Having a well-designed home can make a big difference in terms of livable space and function. Most homeowners choose to do DIY interior design but if you’re looking for some outside help, here are some of the top interior designers in Canada.
But first, what’s the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator? A designer plans the entire project, determining how each room will be used and then creating the functionality of the space. A decorator, on the other hand, is tasked with filling that space with the appropriate décor, from furniture to textiles to art.
“In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design,” according to Lisa League a Florida-based interior designer, project manager for a luxury boutique hotel developer and founder of QPractice.com, an online study-aide for students looking to pass U.S. exams to become a licensed interior designer.
Now that you know the difference, let’s take a look at some of the most popular interior designers in Canada. Our list is based on whether or not these firms or individuals received Canadian or international accolades and customer reviews. Here’s our list of the top 10 interior designers in Canada.
1. Cecconi Simone
Cecconi Simone is listed as one of the top interior designers in Canada. If you’re interested in viewing the work that has garnered this design firm national and international acclaim, their website has samples of their interior designs and portfolio.
The designs Cecconi Simone produces are beyond spectacular. The geniuses behind this Toronto, Ontario interior design firm are Elaine Cecconi and Anna Simone, but it takes a village to produce such brilliant work so they carry a staff of about 40 people.
Favourite Project: Villa Kishti
2. II by IV Design
It was in 1990 that Dan Menchions and Keith Rushbrook realized their dream of forming a “creative firm that was deeply rooted in design and guided by a passion for constant innovation.”
Today, II by IV Design is internationally renowned as one of the best interior designers in Canada and the recipient of numerous awards as well as countless magazines and publications features.
The Toronto-based interior design firm’s commercial projects make them a household name to all but a few and include the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, the CN Tower and Yankee Stadiums’ Legends Suite Club, Legends Dugout Lounge and Yankee Steakhouse. Despite all the fanfare their commercial projects get, it’s their residential designs that are spectacular.
Favourite Project: Minto St. Thomas Residences Penthouse
3. Kelly Deck
Luxury homeowners are particularly drawn to Kelly Deck’s designs. Described as “tranquil and luxurious,” the firm caters to the high-end homeowner who wants efficient, clean and well-appointed spaces that has earned her a spot as one of the top interior designers in Canada.
Her work has been featured in Luxury Home Canada, Style at Home and Style at Home Cottage magazines. Kelly also writes a column for the Globe and Mail and has a series on HGTV.
If soft and understated is your goal, visit Ms. Deck’s portfolio or visit her in her Vancouver, B.C. office.
Favourite Project: Sea Glass Cottage
4. Paul Raff
Toronto-based Raff Studio is a full-service architecture firm, founded by Montreal-transplant Paul Raff. An artist at heart, Mr. Raff believes in sustainability and “eco-friendly” design. His work has earned him international acclaim and tons of press coverage (with a list far too long to mention, but you can view it here).
Raff also believes that excellence requires a collaborative effort and has assembled a diverse team of professionals, brimming with what Raff refers to as “our fresh and informed approach to art, architecture, and sustainability.”
Favourite Project: Extreme Makeover
5. Mason Studio
Not your typical residential design firm, Mason Studio is known in the Canadian interior design community for their brilliant and quirky experimental projects, such as the immersive environments created for the 2012 Junction Design Crawl and the 2012 Interior Design Show.
Based out of the now-trendy Junction District in Toronto’s west end, Mason Studio professes a commitment to modernism, which stems from the imaginations of the firm’s young founders, Stanley Sun and Ashley Rumsey. Despite these modernist leanings, their process is decidedly traditional, at least according to Sun. “Good design isn’t about this season’s trend, but what are the client’s problems? What do they need to solve?” he explained during a 2015 Toronto Star interview with fashion columnist Karen von Hahn.
Favourite Project: Private Residence in London, UK
6. Leanne Bunnell Interiors
A Calgary-based interior designer since 2003, Leanne Bunnell has built a team of like-minded designers who share a firm belief in design that reflects their clients’ personalities and lifestyle.
Frequently featured in Avenue magazine, you’ll also find the firm’s work highlighted in Design Bureau, Canadian Home Trends, the Calgary Herald, among others.
Bunnell is the founder of Seventy Seventy Design Headquarters, “a creative, inspiring, shared workspace, tailored to the needs of Calgary’s Interior Design Professionals.”
Favorite Project: Mountain Park Residence
7. Patricia Gray, Inc.
Professionally trained at the Parsons School of Art and Design in Paris, France, Vancouver-based interior designer Patricia Gray not only designs interior spaces but creates gorgeous custom furniture and artwork. As a and a certified Feng Shui practitioner, her training and creativity are evident in each of her projects where she matches flow, energy, beauty and functionality. This leads her to be listed as one of the top interior designers in Canada.
Each design considers light, movement and aesthetic appeal and each room is balanced between light textures and fabrics and dark, rich wood combinations. While her work has been featured in an array of publications, she receives personal kudos from John Travolta for the design work she did on his home. The best way to view it is on her website.
Favorite Project: Patina
8. Beyond Beige
While the firm’s projects range from commercial to hospitality to residential, Pollard also works with designing new build homes, as well as redesigning interior decor and custom furnishings.
Pollard received her formal education at the University of British Columbia where she graduated with a degree in fine arts and economics. She received further training by attending the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby, B.C., where she obtained yet another degree in interior design.
For the last few years, she has consistently won Georgie Awards, which are held by the Canadian Home Builders Association to highlight excellence in new home building.
Favorite Project: Lower Road – West Coast Contemporary
9. Elizabeth Metcalfe
For two decades, this interior design firm has worked on many luxury private residences. The team of women is committed to modern and innovative designs that come alongside top-of-the-line furnishings that will surely set their clients’ homes apart from the typical layout and design.
Elizabeth Metcalfe’s work has been awarded in many ways. Some more notable wins include the 2018 Best Interior Design Private Residence (Gordon Woods) and the Living Space – Global Award (Belair Dr. Residence) from the 2017 International Design & Architecture Awards in London UK.
Located in downtown Toronto, the team of four has a beautiful portfolio, and a great knack for social media if you are ever interested in finding inspiration on your own.
Favourite Project: The Bridle Path
10. Escobar Design
While growing up in his native country of Columbia, Andres Escobar had dreams of becoming an engineer. So, he moved to Montreal to pursue a degree. But along the way, he fell in love with interior design and makes our list as one of the top interior designers in Canada. He dropped his engineering studies and pursued his passion by getting a degree from Dawson’s College and, shortly after graduating, landed in one major design firm after another until he decided to strike out on his own.
Andres Escobar & Associates was founded in 1989 in Montreal, Quebec. Now known as lemay + Escobar based out of New York City, the architecture firm and its founder are recipients of some of the world’s most prestigious awards.
Favourite Project: Montreal-Trudeau Airport Signature