The Well-Stocked Minimalist

Written By: Laura Gaskill
Is it possible to maintain a well-stocked and clutter-free home? On the surface it may seem these are polar opposites, but I like to think of them as more akin to two sides of a scale. Whether I’m decluttering or making a purchase, the goal I keep in mind for my own home is to have just enough of just the right stuff. This is stuff that helps make life easier or simpler, or saves time and money. If you are also looking to simplify without giving up all of your possessions, these tips can help.
Make Sure Your Stuff Reflects Your Life as It Is Now
A well-stocked home looks different for each person and changes with time. The things a parent of young children needs at home are quite different from what a college student or a retired couple needs. Whenever you shift life phases — from moving to a new area to starting a new career — take it as an opportunity to assess your stuff.
Stuff Does Not Necessarily Equal Clutter
Stuff becomes clutter when you do not want or need it. Having a drawer full of all-occasion cards, thank-you notes, stamps and pens could be clutter to one person and a helpful tool to another. Only you know for sure exactly what you need — and what will gather dust in a forgotten cupboard.
Sometimes It Makes Sense to Stock Up
If you are someone who entertains frequently (or plans to in the future), it can be more cost effective, and less wasteful, to make a one-time investment in a large set of basic dishes and glassware. Otherwise, you’ll end up either using paper goods or renting every time, which can be a hassle. And while most things around the house are not, in the grand scheme of things, all that important, when it comes to first-aid and emergency supplies, we should all be stocked up.

But There’s No Need to Stock Up on Things That Don’t Fit Your Life
If you keep a mostly paperless home office, there’s no need for paper clips, staples and bulk-size boxes of sticky notes and copy paper. Be realistic about what you use and skip the rest.
Stock Up to Save, Not Spend
Stocking up is often more economical, saving you money — think of those giant containers at the big-box store or the bulk bins at the natural grocery — and saving you time by helping you cut down on shopping trips. However, there is a difference between buying in bulk on items you know you will use and being seduced by sale prices into stocking up on items you wouldn’t normally buy. Stick with tried and true favorites, and save experimenting with new brands or flavors for small packages; this applies to both food and nonfood items.
Aim to Have Enough but No More
Having the right tools to get the job done properly is essential to any task, from cooking to woodworking. Have on hand what you need for the jobs you do regularly but no more — if you bake every week, it makes sense to have plenty of sheet pans, muffin tins, mixing bowls and all of the rest. If you find yourself in need of a specialty item that you likely will never use again, see if you can rent or borrow before buying your own.

Stock Up to Make Life Easier, Not More Complicated
It can be handy to have the right vase for those flowers you brought home, gift wrap and tape when you’re due at a birthday party in 20 minutes, or tools for getting that art wall just right. Having to dig through a cupboard stuffed with random half-used sheets of wrapping paper to get to the good stuff or spending money on beautiful tools you will never use is not the point. When you are considering buying something to have on hand, ask yourself whether having this thing will actually make your life easier. If not, pass on it.
It’s All About Balance
Problems begin when things come into your home but rarely go out. The best way to keep a healthy balance is by looking at, touching, using and removing items in your home frequently. Just because you bought something doesn’t mean you must be burdened with it forever. Learn from your mistakes, notice which things you tend to buy and then not use (cupboard full of half-done craft projects, I’m looking at you), and commit to making wiser choices next time.

How to make your outdoor space a hot destination oasis

Written By: Lisa Rogers

We Canadians love our backyards, and no wonder. We have been spending so much time at home with COVID-19 that we love to spend more time outside. And stay out there – listening to the birds, the burble of a water feature, watching the sun set, connecting with friends and family, even at a distance.

As the pace of life quickens and our homes shrink in size, the outdoors is literally the last frontier – and the reason why we’re spending so much more on making the backyard, or deck or balcony a destination oasis.

Out with the white plastic chairs and plexiglass tables, in with the fire pits and heaters giving us a much longer outdoor season, deep-seated sectional sofas, teak dining tables and chairs, and strings of lights. Outdoor furniture manufacturers have been eager to meet our need to linger outside with a wider range of furniture, with longer lasting frames, fabrics that retain their shape and water resistance, and cushion foam that stays comfortable.

Here’s what you need to know:

1) Plan out your space according to how you intend to use the deck. If you are a big reader or sun worshipper, but don’t like eating al fresco, set up your space with more living room type furnishings, and tuck a small dining table off to the side and out of the way.

2) Check materials carefully. There’s teak, treated pine, metal mixed with wood, solid aluminum, stainless and wrought iron. Of these, teak and aluminum last the longest, and are probably the most expensive. Teak you need to baby a bit, while aluminum just wipes clean.

3) Consider modular furniture – pieces that fit together as a sectional or stand alone as chairs – for flexibility. You can change the seating arrangement to suit the occasion or your mood.

4) Decks aren’t just for daytime. Small white lights are magical when strung from house to tree. Add candles around the edges of your deck or patio – flameless ones are safer. An ethanol fire pit not only creates mood, but keeps feet warm and can easily be moved around.

5) Music really adds to the ambience – not so loud that your guests can’t hear each other or the neighbours complain, but as background.

6) As for styles, the sky’s the limit, and they can reflect your dream destinations, or they can reflect the decor of your home. Fancy a week in the Hamptons? Check out sectionals in whitewashed and weathered greys – made from resin wicker – with East Coast fabrics such as navy and white stripes (in water repellant fabrics). Prefer life in a Park Avenue brownstone? Then wrought iron with deep charcoal cushions set amidst a row of boxwoods might be better for you.

7) Don’t forget the floor – wood flooring tiles are easy to install, and create an immediate room setting, especially with the concrete of a condo balcony. Add an outdoor rug to pull it all together.

8) There’s nothing like dining al fresco, and if you’re the type who likes tons of people over, an expandable table might be the best choice. Classic wrought iron tables look great and last forever but are pricey. There’s always teak, but it’s pricey, too, so check out budget-friendly teak alternatives that work equally well. If your deck is on the small side, go for stackable dining chairs.

9) Stow outdoor dining essentials – bright coloured table mats and napkins, covered lanterns or candle holders – near the back door or in a waterproof storage bench. Make sure to keep throws handy to ward off the evening chill.

10) An umbrella will shade the table from the sun and rain; one with a tilt arm that can be adjusted to follow the sun all day. The new pergolas do the same and more, especially when fitted with a retractable canopy system or screen to protect against bugs.

11) For privacy, especially on a condo balcony, you can create a privacy wall by positioning a row of evergreens in matching containers along the edges of your deck. Erect lattice or bamboo screening, then add wall mounted planters and a water feature for an instant retreat.

12) Depending on the space you have, hammocks are well worthwhile for the downtime they afford – snoozing or watching the stars. Add colourful pillows and a sea of planters for a cosy destination.

13) Containers are the way to go for gardening. They come in all shapes and sizes and materials (remember that resin is lighter and therefore easier to move). Depending on the direction they face, condo balconies are ideal for herbs and tomatoes, but they need a lot of water, so make sure you have proper drainage. Tropical plants love sun and add a festive air to your deck – you can also bring them in come fall. If you have less direct sunlight, fill tall tapered containers with ornamental grasses for a clean, modern and minimalist look.

14) Just like inside, the deck is made livelier with the addition of some artwork, such as wrought iron grills, architectural salvage, window frames (with or without mirrored glass).

In the end, if you choose any of these tips, who needs a cottage?

8 Spring Decorating Ideas 2021: Make Your Interior Design Bloom

Seasons are a splendid excuse for revamping, sprucing, and enhancing your interior design. Winter is turning a corner, so inviting new pieces and experimenting with fresh colors and lines is the thing to do. We asked for expert advice from our team of professional interior designers and with buzzing anticipation, here are several spring decorating ideas that will make your space pop, blossom, and bloom.

1. Raw Wood: Spring Decorating Essential

Interior renovation of La Jolla, California residence completed by Corine Maggio Natural Designs.

Coastal dining room with spring home decor by Decorilla interior designer, Corine M.


Wood is an essential material in creating comfort, warmth and organic beauty to a space. By keeping it raw, the tones, grooves, and imperfections act as a work of art in your spring interior design. Found in the form of a side table, wall art, or even spanning across the ceiling, for example, this is definitely nature’s spring decorating idea.

Need help deciding which spring decorating ideas will freshen up your home? Then, schedule your Free Interior Design Consultation for expert assistance getting started today!

2. Pastel and Bright Accents in Spring Home Decor

spring interior design trends

Bright living room for a fresh spring interior design by Decorilla interior designer, Michelle B.


Pastels are just synonymous with spring and do the perfect job at freshening up your spring home decor. Both gentle and airy, these hues offer an environment of tranquility so greatly desired in our fast-paced, hectic lives. Whether as accent pillows, wall color or decor pieces, these pastels in spring home decor add a softness that comes with springtime. In contrast, bright colors can also be used for a more bold use of color reminiscent of vibrant spring blooms. 

3. Mindful Spring Decorating Ideas

spring interior design trends

Design accents by Decorilla interior designer, Corrine M.


As the first season of the year, Spring inspires reflecting and goal making. Also among interior design trends 2021, sustainable repurposing is making a statement in homes across the country. Dive into some serious spring cleaning by purging of unnecessary books and knick-knacks. Decorilla designer, Ivonne T., suggests up cycling as a perfect spring decorating idea. Give an outdated console table new life with a fresh coat of paint or reupholster an armchair. Let your creativity run wild. 

4. Spring Decorating Ideas: Make Neutrals Pop

spring bedroom interior design pops

Timeless bedroom by Decorilla interior designer, Joseph G.


If pastels aren’t your thing, this spring decorating idea is one that’s tried and true. Neutrals do the trick of both opening a space and creating a canvas for accentuated pieces of decor.

spring decorating ideas living room pops of color

Color pop can be bold and vitalizing or subtle and moving. Either way, infusing a space with fun pillows, a dramatic abstract painting, or a single saturated accent chair can certainly add new life to your interior design.

5. Textured Pottery in Spring Home Decor


A popular trend seen in spring interior design is the use of textured ceramics or pottery as accent decor. In color or neutral, bowls and vases with tactile lines and patterns add an interesting dimension. Leave the vases to make a statement on their own or fill them will seasonal florals for an added freshness in your spring home decor. 

6. Add A Statement Pendant

library design online lighting

Cozy library by Decorilla interior designer, Michelle B.


Chandeliers have a way of ooh-ing and ahh-ing but this spring, make a statement with a funky, fab, beautiful pendant. Oversized or whimsical, these lighting fixtures become an instant focal point and design refresher. A professional designer can assist with the perfect selection and overall interior design help.

7. Update Bedding With Playful Sheets 

playful spring interior design bed sheets

Teen bedroom with spring home decor bedding by Decorilla interior designer, Lauren A.


This year, we’re veering from plain white sheets towards more playful and colorful options. Natural motifs like birds and flowers are simple spring decorating ideas that bring the outside in. Bold shapes and patterns also add a gaiety to the bedroom design. Furthermore, be sure to choose lighter fabrics for the warmer weather on its way. 

8. Muted Metallics in Spring Home Decor

spring interior design metals

Living/dining room by Decorilla interior designer, Corine M.


Gone are the winter days that beckon the use of shiny finishes to share light in spaces. Low shine accent decor is a great spring decorating idea that keeps metallics in the mix. Lamps and furniture that have antiqued or brushed metallic finishes offer a weathered, vintage look that is beautiful and subtle.

spring interior design trends metals

Light and airy spring interior design for a new build bedroom by Decorilla interior designer, Tina G.


Welcome this new season with these spring decorating ideas to freshen up your home decor. Incorporating one or more of these interior design trends for spring will help you create a seasonably stylish home that’s sure to feel classy and welcoming for family and friends.

March Stats are Here!

“The RAHB market area was close to record-breaking activity with a 63 per cent increase in sales, a 65 per cent increase in new listings and an overall increase in inventory by 27 per cent since last month,” says RAHB President Donna Bacher. “With the spring housing market upon us and the vaccine rollout ramping up, it appears more homeowners are feeling comfortable listing their home and we have started to observe an upturn of active listings. We have to acknowledge that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic distorts housing statistics when comparing March 2021 to March 2020.”

The number of sales of detached properties in the RAHB market area increased by 74 per cent in March 2021 compared to March 2020. The number of new listings was up 53 per cent, and the average sale price increased by 34 per cent to $987,030 from March 2020. The number of active listings for detached homes has increased by 36 per cent compared to February 2021.

“Compared to last month, detached homes saw the largest increase in inventory between the different property types at 36 per cent. In addition, we saw a large increase in the number of sales and new listings. Due to an increase in supply to offset existing demand, the average price saw a modest increase month-over-month of two per cent,” says Bacher.

The number of sales of townhomes in the RAHB market area increased by 73 per cent in March 2021 compared to March 2020. The number of new listings of townhomes was up 64 per cent, and the average sale price increased by 29 per cent to $734,970 from March 2020. The number of active listings for townhomes has increased by 13 per cent compared to February 2021.

“Townhomes saw the lowest increase in average price at 0.7 per cent compared to detached and apartment-style properties, but had the largest increase in sales at 80 per cent when looking at February 2021 market numbers. What this means is that townhomes continue to be a good option for buyers who are looking for more space than a condo at a more affordable price tag than a detached home.”

The number of sales of apartment-style in the RAHB market area increased by 68 per cent in March 2021 compared to the same month in 2020. In March 2021, the number of new apartment-style listings increased by 43 per cent compared to March 2020, and the average sale price increased by 16 per cent to $519,586 from March 2020. Apartment-style properties continue to be experiencing a sellers’ market, with the sales to new listings ratio sitting around 75 per cent in March 2021.

“Apartment-style properties continue to fall within a buyer’s market and the average price is just over $500,000. Both these factors make condos very attractive to both buyers and investors in the Hamilton-Burlington area.”

Specific neighbourhoods within the overall RAHB market area see results that often differ from the average of the entire RAHB market area. Neighbourhoods vary and, determining the right price and conditions when buying or selling a property can be challenging. Local RAHB REALTORS® have the experience, knowledge and tools to help buyers and sellers make those big decisions.

Bacher adds, “For anyone who wants to buy or sell a home in the Hamilton-Burlington area, our RAHB REALTORS® have access to the best technology, along with a commitment to follow strict safety protocols, ensuring safe and successful showings and sales. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, working with one of RAHB’s more than 3500 members will help ensure you are not only getting the best service and data, but also that your real estate transactions will be both successful and safe.”

**Average sale price can be useful in establishing long-term trends but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. Talk to your local REALTOR®.