A Small Toronto Apartment Is a Rental, But Still Colorful and Customized

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Pink room with colorful art and a dark chair with a cheetah pillow
Credit: Amanda Lowthian
Living room gallery wall with Frame TV and mixed media objects.

Name: Amanda Lowthian and cat Sugi
Location: Toronto — Ontario, Canada
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 9 months, renting

Credit: Amanda Lowthian
Sewing and workspace

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I moved to my apartment in November with my cat Sugi after a breakup and it is my first time having a place all to myself. Luckily, I had been collecting items I love for years and finally had the space of my own to let my ideas run more freely and get creative with a tiny space. The apartment is basically one big circle as there are two doors in the bedroom so you can walk through the apartment in one continuous loop, which gives it such a great flow! I am excited to paint my feature accents on the wall like I had done in previous places; I think it will really complete the space! It is so bright with east-facing windows, but I’ve added lots of lighting options as there are no overhead lights in the living room so it’s necessary for me to have a variety of lighting sources to create the mood I want for different times of day/occasions. My surroundings influence my mood very much, so it is extremely important I custom make a space a home.

Credit: Amanda Lowthian
Living room is very narrow yet functional

Though it is a rental, I got customizing within the first week of moving here. I added a pink adhesive backsplash and adhesive checker flooring, and took the doors off the cabinets in the kitchen, shelves over radiators, lots of art and unique accents. Because the living space is very narrow I have to think outside the box to set up the living space and make it feel comfy, and I feel I made it work despite the size! I am so happy with this space and people that come over can feel the positive energy and creative inspiration it exudes. I am so excited to keep making it more and more my space!

Credit: Amanda Lowthian
Bedroom aspect

I am introverted and quiet but I have always assumed the aesthetic taste that translates to a bold and loud energy — I think this speaks to the passion I have about art and color and how it influences my mood and disposition. I grew up in a home that was decorated in mainly browns, beiges, and maroons. I had a natural aversion to it, as I felt stunted with creativity in that surrounding. My bedroom was always the most colorful spot in the house, therefore I went the complete other direction in my own place by adding tons of color all throughout. My favorite colors are pink, green, and yellow, so I have that color palette throughout the apartment except the bedroom. The bedroom I wanted to feel like a separate space to be able to decompress at night and change up my surroundings, so I went with a peach, orange, purple, chartreuse theme; I am still working on it and am excited to put my painted accents in.

Credit: Amanda Lowthian
From living room looking towards ‘work area’ that was a must-need space to make happen!

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Colorful, crafty, with unusual vintage twist

Credit: Amanda Lowthian

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the bar/living space. It was a huge challenge to include all the aspects I really wanted in such a small space such as gallery wall, TV, bar, seating, media, surface area, while still feeling spacious and welcoming. I was so happy to get the Samsung Frame TV so I could incorporate it on my gallery wall. I have smaller-scale furniture like my authentic mid-century couch, which I will be reupholstering, small end tables, a console I painted, which serves amazing for storage, creating a long shelf on the radiator, and a narrow bar/buffet. I made sure to keep lots of things off the ground to maximize floor space so it didn’t feel cramped; this means a hanging light, plants, decor, and shelves that are mounted as opposed to standing. I love all of my vintage/small business/local artist finds and my own DIYs, I hacked or made pretty much all of my furniture. My favorite items in the room are the gold hand curtain ties (Anthropologie), the wooden propeller I hand made out of a 2×4, the oversized Campbell’s Soup can I turned into a side table by adding a wooded structure inside, my fringe light, the hanging plaster bird, the vintage snake lamp with globe bulb, the pin Evian crates I had got shipped from Europe, and all of the animal-themed items — especially the leopards!

Credit: Amanda Lowthian
Jessica Poundstone prints and mini glass house shelf

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I just put up these two Jessica Poundstone prints that I feel were meant for my place!

I also thrifted a small vintage glass house-shaped shelf that I added to the gallery wall to “house” small plants.

Credit: Amanda Lowthian

Any advice for creating a home you love? Take the time to collect and find things that really speak to you, it feels so much more rewarding to surround your space with items that feel like they were made for you and will fit right into your home, rather than feeling the need to fill those empty spaces in a rush. Also, use items as wall decor interspersed with art to create multi-media decor and texture.

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity. 
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