How to Decorate Your New Space

Blank walls and empty shelves can be a dreary sight to come home to after a long day in class. It’s hard to know how to decorate with a completely blank canvas empty apartment, whether it’s for yourself or to impress others.

If you’re in a rush and want a one-stop-shop, hit up Metrotown or Ikea. Metrotown is close to BCIT, and has numerous stores that carry housewares; WalMart, Winners, Structube, Bed Bath & Beyond, and HomeSense carry enough stock of items for you to find something to your tastes. Ikea is… well, Ikea. You’ll get lost, but you can figuratively buy an entire house’s worth of things in there.

If you have a bit more time (and less of a budget), Vancouver and the tri-city area have an abundance of thrift, second-hand, vintage, and antique stores. These are the places to look for vintage paintings or retro lamps. Here in Burnaby, you can drop by BASES Family Thrift Store and One Love International Society, whose proceeds go to good causes.

If you’re on a really tight budget, try dollar stores, Facebook Marketplace, or even garage sales. Without a doubt there’s always a recently graduated student or family downsizing, getting rid of furniture and other items before they move. Like the women who sell their Aritizia clothing hours after they buy it, some men and women who put Ikea’s entire third floor for sale weeks after they buy them.

If you’re inspired by Pinterest, Instagram, Joanna Gaines, or Bobby Berk– here are some recommendations for you to find a particular style:

Succulents, macramé plant potters, mandala tapestries, fairy lights, crystals, and more. The best places for these items are Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Old Faithful Shop, The Cross Décor and Design, and anywhere where they offer tarot card readings in the back of the store. Mix clean neutral colors with bright jewel tones, and don’t worry about matching. Bohemian is all about eclectic.


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This is a cozy style of living. Barnwood signs, linens, and decorating with the basics. Mix vintage items with new ones, and pick a simple colour palette—butter yellow and white, navy and grey, and sage and cream all can look great. Farmhouse style is mainly DIY—check out to see one example. The dollar store sells rustic signs, and you can spray paint any furniture and sand the edges to make it seem more fitting.

If your online shopping experiences are usually sorted from high to low, modern furniture stores like EQ3 and Pottery Barn Teen might be of interest. Looking for something bold? Try Versace Home in Gastown. While you’re there, The Latest Scoop has neat modern prints and small décor items. The selection is small, so if you’re looking for something bigger I recommend Indigo on Robson St. For Scandinavian, the best bang your buck is Ikea. Where else? Just kidding. In my opinion, Ikea’s low prices and varietal range of items for every room in the house is worth the trip to Coquitlam or Richmond. Nearly all the furniture comes disassembled, which makes it easier for transporting and storing them. For more Scandinavian style, there’s H&M Home online and Vancouver Special on Main St.

For cool vintage finds at reasonable prices, The Found & The Freed and The Sellution are good places to start. With their constantly changing selection, it would be hard to find similar restored antiques and collector’s items at your typical second-hand store. In saying that, it’s worth digging around in VV Boutique (Value Village) and consignment stores for unique finds.

Whether you recently moved to Vancity, Kits, PoCo, New West, Port Moody, or to BCIT, there are plenty of unique stores for room décor items. The best part is most of these stores are outside, which makes for great opportunities to explore the beautiful areas of the cities while you personalize your new room.