When I moved into my new home last winter, I immediately began the thrilling hunt for affordable, good quality furniture.
Prior to this, IKEA was my go-to-store, and while I still love it and find great pieces there all the time there, I had no idea the world of greatness that lied before me in the Greater Toronto Area.
In all honestly, I had a hard time sourcing and discovering local furniture stores; I spent hours online, hunting. So to make it easier for you, here’s my list of local gems to tickle your furniture fancy:
Located in Kitchener, I try to visit Schreiter’s every few months, or at least peruse their website every few weeks. Schreiter’s is actually where I found my Gus* sofa, purchased for nearly half price as it was a floor model (pictured above). With over 3 floors brimming with furniture and decor from all of the big names as well as local designers, there have an ever-evolving stock and plenty of floor models on clearance and promotions. Bonus: they also offer design services if you’re in a furniture funk. My clearance pick is this black leather chair for $1,600.
Bryght.com (Now Article.com)Cash Rating = $
Great quality, good-looking pieces considering the price. However, because they offer free shipping, the delivery service was sub-par at best. I ordered their Ceni armchair and the company who carried out the delivery actually brought me the wrong chair — at 11pm on a Friday night, 4 days after they said they’d be by to deliver it. Yeah. Alas, once I got the right chair, I fell in love. It’s large and “hugging” enough to curl up into and tuck into a book, but upright and supportive enough to sit up in and play a game of cards. My clearance pick is the Turner coffee table pictured above for $349.
Design Republic delivers on their claim to provide “furniture for the people”. Their flagship store at Queen and Bathurst is located in the cultured Burroughs building (neighboring CB2 mentioned below), but they also have a warehouse on Dufferin where they store hundreds of sale items. Whenever I visit, I’m always surprised by how affordable their furniture is considering the quality. They also rent out furniture to people for film, home staging and theater and can even work with you to create custom-sized piece from their Toronto-made collection. My pick is their Mandy sofa from $1388 pictured above; I’m a sucker for sofas you can slide a vacuum under and access.
With 3 mega stores in the GTA – even one in Burlington – EQ3 claims “Modern Design For Everyday Living”. While their site looks rather clean and minimal, their stores are (almost, okay fractionally) as exciting as a visit to IKEA. I’ve only ever visited the Burlington location, but it’s always brimming with cool furniture mixing and matching ideas, room layout designs and plenty of fun accessories and home goods such as planters, flatware, utensils and rugs. While they have their own Canadian-made collection, they also sell Herman Miller, Marimekko, Vitra, Alessi, Sagaform, Pablo and Urbio pieces. My pick is their reclaimed teak dresser for $899 pictured above as part of a matching bedroom collection.
CB2Cash Rating: $$+
CB2, the step-sister of Crate and Barrel (hence the name), offers modern pieces for reasonable prices, like an upscale IKE. Their smart furniture and home goods always seem a bit ahead of the curve while maintaining a personality, which I often find is lacking in Crate & Barrel’s goods. With stores all over North America, including one at Queen and Bathurst in Toronto, you can order online and pick-up in store, free. I love their Liora Manné carpet squares (18″ square) for $9.95 pictured above. Question: How thrilling would it be to puzzle them together to make an awkward shaped rug or mixing squares of various textures and colours? Answer: very.
Guff Toronto offers a handful of vintage mid-century wood pieces — from chairs to credenza’s — as well as originals they custom-build and design with you in mind. Fringe? Perhaps. Pricey? Yes. But for the right buyer — someone with refined taste looking for that one-of-a-kind or vintage piece, they’re the place to go for expertly curated finds and charming decor items such as charcuterie boards, grandfather clocks and Italian vases. While their stock isn’t large as their pieces aren’t mass-produced, I peek at their inventory here and there when I daydream that I have room for their mostly large-footprint finds. My pick is the Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair pictured above for $595.
If you’re searching for the cream of the crop — the pièce de résistance — DWR is for you. Exactly what it sounds like, Design Within Reach offers authentic pieces from the world’s most seminal designers and architects including iconic works as well as innovative items designed today. Period. No guff about it (pun intended, ha!). Various styles from various designers such as Eames, Glaser, Bernett, Saarinen, Risom and countless others whom, I’m ashamed to admit, I had to Google. Their roster of visionaries that many furniture companies mimic politely is impeccable. While not within my (financial) reach, I crave a visit to DWR every once in a while. Goals never hurt anyone, right? I just have to remember to never go in with food or coffee! If I’m forced to pick a piece which is nearly impossible, I closed my eyes and poked my monitor landing on this Matthew Hilton designed Cross Collection dining table starting at $2,995.
Style Garage has a showroom at the corner of Queen and Shaw Street as in Vancouver where you’ll find their signature made-to-order upholstery, storage, dining, and accents. If you want modern custom-made furniture, they’re your people. While you won’t find small decor items or a sale rack — it’s strictly honest furniture constructed of mixed materials — they do carry and sell the complete Gus* Modern collection with furniture, accents, and accessories all in-stock on site! Can’t go wrong with Canadian made in Toronto. They get a fat A+ from me. I’d pick their Gus* Modern Wilson Cabinet for $1595.
Last but certainly not least, I cannot say enough good things about Aberfoyle. Located in Guelph, it’s “close by and a world away”, as their website claims. I was actually hesitant to include it in this post because I don’t want more people knowing about it than there already are, but I’d feel terrible leaving it out. It’s that great. Spanned across a few acres, the outdoor market has hundreds of vendors, big and small, offering vintage finds, quirky decor, and amazing fresh cut fries from their eatery on-site. I often go just to walk around with my sisters and mom, grab some grub and poke around. There’s always something there waiting for you to find it.
Where do you find your furniture? Comment and share below.
(Photos: CB2.com, GuffFurniture.com, Schreiters.ca, EQ3.com, DWR.com, MyDesignRepublic.com, Bryght.com, Designingenuity & Ruben Vieira)