artisanal gifts and home goods. Though primarily an e-commerce site, the brand recently opened a permanent storefront on Toronto’s lively Queen West strip. Expect to find (and quickly fall in love with) colourful accessories, pretty prints and quirky cookware.
For home improvement needs, Canadian Tire is our trusted one-stop shop. But what’s more is that the company’s ever-expanding furniture collection is worthy of the same praise. Make a style statement with these sleek two-tone side tables that boast a trendy dipped look.
No matter your decor need, CB2 will help you meet it while ensuring you stay on trend. Stop in to find fashionable furniture and accessories that have the power to transform a space, from gold-plated bookshelves to faceted side tables. The brand is also big on design collaborations (they recently teamed up with Lenny Kravitz to create an earthy, ‘70s-inspired collection).
Light fixtures are often said to be the jewellery of a room, and Circa Lighting only reinforces that idea. The company provides a wide selection of eye-catching pieces fashioned by some of the world’s most influential brands and designers.
While owned by the same parent company as CB2, Crate & Barrel has been a leader in the design industry for far longer (since 1962 to be exact). The store carries modern-meets-traditional furnishings that will never fall out of fashion, from plush leather sofas to elegant pendant lights.
Committed to providing their customers with beautifully designed pieces that stray from the everyday, the owners of this Vancouver mainstay have amassed a large collection of tasteful pieces that will make your living space sparkle, from ornate mirrors and gilded coffee tables to tufted pouffes and decorative objets.
Forget furniture replicas – DWR prides itself on making authentic designer pieces accessible to the masses. Translation: it’s a sweet retreat for any design enthusiast. Here, you’ll find Eero Sarineen’s signature Tulip and Womb chairs, Charles and Ray Eames’ sought-after molded plastic seats and George Nelson’s ever-popular Bubble Lamps.
This family-owned business – now in its fourth generation – has long been a top Canadian importer of fine quality rugs. The 200,000 square foot Toronto furniture emporium also offers a vast selection of upscale pieces, light fixtures and accessories thanks to brothers and general managers Jamie and Andrew Metrick, who travel abroad in search of new finds to add to the collection.
Keeping first-time homebuyers in mind, the Elte brothers recognized a need for more affordable offerings and opened a market-style showroom in 2014 (which spans 50,000 square feet). The store sells well-priced furniture pieces sourced from around the world that are still of top quality and style.
Purchasing high-end furniture is about more than just the quality of the pieces themselves, at least if Ethan Allen has anything to do with it. In addition to selling elegant items for the home, the popular furniture chain provides free design services to help each customer dream up a masterful living space.
Browse the whimsical online world of Etsy and you’ll find it near impossible to leave. The e-commerce site, which sells handmade and original pieces by talented artisans, may seem overwhelming at first, but after a little exploring, you’re bound to discover a few one-of-a-kind gems.
Minimalist modern furniture with Canadian appeal – that pretty much sums up the glorious products sold here. Most of the furnishings can be customized for a reasonable price, and all of the upholstered pieces are manufactured in Canada. The Winnipeg-based company also sells items by iconic brands like Herman Miller and Alessi.
Dress your walls in a Farrow & Ball paint or artisanal wallpaper and you’re destined to create a thing of beauty. The premium paints and papers are produced in Dorset, England using top-notch ingredients and age-old methods, resulting in products that will add an extra layer of depth, texture and sophistication to your space.
Also part of the Elte empire, Ginger’s is the kitchen and bathroom arm of the company. If you’re looking to splurge on an ultra-fancy faucet or freestanding tub that will lend a luxe look to your space, this is the place to shop.
After spending (too) much time admiring H&M’s trendy decor products from across the border, we’re thrilled that the brand’s home collection has entered the Canadian market, too. Just as the company's garments will uplift your wardrobe for a new season, its stock of homeware goods will instantly refresh your living space.
Few things are more satisfying than remodelling a space from scratch or conquering a once-daunting DIY project. While not always easy, count on Home Depot to arm you with the tools you need to get started. Go ahead and enliven a room with the store’s collection of Behr paints or create this stylish storage cabinet using its hardware supplies.
The best thing about HomeSense (aside from the affordability of its products) is that you never know what you’ll find inside each store. It’s basically a giant treasure hunt for the design inclined. Maybe you’ll discover a show-stopping rug that ends up dictating your living room’s palette, or perhaps you’ll buy a dresser with the intention of updating it DIY style.
The most patriotic of companies, Hudson’s Bay brings all things Canadian to the forefront of the design scene. It also makes international brands more accessible. While you can’t go wrong with the store’s HBC Collection (just look for items clad in the iconic multi-hued stripes), we’re equally obsessed with other homeware brands on offer, including The Drake General Store, Gluckstein Home, Bluebellgray and Nespresso.
Believe us when we say well-made window coverings are worth the investment. Hunter Douglas designs custom, energy-efficient shades and blinds that control light exposure, insulate rooms (which preserves energy) and protect furniture from UV damage. Best of all, the window treatments have a stylish, refined look fit for any home.
Few need to be acquainted with the magical design world that is IKEA, but let us just say that part of our love for the company lies in the freedom it affords us to think outside each ready-to-assemble box of furniture. In other words, the DIY possibilities are endless – and we’ve got proof: from an easy dresser makeover to a budget-friendly mirror project.
Every bookworm knows that the only thing better than a compelling read is a beautiful space to hole up in while doing so. That’s the magic of Indigo. In addition to selling a mass of tomes, the bookstore boasts a stunning home collection chock full of stylish brands (we’re currently eyeing Torre & Tagus and Rifle Paper Co.).
When it comes to getting the designer look for less, Jysk makes it all too easy. The popular chain carries trendy patio sets, indoor furniture, gardening essentials, storage solutions, mattresses, accent pieces and more. The slender side table featured here is one of our favourite finds.
Create a dreamy bedroom or stylish playroom for your youngster with the help of Land of Nod. The children’s decor shop offers a plethora of inspiring pieces that have major staying power for when your tot grows older (we won’t judge if you happen to find a few pieces for yourself, too!).
Think of your outdoor living space as an extension of your home’s interior – and put just as much care into its design. Selling a wide selection of quality gardening tools, cabinetry hardware and other outdoor essentials, Lee Valley will help you transform your humdrum yard or balcony into a pleasing haven.
As one of the world’s largest home improvement retailers, Lowe’s is a brand we’ve come to rely on for an array of quality materials. We’re big fans of its expansive collection of Valspar paints, as well as its selection of Metrie mouldings. In other news, Lowe’s announced plans to acquire Rona, which means more good things to come.
Support independent artists and designers in exchange for inspiring home decor goods by shopping at this online marketplace. Minted boasts a curated collection of design must-haves (read: customizable stationery, Instagram-worthy party decorations and limited-edition artwork) created by independent artisans across the globe.
Sometimes all it takes to wake up a tired room is a quirky statement piece. If your home is in need of a playful pick-me-up, visit Morba. The Toronto-based furniture store looks like a well-curated flea market, with a bounty of Scandi-inspired light fixtures, chairs and accessories protruding from every corner. Not able to visit the store? Browse the shop’s website and place an order online.
For all of your tiling desires, look no further than this trusted company. The Canadian tile and stone manufacturer is an industry leader that offers a wide selection of striking materials. Dreaming about new bathroom floors? Opt for a dramatic porcelain tile. Kitchen backsplash in need of a major refresh? Update it with a dreamy marble.
If your backyard has you feeling less than inspired, trust Pier 1 to provide a quick and easy fix, whether that means adding a striped patio umbrella or a string of colourful paper lanterns. Outdoor decor isn’t the store’s only strong suit, either. Shop here for cheerful dishware, stylish pendant lights, plush furniture and more.
Part of the appeal of Pottery Barn is that the furniture and decor pieces on offer are undeniably timeless. The majority of items boast a chic rustic look to suit most living spaces. And as far as home decor is concerned, the store pretty much sells it all. We’re currently eyeing the brand’s expansive outdoor collection.
If you have a penchant for dazzling light fixtures, allow us to introduce you to Rejuvenation. The Portland-based lighting manufacturer sells a wide-range of arresting pieces meant for any design scheme. While lighting is the company’s claim to fame, it also carries high-quality furniture and a whole lot more.
It comes as no surprise that RH began as a small hardware business (one look at the brand’s collection of metal pulls and knobs and it’s clear they're an industry authority). Fast-forward to today, however, and the store has expanded its product offerings to include everything from home furnishings and light fixtures to outdoor pieces and window dressings. We also love its baby and child line.
Everyone needs a dependable store where they can stock up on the essentials, such as a new mattress (check out our buying guide here) and a feather-filled duvet (see here for how to keep yours fresh). Sears is that such place. We’ve also collaborated with the brand to bring forth an exclusive Style at Home collection comprised of everything from bedding to bath accents.
A home that boasts a relaxed, California-cool vibe is easy to fall in love with – which probably explains why we’re head-over-heels for Serena & Lily. The decor brand injects that beachy West Coast style into each of its products, whether it’s a nautical rattan-framed bistro chair or a coastal-inspired toss cushion.
When a furniture store’s mantra is to “think small”, you know it will be a refreshing departure from your typical big-box retailer. That’s why we love Shelter Furniture. The expansive showroom, located in Toronto’s Castlefield Design District, offers up Mid-Century Modern items alongside more contemporary furnishings.
If you’re searching for budget-friendly furniture with a modern edge, Structube has you covered. The Montreal-based business, which has more than 45 stores across Canada, sells affordable home decor that feels fresh and innovative.
What makes a retailer stand out from the pack? Its ability to cater to customers’ needs. In the land of home decor, that means creating customizable pieces. StyleGarage sells made-to-order furniture that’s produced in Canada using sustainably sourced materials whenever possible. If you prefer ready-made items, check out the store's collection of Gus* Modern products.
With a curated collection of beautiful fabrics, Tonic Living is a trusted source for all of your custom sewing needs. Whether you fancy pastel-hued florals, vibrant geometric prints or simple solids, the Toronto-based decor store’s textiles speak to every style.
As Canada’s largest lighting showroom, located in Toronto’s Castlefield Design District, this spacious store will ensure you never again underestimate the power of a great light fixture. Inside, you’ll find an array of shimmery showpieces, from chandeliers and wall sconces to floor and table lamps. To provide more of an all-in-one experience, Union also sells furniture and other adornments.
The first step to achieving a character-filled living space is simple: Introduce stylish elements with rustic appeal à la Urban Barn. The Canadian furniture store sells cabin chic items that are still decidedly modern, quickly taking a room from stark and sterile to warm and welcoming.
As the largest online furniture and home decor retailer in the U.S., Wayfair already had a lot going for it, but now that the company has launched its Canadian website, it’s become far more appealing to us all. The new homegrown site features more than 7 million products along with a host of local suppliers worth discovering.
Set foot inside one of West Elm’s 65 retail locations and you’ll soon see your space in a brand new light. That’s because the company partners with local makers and independent designers to bring forth inspiring collections that are just as modern as they are meaningful. Be sure to check out the store’s limited-edition collaborations for handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Aspiring and seasoned chefs alike need not look far for deluxe cookware. Upgrade your kitchen cupboards with help from Williams-Sonoma and its specialty tools, ranging from essentials like Le Creuset stoneware sets to fun extras like ice cream sandwich makers. Need recipe inspo? Browse the brand’s eye-catching Instagram account for appetizing ideas.
The 10 dirtiest things in your house
Keep your house healthy and clean by learning how to eradicate germs.
What are the 10 dirtiest, grimiest, germiest, stinkiest, grossest things in your home? We spoke to cleaning expert Anne, from Toronto-based Homestead Maid to get the lowdown on the most common, worst-offending messes in Canadian homes.
Here's the thing: Not all these trouble spots are obvious. In fact, many look clean. The good news is it doesn't take a lot of elbow grease – or harsh chemical cleaners – to ensure they truly are clean.
Here's what to look out for and how to get it squeaky clean.
"When it comes to dirt and germs, first and foremost are the actual rags, sponges and scrub brushes you clean with," says Anne. Cleaning 411: • Run sponges through the dishwasher, or microwave them on high for a couple of minutes. • Nylon and stainless-steel scouring pads and brushes can go in the dishwasher. • Rinse, wring out and hang dry kitchen rags after use; launder them either every couple days or when they begin to smell. • Always toss rags into the laundry after they've been used to mop up spills from raw meat.
Don't just clean the toilet bowl and seat. The real mess is usually on the rim, toilet base and surrounding floor. "Especially when you have small children – or men – in the household," says Anne. Cleaning 411: • Always wipe down the toilet rim and base when cleaning the toilet. • Wipe or mop the floor around the toilet base as needed or at least weekly.
"All kinds of food debris gets caught in the drain and causes bad smells," says Anne. Left to build up too long, clogs can develop. Cleaning 411: • Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of white vinegar, let sit for a minute, then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain, for an inexpensive, eco-friendly once-a-week disinfecting/deodorizing treatment.
If you leave it dirty, you risk your pet ingesting spoiled food. You may also attract ants, roaches or mice. Cleaning 411: • Promptly wipe up spilled food or water. • Wash bowls regularly. • Protect flooring by placing bowls on a washable placemat or charger plate.
After all, where does kitty step right after she's done her business in her loo? Cleaning 411: • Vacuum, then wipe down/mop with vinegar and hot water. • Alternatively, lay a washable car mat by the litter box. Wash with hot water and dish detergent as needed.
"This actually depends on how vigilantly people in the home wash their hands," says Anne. Cleaning 411: • If you have small kids, wipe down knobs as needed or weekly (use a rag and hot soapy water or wet wipes). • Otherwise, wipe down knobs whenever you clean your baseboards (more frequently on bathroom doorknobs).
"In fact, everything you touch during and after changing baby and before hand-washing needs to be cleaned," says Anne. PRO TIP: Don't use harsh anti-bacterial cleaners in the nursery. Regular wet wipes – yes, the same ones you use during diaper changes! – are perfect for nursery spot-cleaning. Cleaning 411: • Wipe down the diaper pail exterior with a wet wipe, daily. • Clean the interior as per manufacturer instructions, or with hot soapy water as needed.
"People forget to clean the inside of the microwave, so it gets pretty dirty," says Anne. Cleaning 411: • Clean the interior surfaces with hot soapy water and a sponge (a nylon scrubber is also fine, but never use a harsh metal scouring pad); rinse and wipe dry. • If there's crusty food residue, run the microwave with a bowl of water or wet dishcloth for a couple of minutes. Steam softens dry food residue so it can be wiped clean.
Especially near the toilet. "It's the pee factor again," says Anne. Cleaning 411: • Hot vinegar-y water with a rag will clean and deodorize.
We tread on them daily, right? Cleaning 411: • Protect your floors (and children's health) by always removing shoes at the door to avoid trekking in dirt, pollution (yes, lead dust can travel in on shoes!), and germs. • Sweep or vacuum as required or at least weekly. • Mop up spills immediately, spot-clean dirty spots. • DON'T go overboard with harsh cleaning chemicals, says Anne. "A lot of flooring surfaces are very sensitive and hot water mixed with vinegar is safest for the finish. And always really wring out the mop so it's damp, not soaking wet," says Anne.
Tour this lovely cottage on Lake Simcoe!
A designer lends her expertise to help a couple resolve a colourful debate over the scheme for their family cottage.
"He wanted dark tones and a woodsy Aspen vibe. I wanted everything white with clean lines." The “he” referred to is the husband, the “I” speaking is the wife, and in terms of their decor preferences for this new-build 4,900-square-foot cottage overlooking Lake Simcoe in Innisfil, Ont., they were clearly at odds. But the Toronto-based couple, who has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son and a Samoyed puppy, did agree on one thing: The design had to be practical. And after many reassurances on the wife’s part that her vision could be inviting and relaxing, she says, “My husband eventually gave me free rein. I wanted a gorgeous unfussy space that was easy to maintain.”
To get the look, she turned to Lidia van Zyl, a designer based in Barrie, Ont., who’s well known for decorating waterfront properties in the area. “When I was hired in 2014, the cottage was in its planning stage,” says Lidia. “This allowed us to pore over the plans and confirm almost every detail before the walls went up.” The walls themselves played a crucial role in setting the tone for the space. “Honouring the husband’s preference for a traditional look, I incorporated shiplap into the mix,” says Lidia. The wooden boards, which were most often used in the construction of homes, were applied horizontally in the kitchen, powder room, foyer and master bedroom. “Shiplap, even when painted white, provides a rustic contrast to drywall and has an informal feel that really adds to the casual cottage vibe,” says the designer.
While the scheme may be all white, it’s anything but stark. “The key to decorating with white is to use different shades of it,” says Lidia. “If you look closely, you’ll see the walls are a crisp white, while the beams are coated with a warmer shade.” Wide-plank pale hickory flooring completes the airy backdrop, which Lidia chose to punctuate with bold hits of black. “I love contrast, so I added black accessories to almost every room,” she says. Lidia extended this theme to the furniture as well and, with the kids and puppy in mind, paid specific attention to practicality. “The grey sofas in the living room are covered with indoor-outdoor fabric, so they’re stain resistant and easy to clean,” she says. “And some of the pieces, such as the living room coffee table and foyer console, are crafted from steel, so they’re pretty much damage-proof.” She also introduced a few well-placed antiques throughout the cottage to create interesting tension between old and new.
The 18-month process of building and decorating netted a year-round family retreat that Lidia describes as “refined but rustic.” And even though the wife had total control, she did make an effort to include her husband – sort of. She says: “He really wanted dark floors, but even he conceded the light ones looked better. So I let him think he helped with that decision in a roundabout way. Now we’re all happy!”
Accessories like the rope-hung mirrors and the lantern-style pendant lights make this practical space feel decorated. “I don’t like to take risks when decorating,” says one of the homeowners, “but I did want to mix things up in the kitchen so it didn’t read as plain.”
Designer Lidia van Zyl played the natural tones of wood and stone against sleek black accents to create character in the living room. The tall armoire holds things like games, books and blankets, while the bare floor, a practical option, is easy to clean. A trio of metal sculptures above the reclaimed wood mantel is a departure from the expected mirror or artwork.
In the foyer, the staircase’s natural wood handrail and treads were a purposeful choice. “If we had painted them black, it would have drawn the eye up the stairs as opposed to straight through the cottage to the lake,” says Lidia.
A mix of neutral tones creates subtle depth in the dining area. “The table and chairs appear white at first glance, but they’re actually a soft shade of grey,” says Lidia. the chandelier, painted white to downplay its ornate shape, illuminates everything from meals to crafts.
“This cottage always makes me smile,” says one of the homeowners. “It’s an amazing feeling to open the front door to beautiful surroundings.” the stone skirting – a concession to the aspen look the husband wanted – ties in nicely with the herringbone brick walkway.
The artful arrangement of dark-hued antiques in an all-white area of the living room makes a graphic statement. the antlers are a family heirloom.
“I love a white kitchen because I don’t like distractions when I’m cooking,” says one of the homeowners, “and I can also see what needs to be cleaned.” low-maintenance Caesarstone countertops and a glossy tiled backsplash on the range wall make cleanup even easier. the massive island is outfitted with cupboards that hold cottage necessities, such as candles, batteries and a tool kit.
While the silhouette of the chandelier in the master bedroom is traditional, its wooden beads give it an earthy appeal that suits a cottage. the wicker basket, sisal rug and rustic artwork (it’s made of wood and says “I Love Us”) echo that earthiness, which is tempered by the black furniture.
Hooks and baskets are enough to keep the mud room in order since the basement has ample storage. The built-in bench always comes in handy.
Like the rest of the cottage, the powder room is energized with hits of black. “I love the graphic mosaic-look floor here,” says Lidia. “It’s actually 24-by-24-inch tiles, and they have just the right amount of pattern for a small space.” Vintage racquets used as informal artwork perfectly fit the laid- back vibe of this family retreat.