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.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.
Add these tasty thumbprint cookies to your holiday baking list! Credits: Maya Visnyei
Try this decadently delicious spin on the traditional thumbprint cookie.
Offering a twist on a classic is something that comes up a lot in the Style at Home offices, but it’s never been as yummy as this. Our take on these traditional holiday cookies replaces the usual jam with three of our favourite sweet spreads – pure genius, if we do say so ourselves.
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2 In a large bowl, beat the butter with the icing sugar until fluffy; beat in the vanilla.
3 In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger and salt; stir into the butter mixture just until the ingredients are combined and come together to form a dough.
4 Shape the dough into thirty-six 1" balls.*
5 Arrange 1" apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press your thumb into the centre of each ball, leaving an indentation; pinch together any cracks around the edges.
6 Bake until the edges of the cookies are golden, about 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
7 When the cookies are cool, spoon a scant 1 teaspoon of filling into the well of each one.
*To roll the cookies in nuts, whisk 2 egg whites with 1 teaspoon water until frothy; place finely chopped nuts (such as pistachios, walnuts or hazelnuts) in a bowl. Using a fork, dip each dough ball into the egg mixture, then into the nuts to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheets and continue with the recipe as directed. To dust with cocoa or cinnamon, roll the dough balls into either cinnamon or cocoa powder, shaking off any excess. Place on the prepared baking sheets and continue with the recipe as directed.
Makes: 3 dozen cookies
Take your bathroom from drab to fab with these easy decorating ideas!
Bathroom and kitchen renovations are known to give homeowners the biggest returns on their investment when they sell. But whether you’re doing a big renovation or just looking for ways to update your current bathroom and whether you intend to sell or not, these ideas for beautifying your bathroom will pay big returns in your overall satisfaction with your home. And you don’t have to have a $50,000 budget to do it. These affordable upgrades will add some serious style to your home without breaking the bank!
Renewal Divinity Small Mirror
What a difference something as simple as a mirror can make. The right one can transform the look of your bathroom and give it an updated, more stylish feel in an instant. The frame is made from hammered aluminum combined with beveled glass and can be hung vertically or horizontally, depending on your preference and the shape of the space you’re working in. Renewal Divinity Small Mirror, Wayfair, $380.46.
Flush Mount Bathroom Lighting Fixture
When renovating, it’s important to consider your lighting options for the type of space you have. So before you head to the lighting store, figure out whether it’d be best to go with flush mount, track lighting or sconces. No matter what you choose, illuminate your bathroom with a stunning light fixture that ties your bathroom’s whole look together and adds an appealing amount of sparkle and shine! Boasting a shiny chrome finish and a laser-cut inspired design on the lamp shade, this flush mounted lighting fixture will bring effortless elegance to your bathroom and is a simple way to take the look of the entire space from drab to fab! Flush Mount Bathroom Lighting Fixture, Multi Luminaire, $349.
Aroura Tile White and Gold Wallpaper
If you’ve always loved the look of wallpaper but have shied away from using it in the bathroom, it’s time to reconsider. Wallpaper has come a long way and today, there are lots of options on the market, many of which are suitable for moisture-rich environments. This gorgeous wallpaper has a mosaic pattern that mimics the look of tile and has a washable finish for easy clean-up. Aroura Tile White and Gold Wallpaper, Graham & Brown, $50/roll.
Metro Basket Weave White and Cobalt Porcelain Mosaic Tile
Flip through the pages of your favourite design magazine and you’re sure to see plenty of bathrooms boasting this contrasting basket weave tile to dramatic effect. Get the look for yourself with these tiles – but may we suggest opting for the white and cobalt colour combo as a subtle alternative to black and white? The rich cobalt will add a decidedly chic and unexpected look to your bathroom. Metro Basket Weave White and Cobalt Porcelain Mosaic Tile, Home Depot, $7.98 each.
Gleaming Brass Bath Collection
Upping the style quotient in your bathroom doesn’t get any easier than this! Swap out your existing vanity vessels for these truly chic options. The full set includes a soap dispenser, tumbler and tray, all in a beautiful brass finish. Gleaming Brass Bath Collection, Anthropologie, $22-$36.
Dot Medallion Shower Curtain
Looking for a quick and easy bathroom update that won’t break the bank? How about a new shower curtain? This 100% cotton curtain is made in India and features a modern medallion motif in a soothing colour palette of watercolour inspired shades of blue and grey. With this one simple addition to your bathroom, you’ll add an air of tranquility that will turn your bathroom into the oasis you always dreamed of. Dot Medallion Shower Curtain, West Elm, $29.99.