10 things that are making your home ugly and how to fix them
We've gathered 10 great tips to elevate your space from dowdy to dreamy.
When it comes to our personal appearance, we usually know what’s making us – we won’t say ugly – a little less confident than usual, and we know the fix. A ragged nail means it’s time to dig out the file and clippers. Chipped polish means it’s time to freshen up that manicure. Unruly hair calls for a visit to the hairstylist or barbershop. And so it goes.
But in our homes we can sometimes forget the little things that make a big, stylish impression. Ironically, it’s quite often small, changeable things that can make a big impact and elevate a room from dowdy to dreamy.
We’ve seen dated (and we mean seriously dated) apartment rentals go glam with the addition of the right paint, sofa and accessories. We’ve seen boring boxy bedrooms come to life with a beautiful DIY headboard and fresh new bedding. We’ve seen entrances go from messy to marvellous. It can be done, but you’ve got to be ruthless in tackling the ugly with elbow grease and a little ingenuity to make way for fresh, clean style.
Shoes all over the floor, torn-open mail (utility bills, of course) strewn about, keys and random bits and bobs like lost buttons, and empty gadget boxes on your entryway console are just plain ugly. The fix: The entryway is supposed to be a welcome and tidy place, which is good news. All you really need to do above all else is tidy things up, which doesn’t take that long. It also doesn’t cost anything to neatly line up shoes, recycle boxes and envelopes, and give a console and entryway a dusting. A clean entryway with everything in its place is a must.
Chances are your bedroom walls are in pretty good nick, they are typically low-traffic areas and the paint can stay impeccable for years. But in the living room and dining room and particularly the kitchen, that is not usually the case. If you think walls with dirty streaks or scratches from chairs don’t look that bad, think again. They’re really taking your home’s looks down a notch. Walls also include light switch covers, and nothing is uglier than visible dirt around them. The fix: For a little bit of dirt or grime or even oil, sometimes a good cleaning is all that’s needed. Many paints can stand up to being washed with cleaners, but you can check with a paint store or you can spot test before you try cleaning it up. If the dirt, marks and gouges are everywhere, there’s no getting around it, it’s time for a paint job. Fresh paint makes a vintage-inspired home look fresh and new.
Isn’t it funny how just about anything you bake or roast smells great, from cakes to vegetables, whereas anything you fry, even if it’s as yummy as donuts, smells pretty terrible? And let’s not even get into pet odours. Unwanted smells get into your upholstery, from drapes to sofas to rugs, and the worst part is sometimes you get used to them so you can’t even detect them. Ask a family member or a very honest friend to give you his or her unvarnished opinion on what they smell at your home. The fix: If you’ve got lingering food, pet or just stale smells going on in your home, you’ve got a few fixes available. More often than not, food smells need to be rectified by investing in a good, outdoor-venting fan over the cooktop. Of course, that’s not always possible in which case you’ll have to be diligent in airing out the kitchen by opening windows after you’ve been cooking. Need a quick cover up for a cocktail party? Try a home fragrance solution.
Whether it’s souvenirs, memorabilia, or just random stuff you’ve collected over the years, your collection of objects might be too much, and it might be making your shelves, bookcases and mantel ugly. The fix: Editing is easier said than done, so try boxing up the items on your busy shelf or mantel and live with it for a week. Then decide what you truly miss and what just needs to be put in storage or given away. The living room shelf in Ann Marie Favot’s home is strikingly simple in all-white.
You know when your bathroom is dingy and needs renovating, and is just plain ugly – we don’t need to give you a blow-by-blow account here. But don’t worry, we’re also not going to tell you to renovate your bathroom. Truth is, we’ve seen bathrooms in rental apartments go from grungy to glam, all with the help of a deep clean and carefully chosen accessories. The fix: Clean, clean and clean some more. That means grout, fixtures, floors and walls. Once that’s done, really step back and assess what’s making everything dingy. If it’s a dark space, think about getting a fresh white shower curtain and towels and even a white orchid to enliven the room. Hide all unnecessary bottles and toothpaste containers and everything else while you’re at it and you’ll see how much better the space looks. Your bathroom might never be as glamazonian as this one, but you can help it along by keeping it tidy and choosing crisp white towels.
If you watch home renovation TV shows, you’ll know that outdated kitchens are always high on an owner’s must-destroy list. And yes, they can be really ugly and detract from a home. But a renovation isn’t always in the cards or budget, in which case, you’ll have to figure out how to live with cabinetry and surfaces that have seen better days. The fix: Embrace the kitchen for what it is: you’re not going to make a super-modern kitchen out of a 1960s-era setup. So if it’s vintage-y or cottage-y right now, find a way to enhance that charm. Paint ugly wood cabinetry. Make the best of an old countertop by making it sparkling clean. Add some bright and coordinated accessories, et voila. Painted cabinetry adds immense charm to a cottage kitchen.
A bedroom, especially in new-build homes, tends to be a basic, bland white box. The reasons for this are often practical – a plain box of a room will be easy to place a bed in (no weird angles) with plenty of room left over for side tables and a dresser or drawers. But yes, it can be rather blah and lackluster. The fix: If the walls are white you don’t even have to paint them, you can work with this most versatile of shades. The secret is texture. A tufted headboard, patterned bedspread and layered textiles will bring the beauty to a bedroom. Textures and layers contribute to a stylish, fresh and airy bedroom.
There is a certain aesthetic that makes bare walls the best choice, but for many other homes, it just makes it look like you’ve never really moved in. And looking like you are about to flee the premises is never an attractive quality in a home. The fix: You can’t go wrong in terms of satisfaction if you stick to displaying art and photography that means something to you. How to do it artfully is another matter. When in doubt, stick to frames of the same colour and type (the size can differ), but if you’re more adventurous (and your decor is too) create a display wall of mismatched frames. A collection of antique maps was deliberately framed and matted differently in this gallery.
Has your dining room become a catch-all for everything in your home? Gifts piled up for weeks waiting to be wrapped. Your desktop computer and work papers setting up residence. If making your home beautiful is high on your priority list, it’s time to rethink this strategy. There’s a reason you don’t see dining rooms in the pages of decor magazines all covered with half-empty shopping bags, bills, car keys and stray electronic chargers. It’s because it’s ugly. The fix: You need to make some hard decisions, but they’re not necessarily expensive or tough-to-execute ones. Firstly, you’ll want to move that desktop computer off your dining table – which might mean putting it in the kitchen or bedroom, or trading it for a laptop. Think about why junk is accumulating on your dining room table and fix the underlying causes. It’s as simple as that. A dedicated dining room table is an inviting and relaxing space.
A backyard is a place to have some fun and get comfortable, so if yours is too basic and boring, it’s doing your entire home a disservice. If you have rickety aluminum folding chairs that are always ready to snap shut while you’re sitting on them, or worse, cheap white plastic ones that are suitable for your first post-college apartment, it’s time to step up your game. The fix: Mostly any backyard, even the smallest, can accommodate a stylish pair of outdoor chairs and a stool that can take a turn as a side table. If budget is an issue, midsummer is usually a great time to sweep up steep deals on outdoor furnishings. This beautiful Toronto backyard also serves as an outdoor living room.
Christmas in Canada: 10 festive destinations
Quebec City becomes a winter wonderland from December onwards, with Old Quebec transformed into a Christmas village straight out of a Dickens novel – markets, decorations and twinkling lights everywhere. Experience the Old World magic of Christmas with a night tour of New France, discovering colonial traditions during their coldest season, or join a food tour and find out where the locals go for Christmas specialties like gourmet cheeses and ice wine. Stay at: Auberge Saint-Antoine Not only has this super chic property been named one of the top hotels in Canada by Conde Nast Traveler for the past 10 years, but it sits right in the heart of the historic Old Town. Check in on Christmas Eve and enjoy the hotel’s impressive holiday package that includes a two-night stay, breakfast, brunch and dinner at the award-wining Panache restaurant and a number of holiday activities to make you feel at home – mulled wine, a Christmas movie screening, a Santa visit with gifts for the kids and a horse-drawn carriage ride through Old Quebec. Christmas package starts at $1275 for two people.
Even Canada’s economic hub gets into the Christmas spirit once December rolls around. In fact, Toronto fully embraces the holiday season with a bustling Christmas marketin the historic Distillery District, the lighting of the official tree at Nathan Phillips Square and heaps of holiday sales at the massive Eaton Centre mall and along fashion-forward Bloor St. Plus, if you’re around in early December, you can check out the One of a Kind Show and pick up unique artisanal gifts for everyone on your list. Stay at: Four Seasons As if you needed an excuse to check in to the Four Seasons. The luxe hotel with a chic Yorkville address gets into the festive spirit over the holidays, with a gingerbread-making workshop on Christmas Eve for the kids and a wine tasting with the hotel’s sommelier for adults. Christmas Day is all about the tastes of the season as Chef Tyler Shedden of Café Boulud creates a festive feast like no other. Plus, when you book two nights over the holidays, the third is free – regardless of whether you’re on the naughty or nice list.
Victoria lights up (literally!) at Christmas. From the giant Ferris wheel in Centennial Square to the provincial Christmas tree on the lawn of the Parliament Buildings to the thousands of lights at Butchart Gardens, Victoria is a beautiful getaway for the holidays. Take it all in with free horse-drawn trolley rides through the city on Saturdays and Sundays through December. Stay at: Magnolia Hotel & Spa Recognized by Conde Nast as one of the top luxury hotels in Canada the Magnolia Hotel & Spa is a boutique home-away-from-home. Their holiday package includes daily mulled apple cider and holiday treats in the lobby, plus a Bailey’s night cap to ease you into dreams of sugarplums.
Known throughout the world as one of Canada’s most beautiful natural spots, Lake Louise turns from a sparkling turquoise swimming pool to a white wonderland in the winter. Just 50 kilometres away from Banff, Lake Louise is a quiet retreat for those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere during the holidays. Make the most of your incredible surroundings with ice skating on the lake, skiing, snowshoeing and wilderness hikes. Who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas here? Stay at: The Fairmont Lake Louise Based at the foot of the mountains surrounding Lake Louise, this Fairmont property is the ultimate spot for waking up to breathtaking views right from your hotel room. This sprawling 550-room luxury resort goes all out during the holidays with a number of family activities to keep you occupied, from sleigh rides to caroling to gingerbread-house workshops. And to really make it feel like holidays at home, they’ll decorate your guest room with a beautifully lit tree so Santa knows exactly where to put the presents on Christmas Eve.
Escape the hustle and bustle of Toronto during the holiday season and head to the rural region of Caledon for some downtime. You can take the kids to Downey’s Tree Farm for yummy baked goods and fresh-pressed cider, or head to one of the area’s renowned country markets for seasonal goodies from local farmers and perhaps pick up a piece of antique furniture for yourself. Stay at: Millcroft Inn & Spa Set on a 100-acre estate, the historic Millcroft Inn and Spa is the perfect country Christmas getaway. Explore the centuries-old property with snowshoeing through the picturesque trails, then unwind with a few drinks and nibbles at the fireside lounge. Every Sunday in December leading up to Christmas, the Inn features a Santa brunch so kids can tell the big man in red their Christmas wishes, and on Christmas Day you can enjoy a family feast with a four-course dinner that includes slow-roasted turkey and gingerbread cake.
A breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage site, Banff National Park has adopted the slogan ‘Winter starts here’ and it’s not hard to see why. From holiday wagon rides to Christmas open houses at historical homes in the area, there’s something happening every day. For the adventurers, Banff is a giant playground of fresh snow, perfect for snowmobiling, dogsled rides and long days on the powdered hills. Prefer to explore the area on two feet? Spend your days strolling the festively decorated boutique-lined streets and savouring the tastes of the season at the farmer’s market or restaurants specializing in heart-warming Canadian cuisine. Stay at: Fairmont Banff Springs If you’re after the ultimate holiday experience in Canada, look no further than the Fairmont Banff Springs. The picturesque ‘Castle in the Rockies’ is a magical winter wonderland with plenty of holiday fun to keep your kids occupied – cookie decorating, a gingerbread house workshop, daily festive film screenings, and a Christmas scavenger hunt. Adults can enjoy some holiday time away from the kids in the hot springs and with nightly wine tastings, ranging from champagne and shortbread one night and port and pudding the next. And don’t fret if you weren’t able to sneak away to wrap this year’s presents – the hotel offers a gift wrap service on the 24th so you have more time to spend with your loved ones.
It’s the hub of Canada’s ski community and is visited by slope shredders around the world. Experience what all the fuss is about with a Christmas holiday in the Whistler Village this year, featuring an amazing Fire and Ice Show, ice skating with Santa at the Olympic rink and holiday craft workshops. And of course, you’ll want to strap on your skis and board and hit the world-famous slopes, followed by a little après ski in the chalet. Stay at: Nita Lake Lodge This luxury lodge is nestled on the shores of a glacier-fed lake, Nita Lake Lodge features over-sized suites just a five-minute shuttle ride from Whistler Village. Known for focusing on the little details that make all the difference, the lodge is no different at Christmas, from the peppermint candy canes at the front desk to a complimentary S’mores station for the kids. You’ll feel right at home with the lodge’s holiday decor as well, with a towering Christmas tree and bespoke wreaths, not to mention a fully-decorated restaurant for your four-course Christmas feast on the 24th and 25th.
For a wee town just an hour outside of Toronto, Cambridge packs a punch at Christmastime. Surrounded by strings of holiday lights, the town builds a synthetic ice skating rink in the park so you can have winter fun even if there’s no white Christmas. The market also gets the festive treatment over the holidays, as local vendors offer everything from yummy beaver tails to artisanal gifts and handmade ornaments. Stay at: Langdon Hall A 19th century estate, Langdon Hall offers a traditional holiday experience in a historic setting. Whether you’re looking to stay overnight or simply experience the festive property for a meal, Langdon Hall is a must for anyone staying in Cambridge over the holiday season. Besides being decorated in traditional boughs and offering a gourmet Christmas lunch, dinner and afternoon tea, the Hall features a number of wintry activities like ice skating on the outdoor rink, sleigh rides and outdoor fire pits to keep warm as you sing carols in between glasses of egg nog. And for the miniature guests, Santa pays a visit on December 20th, plenty of time for them to get last-minute gift wishes in.
Niagara on the Lake is beautiful enough in the summertime, but the little town comes to life during the holiday season. Head out with your partner on a romantic candlelit stroll through the town and enjoy the community’s Santa Claus Parade along quaint Queen Street. Stay at: Queen’s Landing This grand Georgian-style mansion sits right on the waterfront, looking prettiest in the winter months, covered in a light dusting of snow. After a day enjoying the Niagara region, cozy up fireside with a seasonal drink in the mansion’s lodge. On Christmas Day, you can sit down with family to a five-course dinner, complete with all the traditional trimmings.
The most popular ski resort on Canada’s east coast, Mont Tremblant offers a bit of European charm for the ski and snowboard crowd. When you’re not taking to the slopes, there’s a ton of other winter activities to entice you to spend the holiday season at this beautiful resort, from dogsledding to mountainside tubing. The village is beautifully decorated with oversized holiday greens and twinkling white lights, plus daily entertainment from carol singers and the resort’s own family of elves. Stay at: Fairmont Tremblant Nestled at the foot of the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec, the Fairmont Tremblant is in the middle of all the action in the resort village. When the weather outside gets a bit too chilly, warm up in the hotel with Christmas arts and crafts workshops for the kids, then watch their faces light up as Santa comes to visit on the 24th. Spend Christmas Eve around the table with family, friends and a delicious dinner of traditional turkey and local specialties, like Quebec meat pies.
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.
Recipe: Eclairs with pistachio cream
Eclairs are like the classed-up cousins of the doughnut. Their pastry is fluffy and fresh, they're filled with a buttery cream and they're glazed with decadent chocolate. And now we've taken things up a notch, incorporating the nutty flavour of pistachios for a whole new complexity and a pretty pale green hue, just in time for the budding of spring.
Makes 12 eclairs.
1 Blend the pistachios in a food processor to a fine paste; set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil; remove from the heat.
2 In a bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. Continuing to whisk, slowly ladle the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, whisking over medium heat until thick; remove from the heat. Stir in the pistachio paste and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until you're ready to fill the eclairs.
3 To make the pastry, preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil; add the flour and stir over medium heat until a thin film forms at the bottom of the baking pan, about 2 minutes.
4 Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the dough has cooled. Add the eggs, one at a time, until everything is fully combined, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl after each addition. The dough is ready when it's thick and glossy yet falls slowly from the paddle when lifted.
5 Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 3⁄4" plain tip with the dough and pipe 4" lengths onto the baking sheet to make 12 shells. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the oven off, but leave the pastries in for an additional 15 to 20 minutes to further dry out.
6 Place the chocolate in a large, shallow heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let everything sit for 3 to 4 minutes, then whisk together until the mixture is smooth.
8 Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the chilled pistachio cream and pipe it onto the bottom halves of the pastry shells. Top with the chocolate-glazed halves.