How to Decorate Small Spaces Like a Pro

Written By: Elizabeth Stamp
Decorating small spaces can feel like an impossible puzzle. You want to fit as much in as possible, but the room mustn’t feel cramped. You want it to be filled with personality, but it can’t look chaotic and cluttered. But it’s possible to have a small space that’s as stylish (or perhaps even more so) as their sprawling counterparts. Whether you’re starting out in a studio apartment or choosing to live a more minimalist existence, you don’t need to sacrifice style. We’ve gathered our favorite ideas for decorating small spaces to help you tackle your own petite dwelling.

Keep the Floor Clear

You need space for the essentials, but even the most perfectly decorated small room doesn’t work if you can’t walk in it. Try floating pieces, such as shelves and nightstands, to keep the ground clear of obstacles and create space for extra storage beneath if needed. Opt for sconces and wall lights rather than floor lamps.

Go for Folding Pieces

You may need a desk and a dining table, but do you really need them 24-7? Consider installing furnishings that can fold up when not in use. You’ll free up floor space and avoid the stacks of mail and work that inevitably pile up on these surfaces. If you have a one-wall kitchen, folding doors can conceal clutter when not in use.

An EllwoodLomax dropfront desk in the living room

Focus on Lighting

Small spaces can often end up feeling dark due to small or nonexistent windows. Make up for the lack of natural light by adding plenty of light sources in every room, from the kitchen to the bedroom. Combine striking ceiling fixtures—either a pretty pendant or elegant flush mount, depending on your ceiling height—with sconces or table lamps for a cozy and bright atmosphere.

Mirrors Are Your Friend

If you’re not blessed with an abundance of natural light, mirrors can help you make the most of what you do have by reflecting it around the room. Mirrors can also help make the space feel bigger, giving the illusion of a few more square feet. Consider lining a wall with a large mirror or creating a gallery wall of different sizes and shapes.

Choose the Right Rug

A rug is the one item you definitely don’t want to skimp on, size-wise. A tiny rug will make the room feel equally small. Pick a floor covering that’s large enough so most of the furniture will sit on it, or go wall-to-wall.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Bold

Having a small space doesn’t mean it has to be a white box. You can still go bold with color and embrace the size of your apartment. A darker shade of paint on the walls and ceiling can make the space feel like a jewel box.

Keep It Cohesive

There are only so many things to look at in a small space, so make sure they all fit. Stick to a limited color palette, whether it’s light and airy or dark and dramatic. Looking at items with an editor’s eye will help make sure pieces really belong and keep the space from becoming cluttered.

Find Pieces that Earn Their Place

Make the most of your space by finding furnishings that also boast storage. Opt for a bed with built-in drawers or benches and ottomans with space to hide away extra blankets or sweaters. In a small space, every piece needs to pull its weight: A daybed can serve as both a sofa and a guest bed.

Image may contain Indoors Room Bedroom Furniture Bed and Dorm Room

Let Pieces Breathe

Nothing screams “I don’t have enough room” quite like furniture pressed up against the wall and tucked so tightly together that it’s practically stacked. Pull furnishings away from the wall if you can and make sure there’s space between pieces. (You may have to get rid of anything that isn’t used on a daily basis, like side tables or accent chairs.)

Play With Scale

There’s no need to use pint-size furniture and decor in a small space. The key is choosing a few statement pieces that will really draw the eye. You can use regular-size furniture and large-scale art; you’ll just need to use fewer pieces in the room overall.

Open shelving and why it’s worth taking a closer look

Written by:  Linda Mazur


We have been seeing the trend of open shelving in kitchens for a few years now, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. We love the open shelf look in kitchens and try to incorporate often in our designs. It’s not a look that necessarily works for everyone, or for every space, but when possible, it’s a nice way to inject a little modern vibe to your space

There are many benefits to introducing open shelving in your new kitchen plans. Eliminating stretches of closed-door cabinetry can visually create a more spacious and brighter look in your kitchen. Removing cabinetry, especially those around windows, can often allow for greater natural light to fill the room and produce a lovely look and feel. This all helps to create a warm and welcoming feel in your kitchen.

The one resistance I always encounter to open shelving has to do with clutter and the dust. However, once you commit to open shelving in the kitchen, you will likely quickly commit to decluttering and keeping them looking pretty. Closed door cabinetry hides your mess, so basically you end up not really noticing how disorganized and cluttered your kitchen really is. Clients often initially object to open shelves in the kitchen, then end up loving the simplicity, organization and functionality of their new approach. There’s simply no longer a hidden junk zone.

When planning your kitchen design, one thing to keep in mind also is that open shelving is a great budget friendly option to full cabinetry. It’s also useful if you just want to give your kitchen a quick facelift. Removing a few cabinets, introducing some open shelving and applying a quick coat of paint can be an economical way to add new life to your space, if a full renovation isn’t in the budget or part of the plan for a while.

If you’re a collector or have special mementos, the open shelving option is for you. Why keep your grandmother’s pretty serving pieces hidden in a cabinet, when you can see and enjoy them daily? Create stylish little vignettes on your shelves by incorporating heirloom or collector pieces with plants, artwork, glassware and your everyday pieces to personalize your space giving it a look all your own. You can also change these vignettes according to the seasons… A vintage Christmas cookie jar on display with some fresh greenery and various other festive pieces is the perfect way to add some holiday cheer to your kitchen.

Open shelving is also a great way to address functionality or any issues with odd corners and unusable space in your kitchen, instead of instead of trying to fit an awkwardly shaped, and likely under-used, cabinet. It also allows you to efficiently use a lot of wasted space that may not be conducive to cabinetry, especially when considering small space kitchen design. Open shelves can be installed just about anywhere to afford you additional storage space, for example, over windows and doorways.

Yes, open shelves are a trendy look in the kitchen, but its a look that affords many benefits. Take the opportunity to bring out those pretty dishes from behind closed doors to give your kitchen a personal touch!

COVID-19: Burlington moving to level red in Province’s COVID-19 framework

Burlington, Ont. — Feb. 12, 2021 — The City of Burlington is preparing to resume some city services and programs following an announcement today by the provincial government that Halton Region, including the City of Burlington, will move to level red in the Province’s COVID-19 framework, effective Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 12:01 a.m.

A complete list of the public health and workplace safety measures for each zone under the colour-coded response framework is available at the Province of Ontario’s website.

Under level red, the city services listed below will be delivered as follows: Learn more


10 Decluttering Projects You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less

Written By: Laura Gaskill
Let’s face it: Clearing clutter doesn’t usually top our list of fun things to do. Sure, the joy of a clutter-free space is something we can all get behind, but finding the time (and the motivation) to make it happen is quite another matter. That’s where quickie clutter clearing comes in. Instead of waiting for that mythical perfect storm of ample time, energy and motivation to appear (spoiler alert — it’s not coming), why not take the reins and decide to make progress, one tiny project at a time? Here are 10 easy places to begin. Ready, set, start that timer.
1. Food Storage Containers
Open up that messy Tupperware drawer and pull everything out. Match up the containers with their lids (check the dishwasher too) and toss or recycle mate-less pieces. Stack everything up neatly and return it to the drawer or cabinet. Use the dimensions of this space as a physical limit and give away containers that won’t fit comfortably in the space available.
2. Fridge Door Condiments
Unload the whole sticky mess onto the kitchen counter. Check expiration dates and toss out anything past its prime — as well as any condiments you bought but did not like. Wipe the bottoms of the containers with a damp sponge before returning them to the fridge. If you want to be extra-organized about it, put sweet condiments on one shelf and savory condiments on another.
3. Utensil Jar
Check out that crock of utensils near the stove — are all the pieces in it tools that get daily (or near-daily) use? Do you really need all those spatulas? Take everything out of the jar and put back only the items you reach for often. If there are tools you want to keep but don’t need to access daily, move them to a different spot. The prime real estate nearest your stove should be reserved for true essentials.
4. Pen Cup
First, scoop up all the pens and pencils that are not actually in the pen cup, but instead are strewn randomly around the kitchen counter, dining table and any other flat surface in the area. Once you’ve gathered them all in one place, grab a blank sheet of scratch paper and start testing. Toss out pens that are out of ink and put your favorites back in the pen cup.
If you have 5 million pens and pencils (joking … sort of), set them aside to donate. Many school districts and some nonprofit organizations are happy to receive donations of office supplies in good condition.
5. Sock Drawer
Open up that drawer and pull out all the socks and tights. Match up pairs, and inspect each set for holes and worn areas. Fold the sets that have mates and are in good condition, and return them to the drawer. Bring the mate-less socks to the laundry area and check for mates before giving up on them.
When you’re done, toss all mate-less socks, as well as any socks or tights with holes, into a bag to bring to your local clothing recycling donation bin (search “textile recycling drop-off” and your city to find a bin near you).
6. Shower Products
Pull all the products out of your shower and place them on the sink. Recycle the empty bottles and move infrequently used items to a drawer or cabinet. Have some products that you tried but didn’t like? Give it away or take it back. Depending on the store, you may still be able to get a refund — otherwise, pour out the product and recycle the container. Yes, it’s a waste, but letting a product you’re never going to use take up valuable space in your shower isn’t helping anyone. When you’re done, place your favorite everyday products back in the shower.
7. Laundry Supplies
Check your laundry room for empty bottles of detergent and stain remover, and put these in the recycling bin. Put random items pulled from pockets where they belong. Straighten up the remaining supplies and wipe the counter clean.
8. Dish Towels
Dish towels seem to get ratty when we’re not looking. Pull out all your dish towels and inspect them. Fold and put away the ones in good condition, and set aside the others to bring to a textile recycling bin or to cut up for use as rags. But don’t go overboard on the use-them-as-rags thing — there are only so many rag towels we really need, and then it’s just creating more clutter.
9. Magazines and Catalogs
Gather up all your magazines and catalogs in a pile. Go through the stack, one by one, setting aside current issues that you still want to read, and recycle the rest. If there is an article you want to save, cut it out — or (if you really want to reduce paper clutter) check if the same content is available online and bookmark it instead of saving a paper copy.
10. Entryway Drop Spot
Put pocket change in a cup, recycle junk mail, hang up coats and put away any items that have migrated here from other areas of the house. If there are library books or other items waiting to be returned, take a moment to carry them out to the car so that they’re ready and waiting (and not cluttering up your entryway).

Why My Family Loves Our Condo Lifestyle

Written by Rachel Kinbar

While single-family homes are the dreams of many, my family has found condo living to be the perfect lifestyle for us. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you about the amenities, location, and community that let us spend more time living and doing the things we love.


Convenience is a biggie for any homeowner, and condo living allows us to take advantage. Within our building, friends are nearby to help with carpooling to school (for mom and dad) and arranging playdates (for our kids). A small grocery store, the post office, two cafes, and a park are all within walking distance; a short drive adds an elementary school, a movie theater, eateries, shops, and medical resources to the list.

That’s not to mention the amenities that come standard in most condo buildings. We have a heated pool that we don’t have to lift a finger to maintain, and a community garden that lets me enjoy nature without having to deal with major landscaping and maintenance. Chris Murphy, who runs the Baby & Life blog with his wife, loves that, in their condo, “the blistering heat of summer and bone-chilling cold of winter are not a factor” thanks to the indoor athletic courts; their kids have built-in entertainment spaces year-round.

Having these resources within the building cuts down on commute time for my family – when my kids want to socialize, traffic doesn’t cut into play time. Plus, I can spend weekends traveling to visit family and friends instead of dealing with maintenance, such as landscaping.


We don’t live in a large building, but there are over a dozen other families with elementary-aged children. Our kids not only have friends to play with, but there are people nearby in a similar phase of life, facing similar challenges. For us, condo living provides a balance between privacy and community. Having a nearby support network to supplement our religious community and family and friends further afield adds to the rich tapestry of our relationships. The proximity of our neighbors also gives us a feeling of great security.

The condo board does an excellent job of organizing activities and events for residents, which vary from family-friendly movie nights to adult-only cocktail evenings. Once a month, they even arrange a fun-filled and supervised evening for kids so we parents can get out for our own fun time.

If you think our condo community is an exception, think again! “We feel extremely fortunate to be able to give our sons this kind of childhood. They’re surrounded by friends — 50 kids in the building, and counting,” says Jackie Burns, who lives with her husband and two kids in a high-rise condo. “Over the years, the condo parents have come together to organize swimming lessons, tennis lessons, and a weekly chess club. There are cooking lessons in the condo’s restaurant and the children gather to make greeting cards to bring to patients at nursing homes and hospitals.” No matter which condo you live in, the emphasis on developing a sense of community remains consistent.


Considering the location, the size of our home, and all of the amenities and community perks, our condo offers incredible value. Owning a single-family home in this part of the city would be unaffordable for us, between the price tag of the house itself and the cost and hassle of upkeep. Not to mention we’d have to wave goodbye to a lot of the benefits we’ve become accustomed to! Some people really want a backyard with a swing set, but we’re happy with our condo’s playground and the nearby park.

Before buying our condo, we rented a home, but it came to be more than our mortgage and condo fees combined because of its size and location. When we learned we could save money, have access to wonderful community resources, and own property that appreciates faster than a single-family home, we were hooked!

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to housing, and there are many families who find that condo living is the right lifestyle for them. We certainly love living in a condo and can’t imagine living anywhere else! Curious about what condos are available in your city? Start your search online at


nesto: Canadians still exhibiting strong interest in purchasing real estate

Written by Ephraim Vecina 03 Feb 2021

At the end of January, approximately 60% of Canadians were looking to buy new property, while nearly 58% said they preferred to use a 5% down payment, according to online brokerage nesto.

Quebec and Ontario were the main drivers of these trends, with 65% to 70% of nesto’s new property application requests from these markets being from users who have just started looking for a home.

nesto aadded that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a major factor in consumers’ general habits and will continue to impact home-buying patterns for the foreseeable future.

“Mortgage rates are still going down, despite the fact that we thought they were already at the lowest they could possibly be in 2020, and it certainly influences our Canadian users’ behavior as well,” nesto said in its analysis.

Record-low rates will also continue to motivate market activity. nesto reported that its best insurable variable rate is now at 1.3%, which was fully 1.65% lower than the level seen just a year prior.

“Fixed and variable rates for the same category (insured or insurable) remain close to each other, especially insured rates, with only a 0.04-0.1% difference between them compared to the usual 1.00% in previous years,” nesto said.

The brokerage pointed to a crucial difference between the current market and the conditions of years past.

“In a normal environment, lenders could and likely would increase the discount offered with their variable rates in order to increase the attractiveness of the product and balance their fixed vs. variable selling ratios,” nesto said. “Today, we’re not seeing enough reduction to the variable discounts in order to influence consumer decisions.”