Every season, we ask different influencers—whose styles we adore—to visit HomeSense and find items to spruce up their space. For the holidays, we wanted to experiment with different ways to decorate, and since HomeSense has everything you could possibly want and need (and great prices!), we asked them to think outside the gift-wrapped box. Johanna Martin (@blousesandhouses) came up with a sleek contemporary look (think glittery and glam with pops of pink), while Natalie Ast (@natalieast) went for a more traditional, albeit super fun, look.

What holiday vibe is speaking to you? Enter our @HomeSense For The Holidays Contest and win a $300 gift card for a very merry shop!

Inside Johanna’s cozy Parkdale apartment…

When you set out for your trip to HomeSense, did you know what you wanted to get?

I knew I wouldn’t have room for a tree to be my focal point, so I decided to style a faux mantle set up in my living room.

What did you enjoy most about your trip to HomeSense?

I loved that it felt like a treasure hunt, I popped into several different HomeSense locations in search of the perfect shades of bottle brush trees.

How do you generally go about decorating your home? 

There’s always a few pieces I start with and build around, I spend a lot of time collecting. I’m a renter, so a lot of the decorating decisions aren’t really up to me. I generally start with some white paint on everything and play around with where my collected items get displayed from there. A lot of my decorating considerations are practical, like “can my cat jump up there to destroy that?”

It’s obvious from your IG account that you love a softer pastel palette. What is it about those colours that you love?

I’ve always been drawn to colour! The pastel palette in my home (and on my Instagram) feels like my version of ‘neutrals’ – a way to play with colour without being too bold that I might get tired of it. 

So, what did you end up getting?

Bottle brush trees in various sizes and pastel colours

Iridescent glass tree

Fairy lights

Rainbow mantle string lights

Festive coffee mug & wine glasses

Pastel snow globe

A pink camera ornament!

Festive storage boxes

Christmas scented candles

Cozy knitted throw pillow & blush pink blanket

Do you have any holiday traditions that you really look forward to?

I always look forward to taking a real break from work and travelling back home to my family home to enjoy a quiet & cozy week away from the city.

Anything new/different that you’re looking forward to this year?

This is actually my first collection of Christmas decorations that’s my very own. I’ve moved around a lot since being in Toronto and it never felt practical to collect and store seasonal decorations. This year felt really special being able to ‘deck my halls’ in my very own style. I’ll be looking forward to unpacking my festive treasures each year!

What’s your advice to those who want to do a little refresh on their space, but lack confidence with interior design?

Just keep playing! Collect what you like, even if it takes time and play around with where things go and how they are displayed until you find something that looks great but also works functionally in your space. I love following design instagram accounts and pinterest boards to collect inspiration.

Up the elevator to Natalie’s midtown condo…

When you set out for your trip to HomeSense, did you know what you wanted to get?

Whenever I visit HomeSense I try to have an open mind! The thrill of the hunt is the best part about shopping there, as well as finding a great deal and unique pieces. I knew I wanted to pick up some couch cushions and a throw, but there were so many unique holiday decor items that surprised me. For this trip, I didn’t even have a colour story or theme in mind, but everything fell into place… in my cart!

What did you enjoy about your shopping experience?

I loved getting inspired by all the Christmas decor displays! The first time I shopped, I went alone and spent a lot of time going through each row and finding hidden gems. For my second visit, my boyfriend tagged along and we had so much fun together picking out the perfect pieces to deck the halls of our home.

What did you get?

Couch pillows

Wool throw

Flocked condo-friendly Christmas tree


Bottlebrush trees

Glitter trees

Two snowglobes

Festive Mug

Wooden Tray

Faux Eucalyptus (that I turned into a garland)

Christmas Tree Star

Decor Accents

Cookie Jar

Wooden scene with lights.

How would you describe your home decor aesthetic?

I would describe my own personal decor style as boho-glam. I love natural materials, textures, and beachy colours, but I try to ground the excess with solid, masculine, mid-century modern pieces.

Do you have any holiday traditions that you really look forward to?

I love spending time with family and my partner, doing festive things like going ice skating, visiting the Christmas market and gathering with our families for dinner. As a lawyer, I feel like my day-to-day is super busy, so I’m looking forward to the downtime and great meals ahead.

Anything new/different that you’re looking forward to this year?

I’m hosting my first Christmas party for friends in my new condo, it’s a great place to gather, and I love hosting people!

What’s your advice to those who want to do a little refresh on their space, but lack confidence with interior design?

If you’re looking to upgrade your space, new decor accents can work wonders! An older couch can feel new again with fresh pillows, and a mirror on a blank wall can open up your space. I recommend adding texture and colour into the mix – think a woven wall hanging, for example. Also, plants whether real or faux can bring new life into a room.

What is your cat’s name? Does she attack the Christmas tree?

My cat’s name is Mousse, she’s a tabby I rescued from the streets. She is definitely a people pleaser and would rather spend her evenings snuggled on the couch with me than attacking my Christmas tree and plants. I’m very lucky to have a cat that can live in harmony with my holiday decor!

We love how both Natalie and Johanna are celebrating lots of firsts this Christmas! Are you inspired by what they found? How they decorated? Make sure to enter our #MyHomesense Holiday Contest now! With so much selection, and the best value, HomeSense is our favourite destination for stylish things to make our home cozy and pretty for the hectic season ahead.