Designing a home to make it your own can spark creative joy for some and pose as a daunting task for others.

Either way, getting professional help from an interior designer or home stager is a great place to start.  While professionals have access to vendors and trade-specific retailers or wholesalers, some of their go-to places – and the source of some of their favourite pick-ups – are easily accessible to the everyday homeowner and may even be found in your neighbourhood!

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New Favourites

“A new store called Home Société (recently opened) and it is officially my new favourite store! It is a concept store, so they are opening a lunch spot that is comparable to Buca— expect to see me hanging out there a lot this summer,” said Jaclyn Genovese, Interior Designer and founder of Spaces by JacFlash

“Home Société carries contemporary, designer furniture at diverse price points, so there is definitely something for everyone there.”

Arren Williams, Designer, Co-Founder of Casa Cubista, and former Creative Director of Home for Hudson’s Bay, also dubbed Home Société, located near Yorkdale Shopping Centre, as his brand-new favourite. The other has roots from another province.

“The first Maison Corbeil furniture store outside of Quebec. It's always inspiring to see new collections displayed in such an inspiring space,” Williams said.

The best finds at Home Société? For Genovese, her favourite piece so far is the Flou bed, an electronic fully- adjustable bed that will help you achieve a personalized level of relaxation while allowing your partner to do the same.

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For Williams, his favourite find also blends function and style.

“They have a channel-stitched leather sofa based on an original 70's design that I just can't wait to use in a space. It's both sculptural and very comfortable.”

The Familiar Names with Unexpected Finds

As a designer, I don’t shop at the retail level a whole lot, but when I do, I head straight to ELTE,” says Sarah Walker, Interior Designer of The Curated House.

“As Toronto’s longest standing retailer of rugs, furnishings and lighting, they have a well-earned voice within the Toronto design community. The store is beautifully curated and truly expansive, meaning I can find everything from large furniture pieces and statement-making rugs to the perfect accessories and finishing touches all in one place.”

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Walker explains ELTE has been her go-to place where she’s always found that perfect piece for her client's who can never pick a favourite.

For Marie Whittaker, Owner and Lead Stylist for Couture Staging, her familiar favourite place to shop might just be yours too.

“I love Homesense for their unique and on-trend items – can’t beat the prices either,” she said.

“The best piece I’ve found at Homesense is my artwork collection that I’ve been slowly adding to over time. They have a wide variety from modern abstract paintings to beautiful photography prints.”

With a budget in mind, Value Village is Jaclyn Genovese’s other “secret weapon.” She says she frequently scours the aisles and keeps a collection of used treasures on hand for staging and other client projects.

Go Vintage

There are several vintage shops and markets throughout the GTA, but if you’re looking for an eclectic variety at great prices, take it from a pro and make a trip to Puslinch, Ontario about an hour from downtown Toronto.

“My favourite place to find hidden gems for furniture is vintage and antique stores or markets,” Whittaker said.

“The best one is located in Puslinch called Aberfoyle Antique Market.”

The market has been in business for more than 60 years and hosts more than 100 dealers throughout their season. When shopping for vintage or antique pieces, Whittaker recommends looking for pieces that will work with today’s trends; clean lines or solid wood for example. In terms of negotiating prices at a market, try a simple counter-offer to lower the price, but do so mindfully.

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“Going too low usually insults the seller, so stay around asking price and see where it goes,” she advises.

For vintage finds closer to the core, Bettencourt Manor on Queen Street East is another go-to for designers.

“I love their ever-changing mix of vintage finds, and always find pieces for the interior projects I'm working on,” said Arren Williams.

For stylist and designer Christine Dovey, her latest favourite pickups from Bettencourt Manor include 250 vintage pink floral prints.

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“This store showcases the most fabulously curated mix of vintage I've seen in the city,” Dovey said.

“It has all those one-of-a-kind pieces that make a space feel interesting, layered and artistic.”

Other Hidden Gems

Black Rooster Decor What the pros are saying: Has a variety of furniture and décor – especially for perfect room accents.

Art Interiors What the pros are saying: A Toronto-based gallery that offers original art for sale in a variety of sizes and prices.

Door Store What the pros are saying: They offer an incredible selection of architectural salvage and vintage, a great place for statement pieces.

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When shopping for furniture and décor to fill your home, all the professionals echoed the same advice – you don’t have to shop or buy everything all at once. Take your time to do your research, consider your lifestyle, how you’ll use the space, and plan a theme around how your home should feel and look for you and your family.

Finally, make the space yours. While trends, colours and accents may change throughout the seasons, picking décor and furniture that reflect your personal style and story will truly make your house a home.

Style + Décor