Popular YouTuber talks home makeovers and decorating shrinking Toronto apartments (VIDEO)

Mar 9 2022, 2:53 pm

It’s no surprise that Alexandra Gater’s most popular video is a home makeover of a 150 square foot studio that racked up 1.6 million views. Many people in Toronto (or anyone who lives in a major city, really) can probably relate.

Space is a premium that most millennials can’t afford, and when it comes to decorating, budgets can be even smaller.

Gater, a Toronto-based YouTuber, emphasizes that she’s not an interior designer; however, she’s made a name for herself online by decorating homes in Toronto. She also offers viewers temporary solutions to help make their generic rental units feel like home. Daily Hive caught up with Gater to talk about how the pandemic has shaped people’s feelings about their space, her new custom design packages, and making beautiful spaces more attainable.


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How did the idea for your channel come about?

I worked in publishing for a few years; that’s kind of how I started my career. I worked in the home section and worked my way up to the home editor position. I felt like there was this gap in the world of home décor. We were covering spaces and kitchen renovations that were like $30,000 and featuring these brands selling furniture that, at the time, I could never afford as a 20-year-old. I thought, “Where’s the decorating advice for people like us? People who rent and first-time homeowners.” It was about tapping into this niche that didn’t seem like, at the time, a lot of people were tapping into.

How has the pandemic changed what clients want?

The biggest change is a pretty obvious one: people need workspaces in their homes, whether that’s in a tiny 200-square-foot studio apartment or a one-bedroom. Everyone needs a workspace, and they need a workspace they can tuck away at the end of the day. Work right now is front and centre for so many people in their living spaces, so that’s something we always try and change.


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What are the challenges of decorating rental units?

The number one is always space. It’s trying to cram a workstation, a living room, and a bedroom into a tiny space. Function is also a challenge. We recently did a studio fix episode where we couldn’t paint the walls, we couldn’t hang anything with nails, and we couldn’t put any holes in the walls. That was a fun challenge.

What advice would you give renters with all these limitations?

I hope that in my videos, people are able to take tips regardless if you can’t put a hole in the wall or paint. Even just hanging art on the wall with Command Strips or putting flowers on the table. There are so many simple tips that we give in every video you can take something away from it.

There are also so many great noncommittal products out there, like peel and stick wallpaper and peel and stick tiles that you can put on the wall and takedown, and no one would know that you had wallpaper while you were living there.


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What’s it like decorating Toronto apartments that are getting smaller and more expensive?

It’s kind of why I do what I do. We’re living in smaller spaces that have to work super hard for us. They’re really expensive, so people don’t have a ton of extra money or budgets to spend on outfitting their spaces. But regardless of the size of the space, your space can be beautiful, even if it’s painting one wall. Even if it’s not décor and it’s just lighting a candle or using one of your favourite scents, those everyday rituals can have such an impact on our mental health.

How did the idea behind the virtual makeover service come about?

We don’t really travel outside of Toronto logistics-wise. It’s difficult for us to do so. I wondered how can I make this a service for people worldwide where they can be able to get tips from me that are personal and customized. I thought it would be so cool to offer a tangible product to someone and have me design their space in a way that’s a curated and customized experience they can implement themselves.

The idea for the virtual makeover package is that you submit photos of your space and the measurements, and my team and I will come up with a plan. We give you everything you need to execute it yourself, including a colour mood board, paint colours, fabric swatches, and product suggestions.

They also receive a personalized video message from me walking them through the plan, and we went back and forth about the cost of it, and it really is supposed to be something that’s attainable for people. And to make them feel empowered to be able to make their space beautiful on their own regardless of whether Team AG is there making it happen. But it’s a fraction of what it would cost to hire a professional interior designer. And it’s really just bridging that gap.

Learn more about Alexandra Gater’s makeover packages here.

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