Each year I attend the Interior Design Show in Toronto (IDS) in January to get some inspiration and to discover what’s up and coming in the world of design. I’m an art and design lover at heart and while I certainly don’t profess to be any sort of expert in the field, this is a really great opportunity to meet with people in the  industry.

IDS is a massive consumer and trade show that brings big names like Caesarstone, Miele, Monogram, Kohler, and Benjamin Moore that come to this show to demonstrate their latest innovations and trends. Hello, Monogram in-home pizza oven! But here we also find local artisans, small batch furniture designers and internationally renowned design firms.

This year, I met up with interior design consultant and stylist, Anita Kawale  at the show to find out what caught her attention. Here’s what Anita and I discussed on our walk-through…


So, each year Pantone releases the “colour of the year” it’s the colour that gives direction to designers in all realms. Research goes behind determining the global colour trend. For 2018, the Pantone Colour of the Year is Ultra Violet 18-3838. Described as a colour that communicates originally, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us towards the future. When the colour was announced, Leatrice Wiseman, Executive Director of The Pantone Color Institute said this,

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.”

Pantone Colour of the Year: Ultra Violet

Anita also mentioned the colour’s spiritual qualities that we are drawn to particularly in this over stimulated point in time with everything that is going on in the world.

So, how does one work in the colour trends? Anita suggests working these kind of trends in with accents in the home or work space. Simple and cost effective ways like decorative pillows, throws and even glassware can completely change a room.

Anita and I taking a look at Benjamin Moore’s colour palette

We also admired the soft grey at the Benjamin Moore booth painted in CENTURY Bauxite T5. We learned that Century is a small batch interior paint and is the first paint with a Soft Touch Matte Finish – a feel that is incredibly soft and luxurious. We made note to look into that further.

Interesting to note that Benjamin Moore also has a team of researchers who determine the brand’s official Colour Of The Year selection. For 2018, they’ve selected CALIENTE AF-290 that is strong, radiant and full of energy.

Benjamin Moore Colour Of The Year 2018, Client AF-290

TIP: Anita has been known to pick up paints and refresh various pieces to stay on colour trend. I would also recommend checking out places like CB2, Urban Barn, and Indigo for affordable on trend pieces. Home Sense is great too, if you feel like treasure hunting.


Anita noted there are two emerging trends happening in the world of lighting. Geometric lighting had a strong presence at IDS replacing many traditional dripping crystal chandeliers seen in previous shows. They appeared in various shapes and sizes offering a more dramatic presence. Hollis+Morris, a design firm based in Toronto, creates handmade furniture and lighting that is modern and timeless. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Anita pointed out softer forms also stood out for her. Shapes of petals that are less rigid evokes a sense of flow in a space that is soothing.



If walls could talk! From wallpaper to tiling, it appears that walls are more than just a backdrop in our life but rather a thoughtful presence that ties in an overall room. With interest in bringing a living space to life, By Nature‘s “green” walls stood out with mossy like texture. “They do fun feature walls that’s a pop of colour and texture in an otherwise simple space,” said Anita.  Fine & Dandy’s delicious wallpaper treatments have you look closely at the details. Wallpaper here is presented more as a mural rather than a print that’s repeated over and over again. You’ll want to check out their websites for inspiration! Anita also noted patterns like chevrons that bringing more of that Art Deco feel that is a modern classic.

By Nature

Fine & Dandy Co.


Living in a city like Toronto often means city dwellers are in tight spaces but that doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish and have personality. Keeping spaces uncluttered is key and artwork is your friend. If a print is all you can afford now, that’s okay! But if you’re ready to go next level there are many local artists worth exploring. A corner can serve as an inspirational space that often goes unused.

Anita was drawn to the organic feel of textile artist Annie Legault and her hand woven designs of cocoon like pods that hang from the ceiling. “This would also be great in a cold or industrial space or a modern space. I would add this warm element to that space as I love that contrast of colours and the textures. It adds a visual interest.”  The artists describes her work as to make one feel comfortable, safe, warm and beautifully enveloped.

Annie Legault

We both fell in love with the beautiful work by Samantha Sandbrook, a Toronto-based artist the marries playful yet luxurious design in her pieces that hints of glam and sophistication. We love the versatility of these brass and acrylic circles made from industrial parts that can be placed on the wall anyway you wish. “I love that it’s a sculpture that you can put on your wall and it adds colour and texture to a space. That handcrafted element brings warmth you the interior,” said Anita. Sandbrook explained this piece was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s writing and his kiss-mark and graffiti-laden tombstone at his cemetery site in Paris.

Anita with Samantha Sandbrook

If you’re lucky enough to have a larger wall to fill, we were really drawn to W Studio Carpets artisan and contemporary pieces. This graffiti print is definitely fun for the right space!

Graffiti with W Studio


Tiles of the past made by european craftspeople can be quite costly and heavy. And, as Anita mentioned, while we may love it at first, many often get tired of it all. Anita mentioned she loved this for high traffic areas like entrance ways and kitchen spaces to add a graphic design element without having to change your entire flooring. For those who love a more modern and affordable approach, this can be worked in easily. Plus you can have some fun and have the smaller square sizes as table placemats that are stylish yet easy to clean.

Hidraulik floor mats and table decor are created from reimagined iconic artistry and advanced materials. The first hydraulic tiles were produced in Barcelona in the mid-nineteenth century. The durability of these functional handmade floors became popular across Europe and now available in Canada. More info here locusvie.ca 

Hidraulik produced in Barcelona


Noticed were more dramatic bathrooms from the years past evoking a more mysterious space. We’ve always thought of our bathrooms as an escape and this is a definite change from the more neutral colour palettes we’ve all loved. The deeper shades, and even stark black, can still give that sense of calm and neutrality as long as it’s not cluttered. Another trend Anita has noticed for bathrooms is mixed metals.  DXV by American Standard is all about timeless design reimagined from most influential design movements including Classic, Golden Era, Modern, and Contemporary.

DXV by American Standard


Mixing textures and metals also play well in the kitchen. Hardware doesn’t necessarily have to match anymore. Faucets and sinks are different colours. Matte finishes against the polished counter tops are noticed.  “Mixing textures and other elements makes more than one visual line to look at and it’s what makes a space more beautiful and more interesting,” said Anita. This modern lifestyle kitchen by Biefbi Cucine and O.NIX Design Boutique marries various elements really well.

Biefbi Cucine