A few weeks ago I moved into a new apartment. While I was excited to start decorating, I knew that I would have to set a strict budget in order to keep myself fed and clothed. Decorating on a budget can be a challenge because, well, furniture is expensive. The list of necessities is long, and the cost can really add up. However, you can save yourself some serious cash if you are willing to hunt for hidden gems amongst Toronto’s antique and thrift shops.
I enlisted the help of an up-and-coming interior designer (and dear friend) looking to build her portfolio to design my 399 square foot bachelor in Queen West. Catie Warrington works at Catherine & Davis and she kindly offered her personal services so I could achieve my style on a dime.
When furnishing a new space on a budget, Catie explains “Look for vintage pieces that you can re-create into showpieces to show off your own distinct personality and style—the end product will be something that is uniquely yours.”
Catie suggests repainting and recovering gently used pieces to give them new life. There are videos online that show you how to spruce up furniture for a fraction of the price that you would pay for a similar product in the store.
Here is a list of Catie’s top stores to scour when decorating on a budget:
- Captain’s Treasures: 1185 Bloor Street – Head to the basement to search through a plethora of wooden chairs and tables. You can definitely find an entire dining room set for less than $200 here.
- Elegant Garage Sale: 1588 Bayview Avenue – The name reflects this store beautifully. There are tons of collectables here and great dishware to stock your cupboards with.
- Of Things Past: 185 Bridgeland Avenue – This consignment shop has everything from antiques, to contemporary, to art deco pieces. There is something for even the most discerning shopper.
- Queen West Antiques: 461 Queen Street West– Navigating through this store is difficult due to the amount of stuff in it, but search carefully and you will find fun knickknacks to accessorize your space with.
- Value Village: Find the closest location to you – You can never be sure what you will find at Value Village, but it is worth visiting to find deeply discounted pieces.
- Good Will: Find the closest location to you – You can furnish on the cheap and feel good about helping your community. What’s not to love?
- Ransack the Universe: 1207 Bloor Street West- Located in the basement below 69 Vintage, this store is a dream for anyone with eclectic taste. The 50’s diner style table and vinyl chairs were a steal at around $450.
- inVu Drapery Co.: 2748 Yonge Street – Fabric is your best friend when refinishing furniture and invu has every option you could ever want. The prices can be rather steep, so keep your eye out for fabrics that are on sale.
With a bit of patience and elbow grease, just about anyone can turn their house into a home, no matter the budget.