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Create your look locally with just the right pieces from these indie shops

Looking to update your home while supporting the local economy? Head to one of these independent Vancouver design and furniture shops to find big statement pieces or those small finishing touches that will bring out the interior designer in you.

Owned and operated by Vancouverites, these shops search out imports and hand-select local designs to help you transform rooms into a cozy home. Specializing in vintage, mid-century/Scandinavian modern, industrial chic, and contemporary design, there's something here for every taste.

The Mill

Nested on 1st Ave about a block off of Lonsdale, The Mill, which is all about handcrafted furniture and lighting (often from local designers), small vintage treasures, and cozy textiles, is a North Vancouver gem.

Finds like reclaimed wood tables with colourful geometric bases, re-upholstered Scandinavian chairs, and wrought iron and glass nesting tables fill this bright and inviting furniture and design shop. Looking between the bigger furniture items, you’ll discover artful cushions, vintage candleholders, intriguing photographs, glassware, serving bowls, and greeting cards, inside beautifully arranged vignettes.

If industrial-chic meets vintage is what you’re looking for, The Mill is the place to go.

Fullhouse Modern

Fullhouse Modern is all about industrial chic and mid-century modern furniture and lighting. This Kitsilano/South Granville design store sells both new and refinished vintage furniture (think beautifully crafted teak and walnut), industrial-inspired lighting, and accessories like cushions, wire baskets, and vases.

You’ll want to head there if you are looking for the perfect Scandinavian dining room table or hutch, or a cozy, trendy armchair. 

Some favourite accessories include the woven felted floor cushions, honeycomb pendant lights, and Boom wall sculptures (which look like sea-urchins protruding from the wall).

Parliament

Nestled on Water St. in Gastown, Parliament is fun, on-trend, and unpretentious. This design shop specializes in contemporary home décor and owl-inspired accessories (“parliament” is a term for a group of owls); think, mugs, candles, bowls, and cushions.

Parliament offers a great selection of round mirrors, prints of iconic Vancouver sights (like Ken Lum’s East Van cross), and some beautifully arranged potted plants. All of the large upholstered furniture pieces, from beds to armchairs, are made-to-order in Los Angeles, with over 400 fabrics to choose from.

The store’s Lodi armchairs (in peacock blue) are a wee bit famous. They were used by newscasters at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and these chairs proved so comfortable they were later re-ordered and shipped to the 2012 London Olympics! How’s that for a comfy seat?

Vancouver Special

Named after the iconic housing style so prevalent in Vancouver, this hip design shop is located on Main St. at 22nd Ave.

Vancouver Special is all about carefully selected contemporary furniture, home accessories, and everyday living objects (like colourful felt coasters). Many of the pieces will help to maximize space, which, as many condo dwellers know, is hard to come by in this city.

One of my favourite pieces is the Bingo, a coffee table, seat, and single bed all rolled into one space-saving design. The store also has a fantastic selection of design books, vases, mobile sculptures, and some really cool coat racks.

Spencer Interiors

Clean lines, smooth surfaces, and modern lighting rule at Spencer Interiors, located on Main St. near Keefer St.

This store specializes in modern home design, and has a great selection of living room and bedroom furniture, lighting, and key pieces for the dream home office such as the “Secret” Desk by Zeitraum Germany (we’ll let you in on the secret, the drawers are hidden). Many of the items are sourced from Italy, where modern design reins and quality is paramount. 

A couple of favourite lighting pieces are the pixo task lamp (with a buit-in USB port to charge your phone) and clamp task lamp in walnut, both from San Francisco Pablo Designs; the LEDs are warm and ambient and, we are told, will never need to be replaced.

Old Faithful Shop

Located in Gastown on Cordova between Homer and Cambie, Old Faithful Shop is more about lighting and household accessories than large statement pieces (although the shop sells the odd handcrafted piece of furniture).

This shop was inspired by the local general store, historic Gastown and its modern inhabitants. Some favourite items here are: walnut cutting boards shaped like toast, kombucha growing kits, geometrical terrariums handcrafted in Pemberton, BC, and the locally made industrial chic Articulating Desk Lamp.

From time to time, you may also find must-have statement pieces like a herring bone-patterned table handcrafted from 125-year-old Douglas fir (recovered from historic Gastown).

The Found & The Freed

The Found & The Freed is not your typical design shop. Described as upcycle chic meets industrial garage sale, this design shop pops up for a short time (usually somewhere around Gastown) and then disappears while the owners search out more treasures.

The shop does have a permanent location on an unassuming stretch of Powell St., where all the restoration magic happens, and is accessible by appointment. If you're looking for authentic industrial lamps, vintage chairs, library card drawers, or conversation starting accessories, The Found & The Freed is worth a visit.