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3 Easy Ikea Hacks to Help You Save Space in Your Apartment

Let’s face it. Vancouver is not the most spacious of cities, especially for apartment dwellers. And chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re lacking space specifically in the bedroom area.

But fear not. A small space should be no cause for alarm with a few smart storage hacks up your sleeve. And these ones use materials available to anyone with a wi-fi signal and a few moments to spare for browsing

Turn your bookcase into a shoe rack

If you’re anything like us, you’re a lover of both shoes and books. And your current storage strategy is composed of various “organized piles” of both items, which your spouse accuses you of “planting” exactly where they “planned to step” that day.

While it’s cool to be accused of mind-reading (and stealth entrapment), it’s also sometimes cool to have a clear path to the door in case of, you know, fire or other emergencies.

Enter the Ikea BILLY bookcase, so ubiquitous in the living spaces of millennials that you might even already own one. Full-sized ones are only $55 brand new, but they are often sold for $20 or less on Craigslist or Marketplace and come in a variety of adaptable shapes and sizes.

But while the BILLY is primarily known as a holder of books, what most people don’t know is that it’s also the perfect size for holding shoes. Plop it in your closet and fill it up with shoes. That’s it! If you have any space left over, fill it with books.

Ikea Billy bookcase used as shoe rack


Don’t have a closet or live in a studio apartment? Take out the backing to use your new shoe rack as a room divider, creating some privacy.

PS: This “hack” barely belongs on this list as it requires no actual “hacking,” but it’s such an easy way to get rid of clutter we couldn’t not mention it.

Make a hybrid plant stand/end table

Plants! They add oxygen and beauty to any space—and bedrooms are no exception. But…they take up space, especially those trendy fiddle leaf fig trees.

Enter a popular Reddit hack for a side table that doubles as a plant stand. As pictured below, simply carve a keyhole shape from the center of your table towards one edge to ensure easy access.

hybrid end table/plant pot Ikea hack

Source: Reddit

The end table in the photos above is actually a BENJAMIN stool, which no longer appears to be in stock. But this hack would work equally as well on any simple side table, such as the LACK.

Declutter your narrow entryway

This narrow hallway hack from Redditor Riri_Maruchan involves two Hemnes shoe cabinets and has nothing to do with shoes. (Remember when we told you to create a shoe rack out of something that wasn’t a shoe rack earlier? Apparently we hate using shoe racks for their natural purpose.)

For our narrow entryway, we combined two Ikea Hemnes Shoe Cabinets and replaced the original tops with a stained wood top. I am so happy with how this hack turned out! from ikeahacks

The whole process is outlined here, but essentially you’re removing a leg and drilling some holes to mirror each other. All you need is an electric drill, different sized drill heads, some screws, and a ruler and pencil.

Consider painting it or using washi tape to create geometric patterns on it for an even more stylish effect.

DIY patterned cabinet (black and white geometric)

Source: Apartment Therapy

Because people with narrow entryways deserve a place to drop their keys/wallets/receipts/hand sanitizers too!


Top Tips for Pet Proofing Your Apartment 

Thinking about getting a pet? You wouldn’t be the only one. The BC SPCA is literally running out of dogs as thousands of people turn to pet adoption for comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic. And while pets can be a source of great comfort and love (not to mention a great reason to get outside every day), sharing your home with them is a whole other story. Your new roommate is basically a confident toddler, ready to swallow, lick, or poop on any available surface.

Here are our best tips to get started making your home safe for your pet and maintaining your own sanity.

6 tips for pet proofing your apartment

1. Raise your plants

Did you know a lot of houseplants (even the low-maintenance ones) are actually poisonous to pets? Plus, many varieties of succulents are encased in thin needles and spiky bits that could injure your pet.

But, while you may want to get rid of any toxic plants included on this list, having a pet doesn’t mean you can’t have any plants at all. You just have to keep them out of your pet’s reach—typically, the higher up the better. Perhaps even hanging from the ceiling, away from shelving that could serve as a climbing apparatus for particularly acrobatic cats. 

Also, consider keeping your plants in a space in the house that is off limits to your pets.

2. Gate off-limits areas

Speaking of “off limits,” you may wish to keep your pet out of some areas of your apartment all together, like your bathroom (medication, toilet bowl water, cleaning products) or your home office (electrical equipment, knick knacks, tools), or your kitchen while you’re cooking (knives, hot oil, general chaos). While you can use anything to erect a barrier to entry to these rooms, baby gates work particularly well, as your pet can still keep an eye on you from a distance. As in all relationships, it’s good to set boundaries.

On the flip side, you could also create an area that’s just for your pet, kind of like a play pen, that they could stay in while you are distracted with other tasks.

3. Use child-proof latches on cupboards

They say that pets are not the same as children, but when it comes to locking up your medicine…they really are. Child-proof latches are going to come in handy for all the cupboards in your apartment because basically anything you’d put in a cupboard is something you would not want your pet to eat: batteries, medication, alcohol, chocolate, cleaning products, detergent, sharp tools, etc. 

And yes, you could train them to simply not open cupboards, but better to be safe than sorry.

PS: If you can’t get a hold of child proof latches, it also helps to have cupboards with no handles. How are you going to figure that one out Princess?

4. Tie up cords and wires

Dogs love to chew on cords. Unfortunately they are quite uneducated on the topic of how electricity works, so they are likely to chew a cord that is plugged in. Just thinking about a dog entering my home office right now, which is basically a single desk and a giant pile of loose cords under said desk, is giving me an anxiety attack. 

Luckily it’s relatively easy to get your loose cords out of site and out of mind. Tie them up and store them out of your pet’s reach, and/or encase them in a plastic cord protector. Bonus: doing this will probably lengthen the life of your cords as well. 

5. Use a trash can with a lid

Pets love trash. And while having a doggo dig through and spread your trash all over your apartment is not ideal, it can also be dangerous. Think about what you throw in your garbage on a daily basis…it’s probably nothing that’s going to make your pet feel better if they ingest it. Better to keep a lid on all your garbage receptacles. And that goes for recycling and compost bins too. 

Bonus: lids also keep stinky garbage from smelling up your apartment.

6. Keep clutter minimal 

Your apartment will probably never be 100% pet proof (How are cats so smart, honestly? It’s creepy and they need to stop.), but opting for a minimalist aesthetic is one easy way to reduce the risk of your pet injuring themselves and/or damaging things you love. With less clutter around, your pet will have less temptation to chew, swallow, or bump into dangerous things. 

If there are any hazards in your apartment, like a fallen wire or puddle of bleach, they’ll stand out immediately in a clear, open space, and you’ll be able to clean them up before your pet finds them. It’ll also be easier to see when it’s time to vacuum.

5 Underrated Vancouver Patios to Visit Before the End of Summer

If you’re anything like us, you probably can’t believe it’s almost the end of summer already. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the BC Parks website opened for campsite reservations? (It was 3 months ago.) Did that month of gruelling cold rain happen in March or June? (The answer is both.) 

But whether or not your grasp on time’s cruel progression is hanging by a thread, it’s understandable that you may wish to spend summer’s last days safely dining in the out of doors, an appropriate distance away from your friends, sipping on some wine, and soaking up some sun. It’s a great way to support your local restaurants and feel a shred of normalcy in these unprecedented times. 

Below are some of our favourite under-the-radar spots, so you can avoid crowds and lineups, while still making the most of the summer.

PS: Wear a mask and be kind to your servers, of course!

5 Vancouver patios to try before the end of summer

Juice Bar

This natural wine bar has used several parking spots in front of its Gastown location to create a beautiful outdoor patio fit for casual, stylish drinks and snacks with up to five friends at a time. Come for the thoughtful wine recommendations, stay for the vegan “ham” chips. Say the word “effervescent” more than you ever thought you would. And take a bottle home with you if you really like it! 

Container Brewing

There are a lot of breweries in East Van. But if an alien from outer space landed in your backyard and said, “Take me to an East Van brewery”, you would take them to Container. Tucked away in the surprisingly quiet corner formed by Hastings and Clark, you’ll find a friendly, plaid-bedecked brew staff serving about 5 different IPAs in a charmingly grungy parking lot against the backdrop of an old shipping container stamped with the warning “East Van rats live here”. And even though we’re talking about patios here, it should be mentioned that the tasting room is quite beautiful and airy. The staff sprays your hands with hand sanitizer the moment you walk in to order, which is much appreciated.  


This relatively new tapas restaurant has adapted their Japanese West Coast menu to parking lot dining chic and we’re not mad about it. What’s not to love about a stellar wine selection, fresh oysters, and the cutest homemade individual hand sanitizers you’ve ever seen? With a touch of a Palm Springs vibe, this is the perfect place to relax on a Friday night. And if the patio is full, take a picnic-to-go to Pandora Park one block away. Bonus: there’s even a little dog house for your canine pal to relax in as well.


This Strathcona mainstay is for breakfast lovers. Ricotta pancakes, shakshuka, and other delicious brunch delights are served until 3 pm on this modest, but beloved patio. But the lunch menu is nothing to scoff at either. Think tofu banh-mi and the perfect muffaletta served with a mug of coffee or a fresh aperol spritz.


Ever wonder where to find the second best chocolate chip cookie in Vancouver? Probably not. You probably wonder where to find the best chocolate chip cookie in Vancouver. But we don’t want to argue about chocolate chip cookie rankings right now. All you need to know is that Kafka’s chocolate chip cookie is soft and chocolatey and just the right amount of salty. It’s our second favourite chocolate chip cookie in the city—and that’s after tasting a lot of different chocolate chip cookies over many years. You can munch on it with a cup of responsibly brewed coffee at Kafka’s Great Northern Way location, which has a spacious patio perfect for working on that screenplay you’ve always dreamed of writing, or just scribbling any pandemic-fuelled anxieties in your diary. Whatever. Coffee and cookies make everything better!


5 Vancouver Home Decor Shops to Support During the Pandemic (and Always)

We may be in Phase 3 of the coronavirus pandemic, but many of us are still spending more time in our homes than ever before. Like us, you may have realized that your walls are looking a little bare. Or your home office is straight up unfinished. Maybe you never got around to accessorizing your bookcase with anything other than, well, books.

You could browse the Ikea catalogue online for hours searching for the perfect accent chair for your livingroom. Or, you could shop a little more close to home. Still online, of course! Or at least wearing a mask.

Many small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19, so why not spend your money where it counts: at a Vancouver-based home decor shop that has thoughtfully curated a selection of beautiful items for your home? The people who own these shops are experts. And they’ve done all the hard work for you. What’s not to like?

Here are some of our favourite local home decor shops below. Most are offering online shopping and curbside pickup options.

5 Vancouver home decor shop to support

Old Faithful

Located in Gastown, walking into Old Faithful Shop can be dangerous because it’s the kind of home goods store that makes parting with your money far too easy. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t go in. You definitely should. Predicated on the idea that every item in your home should be trusty, well-built, and unique—i.e., an “old faithful”—Old Faithful Shop is the antithesis of Ikea. You can trust that your money will be well spent.

Besides being well-built, the owners have curated a collection of modern design-conscious items from plant pots, to blankets, to mugs, glassware, and more. Bonus if you’re looking for Japanese-crafted items at the height of contemporary design.

PS: Thinking of adding plants to your home? Read our guide on the easiest indoor plants to start with.

Vancouver Special

Located in between the Mount Pleasant and Riley Park neighbourhoods, Vancouver Special has been offering up contemporary, beautifully designed home goods to Vancouverites since 2008. And you know it’s legit because it’s owned by a former architect.

With a special eye towards Scandinavian design, this shop is not just for home decor and nick nacks. It’s a treasure trove of colorful, modern furniture as well. So it’s perfect for both decorating your home from scratch and adding unique after touches. Plus, the impressively curated collection of art and architecture books lend inspiration if you don’t know where to start.

Nineteen Ten

Contrary to what the name suggests, you won’t find old-fashioned, turn-of-the-century vintage settees at this Mount Pleasant, women-owned shop. Instead, the primary keywords for this home accessories store are “modern rustic” and “industrial chic”. If Edison bulbs, upcycled fabric, and distressed wood picture frames sound intriguing to you, then it’s certainly worth checking out—especially if you’re in the market for affordable accent pieces.

And the name? 1910 is the same year Coco Chanel started her famed fashion business, an important inspiration for the owners.

Walrus Design Inc.

Feeling patriotic? Walrus Design Inc is a Cambie Village lifestyle shop that curates its collection with an eye towards Canadian design.

You’ll find well-crafted, functional and playful items like bean bag chairs (that actually look cool), squid ink ceramic cups, and tea light centerpieces that resemble barnacles. Stop by if you’re looking for stand-out items that are particularly unique, but still durable. The collection is extremely diverse, and pretty kid friendly too. You may even walk out feeling like you’ve learned something about design.

Good Omen Shop

Hidden on a side street in New Westminster, the unassuming Good Omen Shop will draw you in with its minimalist style and checkerboard floors. But you won’t leave without a yuzu and birch scented candle or some Salish Sea salt scrub.

Good Omen carries more than just home accessories. It’s collection emphasizes independent designers from the Pacific Northwest, so shopping here packs a double punch in terms of supporting the local economy. Everything also seems thoughtfully chosen to make your home a relaxing, calm space, with soothing neutrals and soft fabrics that are easy to imagine snuggling up in while watching yet another season of the Great British Bake Off.

5 Easy Spring Cleaning Hacks for Procrastinators

Ah, spring…the season of renewal, rebirth, and (usually) resuming social interaction after a long hibernation. Maybe, like us, you’ve left your spring cleaning to the last minute and have just realized that spring is over, but you still need to get the job done. Or maybe you’re reading this in the fall, and just want to sneak in a deep clean of your apartment before your mother-in-law comes over for dinner.

Whenever you’re reading this—spring, summer, fall, or winter—these 5 tips can help speed up the process of deep cleaning your home so you can get back to planning social-distanced picnics with your friends in the park.

5 spring cleaning hacks for procrastinators

Steam-clean your microwave

Did someone microwave your delicious homemade chili without a lid (not naming any names Rob) three months ago? Are there now bits of beans and tomato sauce plastered to the walls of your microwave like cement? Have no fear.

Rumour has it that microwaving a cup of water with ⅓ of a cup of vinegar in it for about 4 minutes will loosen the grime, leaving you the simple job of wiping everything clean in one swipe.

Refresh your dishwasher

A dishwasher is for washing dishes, right? Yes. But who washes the dishwasher itself?

Maybe this question blew your mind (as it did ours). If you think about it though, not washing your dishwasher is akin to hand washing your dishes with a dirty sponge—inefficient and full of bacteria.

If you notice that your dishes aren’t getting as clean as usual or have a funky “dishwasher” smell, you may need to clean your dishwasher. Try placing a cup of vinegar on the top shelf and running your dishwasher on the hottest cycle. Then, run a shorter hot cycle with a sprinkle of baking soda around the bottom.

Clean your shower head

Speaking of cleaning devices that need to be cleaned themselves, did you know your shower head can get clogged with mineral deposits?

If you notice your shower head isn’t as powerful as it used to be, or is spraying unevenly, try running it through your dishwasher. If your shower head isn’t removable, soak it in a bag of vinegar overnight (secure it with a hair tie).

Use salad tongs to clean your blinds

Honestly, salad tongs are useful for many things that don’t involve salad. For one, they can help you clean your blinds—maybe in the home office you’ve recently set up for yourself?

Covering each tong with a reusable dry rag and securing them with elastics can help you clean both the top and underside of each blind simultaneously—and help you access those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Clean your oven racks in the bathtub

Oven racks attract grime and grease like no other surface in your home. After years of baked casseroles and frozen pizza (no judgement), it’s easy to forget what they looked like when you first bought them (the answer: shiny and sparkling!). Plus, they’re a fire hazard.

So how do you revert them to their original glory? Soak them overnight in baking soda and water and then wipe them clean. Use your bathtub instead of your sink to fit all your racks in at once. Rinse and dry them before replacing them in the oven.

How to Create a Home Office you Actually Want to Work in

When it comes to working from home (something a lot more of us are doing lately), having a home office in which you enjoy spending can make all the difference. Let’s face it: Zooming your co-workers from bed seems like a dream, but in reality it’s a boundary dissolving nightmare. Eventually your brain will forget that your bed is a safe, stress-free zone, and you’ll start composing passive aggressive emails in your sleep.

Better to keep your work life in its own space. Preferably that space is an enclosed, private spot with nice lighting, comfortable seating, and generally calm vibes. But not everyone can afford the luxury of a dedicated work space in their home.

The following tips will help you turn any space into a productive, functional work space—whether it’s enclosed or not.

5 tips for creating a home office you actually want to work in

Choose a distinct space

It can be challenging to keep clear boundaries between work and your personal life when you’re working from home.

In order to keep those boundaries strong, it’s ideal to dedicate one room of your home to work only. That way your brain will learn that—like your real life office—it’s time to work when you enter this space.

If you don’t have an extra room in your house, that’s ok. Try setting up the same piece of art or plant or trinket wherever you’re working at the start of each day to signify to your brain that you’re working.

Same goes for the end of the day. Remove the trinket in order to tell your brain that the workday is over.

Adjust the lighting

One of the benefits of working from home is that you’re no longer beholden to your office’s energy-sapping fluorescent lights.

Try to take advantage of as much natural daylight as possible. Your days will feel less like a vortex of meetings and emails if you can look outside and note the weather or angle of the sun. Plus, vitamin D is a great mood booster.

Install some blinds or curtains to reduce glare from your computer screen on sunny days.

And if you’re not close to a window, find a fun lamp with at least 60W (but no more than 100W) that gives you a soft glow-up for Zoom calls.

Splurge on ergonomics

This one explains itself. Working in front of a computer all day is bad for your body. And a body that’s free of back pain for as long as possible is priceless. Here are three quick things you can do to ergonomically-optimize your workspace:

  • Screen height: keep your posture neutral by keeping your monitor at eye level, whether you’re sitting or standing. Position it at least 20 inches from your eyes (about an arm’s length).
  • Chair: Get an adjustable chair that supports your back and arms, allows your feet to touch the ground, and helps you maintain a neutral posture. It doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as it does these three things.
  • Support your wrists: Get a wrist rest, which can help you avoid carpal tunnel syndrome from typing all day.

Surround yourself with inspiration

Now here’s the fun part.

How long has it been since you created a vision board? 25 years? Us too.

Use the walls of your office as a space to remind yourself of the things that make you happy in life—and the things you aspire to achieve. That means decorating it with the same abandon you decorated your teenage bedroom with, but with paint-safe tape and less pictures of Leonardo Dicaprio.

Whether it’s beautiful art, framed records of your achievements, photographs of vacations, family members, or people you admire, make sure there’s something nice to catch your eye and remind you why you do what you do when you look up from your 99th email of the day.

Don’t forget about scent

Smell has a powerful impact on our moods. Liven up your home office with a few fresh houseplants that double as air filters and natural humidifiers.

For extra effect, try an essential oil diffuser and let a little aromatherapy into your life. Now that you don’t have to worry about Cheryl from HR getting a headache, you can make your room smell like whatever you want.

Here are a few guidelines for the relationship between scents and mood:

  • Lemon is thought to promote concentration
  • Lavender has calming and stress-relieving properties
  • Rosemary is stimulating and can help fight mental fatigue
  • Peppermint is an energy-booster and is believed to promote clear thinking (besides clearing the nasal passages).

Now that you’re armed with these essential home office design tips, go forth a build yourself a space you enjoy spending time in — even if you’re stressed about work.

5 Low Maintenance Houseplants and Where to Get Them in Vancouver

There’s no easier way to liven up an indoor space than by adding actual life to it—i.e., plant life. Welcoming a few well-chosen houseplants into your home can add colour and depth to any room, and improve air quality.

And due to a boom in popularity in apartment decorating trends (just search #plantsagram on Instagram to see what we’re talking about), affordable, quality houseplants are easier to buy than ever before.

The best part is you don’t necessarily need a green thumb to benefit from the room-changing magic of plants. There are plenty of varieties out there that actually prefer to be left alone, or at the very least, an erratic water scheduling. They don’t need a special touch, or a specific amount of sunlight, or even a fancy mister.

They won’t complain if you’re out of town for a couple of days. In fact, they might prefer it.

Here’s our five recommendations for houseplants that will spruce up your apartment without requiring a ton of effort.

5 low maintenance houseplants

1. Jade plant

jade plant
Credit: Succulent City

You’ve probably seen a jade plant before and thought to yourself, “That plant is adorable, but it looks super hard to look after.” And while it’s true that most beautiful things don’t exist without some sort of effort, it’s definitely not true for the jade plant.

You only have to water this plant every 2-3 weeks. It prefers dry conditions with lots of direct sunlight. So make sure you place it by a window.

2. Philodendrons

Credit: Revive Nursery

Philodendrons are perfect for beginner indoor gardeners because they can adapt to almost any environment. They thrive in indirect sunlight (near-ish to a window), but will survive darker spaces too.

You know to water you philodendron when the soil surface gets dry. It won’t mind if you forget to water it every so often, but just make sure not to over water it or else the roots will rot.

3. Snake plant

Credit: Ansel & Ivy

Snake plants are famous air purifiers that only require watering every two weeks. Their sunlight needs are not extreme; they thrive in medium to bright indirect light, but will adapt to darker conditions.

4. Succulents

Credit: Save-On Crafts

We haven’t listed out each type of succulent here because there’s too many to name. But know that whichever one (or three you choose), these famous desert plants are experts at conserving water. You could leave them alone for months and, though they might look a little worse for wear, they probably wouldn’t be dead yet.

That said, place your succulents in as direct sunlight as possible and water them only when you can feel that the soil is really dry.

The time length between waterings will depend on the succulent. Don’t be afraid to test different cadences to see what works.

5. Christmas cactus

Credit: Country Living

This stunning hanging plant typically blooms during the holiday season (hence its name). But don’t be fooled by the word “cactus”. This houseplant actually prefers humid environments.

Water it whenever the top inch of soil gets dry and keep it in bright, indirect sunlight. If you want to encourage blooming, make sure it’s getting some time in the dark before the holidays.

Where to buy houseplants in Vancouver

You can always stop by Ikea or Home Depot for your houseplant needs in a pinch. But these local, independent options will get you started on the right path and help you get to know the neighbourhood.

Figaro’s Garden

This East Vancouver plant shop sells both indoor and outdoor plants that have been cultivated with “environmentally sound horticulture.” It’s a fixture in the neighbourhood and the staff is very knowledgeable.

Bloom Room Botanical Gallery

Located in Mount Pleasant, Bloom Room is more than just a plant shop. It’s an experience. The plants here are treated like the artistic design pieces they are. Prepare to be inspired.

Flower Factory

Another Mount Pleasant mainstay, this shop is mostly known for its floral designs. But it also sells a variety of succulents at good prices.

Plant Therapy

This downtown plant shop is known for its large selection of houseplants and pots and knowledgeable staff. Affordable prices will make all your Pinterest dreams come true.

Hunter’s Garden Centre

A mainstay of plant shopping in Kitsilano, this garden centre does it all, including indoor and outdoor plants, and even seedlings (if you want to grow your own from scratch). They also have a Surrey location.

4 Interior Design Trends to Inspire You in 2020

Looking to freshen up your rental space, but not sure where to start? Why not start on the cutting edge of interior design?

2020 is a big year for interiors, marking a shift away from the currently popular minimalist style and towards bold colours and patterns instead. We also see tastes trending towards the latter half of the 20th century rather than the middle section (but not as late as the 1980s yet, thank goodness).

As interior stylists let color back into their homes, they are bringing softer fabrics and shapes too. Think cozy, opulent, eclectic, and joyful. These are the vibes that will carry us all into 2020 and beyond.

1. Maximalism

A maximalist living room
Source: Black Southern Belle

According to the 2020 Ikea catalog, minimalism may have peaked in 2019—the year in which Marie Kondo turned her extremely popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up into an even more popular Netflix show.

Within the pages of said catalog, you’ll no longer find white walls and infinity shades of grey, mid-century couches. Instead you’ll find boldly patterned pillow shams, artfully cluttered collage walls, brightly coloured velvet couches, and even disco balls. These are just some of the hallmarks of maximalism, a design aesthetic defined by excess and redundancy.

While a minimalist designer might live by the motto “less is more,” a maximalist designer would embrace the idea that “more is more.” And in 2020, it seems that most people are ready to embrace the latter.

But maximalism doesn’t necessarily mean messy. In fact, some would argue that a maximalist interior style is even more difficult to pull off than a minimalist one, as it requires an artful eye for layering and knowing which colors and patterns work well together.

To pull off a maximalist apartment, embrace your inner child and shop with your gut. Maximalism allows you to showcase your own personality, as is clear in this mural-filled California home, and there are almost no rules.

Hint: If you’re going to wallpaper in your rental, do yourself a favour and make it removable.

2. Rounded shapes

rounded orange velvet couch in livingroom
Credit: Livingetc

Mid-century modern furniture has been dominating the interior design market for the last decade. And rightly so. Clean lines, solid wood, beautiful craftsmanship—what more could you ask for from your chairs?

Turns out, a lot more. Tastes always repeat themselves, just like history. And it turns out that interior design tastes are moving away from the 40s and 50s and into the 60s and 70s. We can see this most clearly in the new popularity of curved furniture.

Think this velvet feather collection bed frame from Anthropologie, or this blush sofa from Coleman Furniture, or this Roar + Rabbit pleated ottoman from West Elm, or this deep green velvet swivel armchair from Structube.

3. Power clashing patterns

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I feel like this image is an opportunity for a post about pattern clashing, but then that sounds a bit too much like rules to me. Sorry I've been a bit absent lately, I've just been feeling a bit off and trying to get my head back in the game. Whatever the game might be. As much as I hate to admit it, having a tidy house does help with my messy mind. It doesn't come naturally to me, it's not how I work, whereas Sam might be the tidiest guy ever forced to live amongst my chaos. I'm painting splodges on the wall and arranging old knick knacks faster than he can squeegee the shower (which he does EVERY single day) – the fact that he can deal with me and my mess is testament to his excellent mental health and general amazingness. Though maybe I don't give myself enough credit for living with a guy that actually folds his undies and won't eat breakfast for dinner (or at any non-breakfast time). We're basically Mark & Jez from peep show, but it works. Taken on my #huaweip30nz . . . . #myboldhues #mycuratedaesthetic #eclecticinteriors #colormyhome #colorfulhome #ihavethisthingwithpink #roundroom #gallerywallhashtag #gallerywalldecor #homesweethome #colourmyhome #whpcolorwheel #boldbohemians #gatheredstyle #foundforaged #duluxnz

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If you can’t embrace a fully maximalist lifestyle, that’s fine. Take your first baby-towards it by embracing power clashing instead. That’s right: polka dots and stripes, on the same couch. It’s a power move.

This trend is where the details of your home get to shine. Maybe you have a grey couch, but you can spruce it up by adorning it with some truly outlandish throw pillows and blankets. Or get out your staple gun and reupholster your chairs with that flamingo fabric you’ve been dreaming of. Maybe even trade your white linen curtains in for something textured and colorful.

Here’s Apartment Therapy’s guide to pattern mixing. Hint: 3 patterns is the magic number.

4. Colourful tiles

green tiled bathroom
Credit: Heju

The 2020 Ikea Catalog is full of symmetrical, colourful tiles in all shapes and sizes for backsplash building and bathroom decorating.

Is your apartment blessed with a boring bathroom? Look no further than these examples of bathrooms that have been completely enlivened by colourful tiles. Free yourself from the tyranny of the white and gold bathroom now. It’s time to pretend we all live in California!

And speaking of tiles, irregular backsplashes are a new trend too. Check these examples for backsplashes that use interestingly shaped tiles to create unexpectedly “live” edges.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Shade of White Paint for Your Walls

Thinking of painting your apartment white? You wouldn’t be the only one. White walls tend to make spaces look brighter, more open, and bigger than they actually are.

They also provide a clean, minimalist backdrop for art and furniture, making them a beginner decorator’s dream.

However, it’s not as simple as walking into the paint store and choosing the first shade of white that catches your eye. No white paint looks the same in two places. Plus there’s about 5,000+ shades to choose from.

We’ve broken down the most important things to keep in mind while you’re shopping for white paint, and listed some of the most popular choices below.

5 tips for choosing the right shade of white paint

1. Consider the whole spectrum of white

Cool whites generally have blue undertones, making a space look clean and crisp, while also allowing statement art pieces to stand out. They complement other deep blues, purples, and greens, and look great in rooms with lots of natural light.

modern livingroom with grey-ish white wall, grey couch, coffeetable

E.g., Sherwin Williams’ Pure White or Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White

Warm whites are mixed with yellow or red. They provide soft, welcoming vibes, and look good in rooms with lots of neutral tones and wood furniture. Think cream vs. chalk.

kitchen with warm white walls

E.g., Sherwin Williams’ Dover White or Benjamin Moore’s Simply White

Pure whites are the most versatile of the white shades, as they have the least amount of undertones. They contribute a modern feel to any space, and complement other bold colors in the room. If you have a very eclectic style, pure whites may be the best choice for you. However, with too many other neutral pieces, this color may begin to look sterile and uninviting.

white wall paint 3

E.g. Sherwin Williams’ Extra White or Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace

2. Test the same shade in different rooms

It’s ideal to use the same shade of paint throughout your whole apartment for a continuous feel (it also makes touch ups easier in the future). But sometimes, depending on the lighting, flooring, or furniture, one shade of white will look good in one room and too yellow or blue in another.

Ask your paint store for 9×12 painted swatches of white, as the tiny ones provided in store will barely help you test at home. Then hang them side-by-side in all the rooms of your apartment. You may end up choosing a slightly different shade of white for a room that has no natural light, or just going with one shade that generally looks good in all the rooms.

3. Test the same shade at different times of day

Leave your paint swatches up for 24 hours and note how different they look throughout the day. Perhaps one warm shade looks good in the morning when there’s lots of natural light, but begins to look too yellow-y when the light fades by afternoon. Maybe your pure white looks too sterile at night when not mixed with any natural light.

4. Consider the lighting

Does your lighting have a lot of blue in it? This may have the unfortunate effect of giving white paint with yellow undertones a green tinge.

Pink tinted light may make cool whites appear a bit purple. Harsh white light may make pure whites appear blindingly white.

If your apartment has lots of natural light, consider that Vancouver’s natural light often has grey undertones, which makes it a great pairing for cool whites with grey undertones.

Make sure to test all your paint swatches with both the artificial and natural lighting in your home. They won’t look the same as they do in the store.

5. Consider the furniture

If you have lots of heavy wooden furniture, or any furniture made out of natural materials like marble, granite, linen, wool, warm whites are often your best bet. Big bold pieces like a lavender couch or navy blue bookshelf may call for cooler whites.

Test your paint swatches near the largest pieces of furniture in your home to see which white complements them best.