At first glance of this Toronto apartment you would never guess that it was designed on a budget and sprinkled with DIYs. It’s the poster child for turning a rental into a thing of beauty and all masterminded by Tiffany Leigh, blogger and founder of Tiffany Leigh Design. By taking time to hunt down budget savvy vintage pieces and diving into a few DIY projects and uber cute IKEA hacks, this chic bachelorette pad was transformed. Tour the full space with photos by 5ive15ifteen in the vault.
My apartment definitely has traditional bones – think picture frame moldings, original thin strip hardwood floors, old radiators and a charming fireplace. These are the elements made me fall in love and sign the lease on my first ever non-student rental in April of 2015. Decorated on a tight budget, I kept my eyes peeled for classic vintage pieces with feminine character that would stand the test of time.
I’ve never been one to shy away from a good DIY or transformation, so a little imagination when selecting furniture went a long way in this space. I kept the walls light but warm (Benajmin Moore’s Cloud White), and filled my home with the colors that I love through fabrics, furnishings and accessories. The feeling of the space is sophisticated, refined, and feminine – as a young woman living on my own in Toronto, I thought why not go a little bit more girly. I might not always have the opportunity to decorate my space only for me – so I took full advantage.
The jumping off point for the living room was my rug. I found this handwoven rug at an estate sale for only $90, and it was love at first site. I pulled the light aqua blues and coral tones in the the rug into my pillow story. The chests flanking the fireplace are a fan favorite – and an inexpensive IKEA hack! The cane chairs compliment the formal fireplace, but are light enough to move around depending on how I’m entertaining. In the corner I’ve tucked an adorable little floral armchair (affectionately known as my ‘granny chair’) in the corner by the window. It’s the perfect spot to cozy up with a good book.
Living Room Sources
Sofa: Julian Sofa from Brentwood Home | Coral Pillows: Stuck on Hue – Etsy | Aqua Leopard Pillows: Custom, fabric by Kelly Wearstler (available at Lee Jofa) | Floral Pillows: Custom, fabric by Schumacher (available at Bilbrough) | White Lamp: Elte | Cane chairs: Vintage, Reupholstered by Switch Studio | Rug: Vintage | Coffee Table: Vintage | Gold Mirror: Vintage | Nesting tables: Vintage | Floral armchair: Vintage | Art over sofa: Donna Andreychuk, “My Story”, Canvas Gallery | Art over chest of drawers: Ian Varney, Canvas Gallery | Chest of drawers: DIY IKEA Hack | Throw Blanket: Sarah Richardson Design | Woven Basket: Pottery Barn
My kitchen is a typical rental kitchen – very basic, unless of course you look down at that wild purple floor tile. This is not exactly my first choice, but investing in a rental kitchen does not make a lot of sense right now. Instead, I found a beautiful kilim rug that ties in the purple colour of the tile, hung some art for personality, and incorporated accessories that are both functional and beautiful.
My dining room doubles as a library/home office/studio space. The dining table works well as a large desk and the shelving unit (which I’ve papered in aqua grasscloth) holds all of my books and treasured items. The space feels full, layered, and functional. In small spaces, it’s important to consider multiple uses for single rooms. It’s a lovely space for entertaining – especially with a fully stocked barcart.
Dining Room Sources
I don’t have the luxury of a large formal entrance, just a narrow hallway that opens into my living room. This vintage rattan unit is the perfect multifunctional piece – it has a shelf to drop mail and keys, a drawer for my wallet, bills, etc., a lower surface for shoes, hooks for hats and jackets, and a mirror to check myself before running out the door. It’s also only about a foot deep, so it takes up almost no space. It is one of my favourite pieces.
With windows, doors, and rads, the arrangement of this tiny room was rather tricky. While it has a large closet, there is no room for proper bedside tables. What these small wooden pedestal tables lack in storage – they make up for in high style! And, because I can reach the overhead light switch from in bed, there was no need for proper bedside lamps. Instead, these crystal candle sconces (a lovely gift sent to me from an instagram friend) add an extra layer of pretty to the space. Finishing things off with beautiful bedding – emerald green pillows, a ticking stripe coverlet with a natural linen duvet- and art makes this the perfect feminine retreat to recharge after long days in the busy city.
Headboard: Home Furniture | Ticking Stripe Duvet: IKEA | Natural Linen Duvet: Elte MKT | Emerald Pillows: Etsy – Live Love Smile | Black and White Floral Pillow: Custom, fabric by Schumacher (available at Bilbrough) | Sconces: Vintage | Art: Stephanie Fehrenbach, “Delicate Array”, Canvas Gallery | Side Tables: Vintage