toronto apartment tour 2020: part 2 – the living room and facebook marketplace

If you missed it, read PART 1: finding our apartment and planning the space prior to moving in

I am obsessed with Facebook Marketplace. This is no surprise to anyone who has met me because Facebook Marketplace is basically thrifting but with extra steps.

Here are my unsolicited tips for success on Facebook Marketplace:

  1. Check frequently. Similar to how people generally recommend going to the thrift store frequently because of the high inventory turnover rates, many things on Facebook sell within days and if you aren’t looking you could miss out on cool finds! FYI, this feeling of FOMO is absolutely a slippery slope to refreshing the page multiple times a day, much to the annoyance of your partner who says “there’s no more room in the apartment for more things.”
  2. Be specific in your keywords if you know what you want. This gets you the people who also know exactly what they have to sell. Do you want the LISABO desk from IKEA? The ROWAN sofa from Structube? They probably have it listed as such.
  3. But don’t get pigeonholed in your searches. Sometimes people don’t know what exactly they have or they don’t have the time to optimize their keywords (more likely – they just don’t care). Two of my finds for this apartment were listed in ways that would never have shown up if I only stuck to my original searches.
  4. Ask for measurements. Did you tune into my Instagram last week to witness me hauling home a rug that was listed as 6′ x 8′ only to discover that it was actually 6’6″ x 8’10”? Yeah, that sucked. Ask the seller, double check, and maybe even triple check just to be safe. Most responsible sellers will list (correct) dimensions on the posting.
  5. Have friends in other cities cover more ground. I bemoan the fact that Jill moved to Hamilton all the time, except for when she finds local things for me. (Thanks Jill!!)


We had two goals for the living room:

  1. Make sure the area would also function as a work space for me.
  2. Add storage that didn’t involve installing things into the walls wherever possible.

FURNITURE DETAIL #1 | The couch is the FALSLEV from JYSK which I bought on sale last year while we were at our last place. It’s a nice compact sofa with a sectional that you can put on the left or the right which is great if you like to change up your layout frequently. Everything in our plans was built around this couch because it was the only piece of living room furniture we had for sure.

FURNITURE DETAIL #2 | I looked at a bunch of rugs on Facebook but nothing really spoke to me. Our top contenders were this one that we ultimately purchased from Overstock, and a more traditional red one. I found it super helpful to Photoshop these terrible Escher-esque mock-ups to see how the patterns would look with my actual furniture. I know, I know, I am very cool and normal.

FURNITURE DETAIL #3 | We knew we wouldn’t have room for an actual coffee table so instead my vision was a Milo Baughman-inspired brass and glass swivel table that would have a small footprint when stacked as a side table. We could move it to the front of the couch and have the tiers pivot out if we ever needed to. I told Jill my vision so we could both monitor the vintage Instagram shops, and a few days later she sent me a Facebook Marketplace post for the exact table I was looking for!

FURNITURE DETAIL #4 | The sofa console table was found on Facebook Marketplace but not through a targeted search because it is actually not…a sofa console table at all. I was scrolling through the newly posted listings and clicked on it because it looked like it had potential even though it was listed as a headboard pillow/blanket box. The seller included all the measurements in the posting so I used them to add a placeholder shelf to our floorplan to see if it would fit behind our couch and it did! I was thrilled because then we could have a surface for art and mugs and also secret storage space. The seller was also willing to deliver it to our new apartment once we moved in for another $25 which was super reasonable.

One of my many vices (oysters, thrifting, Coke) is shopping from the vintage/reseller pages on Instagram. If you also like to buy curated goods and other cute decor items, I recommend following these accounts/artists below.

LINKS: @neckofthewoodshomegoods / @julesgemsvintage / @annamayday (corresponding image further down this page)


Other than furniture, we also got a 32″ monitor for me that would double as our TV since the living room will also have to be my home office space. However, we didn’t want a regular desk in the living room because they tend to be pretty deep (and I would need a deep desk with this huge monitor), which would make the living room feel way too cramped. My ideal desk was this extendable two tier desk because it could shrink to half the footprint of a regular desk when you aren’t working at it, but it was sold out everywhere when we were looking over the summer. (It’s now back in stock to spite me.)

FURNITURE DETAIL #5 | Instead, Mike had a truly inspired moment while we were in IKEA to use the NORDEN gateleg dining table as our TV console/my desk. Both arms of the table can be folded down so it is very compact when it’s just holding the monitor, and it is also super easy to convert into my desk. Bonus: there are 6 drawers in the table so there’s ample storage for our electronics.

You can see a hint of all the cables for the monitor, Switch, sound bar, Chromecast, chargers, etc. going into the top drawer on the right for some terrifying cable management. The NORDEN also comes in white but that version is made of MDF while the birch is solid wood (and heavy as hell).

TECH TALK: Since it is a monitor and not a TV, there is no remote to turn it on/off. This means we have to stand up and physically press the buttons, which we are simply too lazy to do if we’re already flopped on the couch. Mike ended up connecting the Chromecast to a smart plug so when we turn it from our phones/voice control, the whole monitor also turns on.

All in all, I love our living room. I’m pleased with how I was able to balance some of the retail furniture we needed to buy with unique secondhand pieces that were pretty affordable. The NORDEN is a perfect solution to our small living room/home office problem and I think we’ll be able to use it for years to come even if we are in a new space because of how versatile it is.

Speaking of small spaces, I’m genuinely excited to write up all the optimizations we made to our tiny kitchen to make it functional in a renter-friendly way. Not to get all TikTok, but I promise that these things ✨ just ✨ make ✨ sense.

2 thoughts on “toronto apartment tour 2020: part 2 – the living room and facebook marketplace

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