Haute RE Magazine

Gillian Segal Anticipates Tomorrow’s Vintage

G illian Segal is one of Vancouver’s most eclectic and innovative interior designers, fearlessly experimental in the pursuit of timeless style and glamour. Gillian sat down with Haute before IDS Vancouver to share her unique vision for design in the city.

We’re all living in smaller spaces these days. How do you overcome that challenge?

I love it! Bigger certainly isn’t always better. 

We are constantly trying to find ways to make spaces feel spacious. One way is through wallpapering a complete room– especially solid wallpaper, like a grasscloth. It will naturally bring your eye up to the ceiling and give the impression of a bigger room. 

I also tend to stick to lighter colours in condos because so many of the spaces are open to other rooms. I think a limited palette helps the flow. But I would suggest playing around with fun colours in a smaller bathroom! 

One of the challenges of a condo is its proximity to nearby buildings, so adding more curtains and window treatments gives greater privacy. 

What predictions would you make for the future of interiors in the next 10 years?

In kitchens we have seen a huge transition from gold to silver hardware. Gold has had a long run but we are now starting to see silver coming into its own, gravitating towards deeper oil-rubbed bronze or hues of silver. 

Warmer hues are coming through in paint and upholstery: ochres, yellows, mustard, burnt oranges and reds and camels. For furniture I anticipate seeing more livable fabrics that are low-maintenance and more resilient — tomorrow’s vintage item! 

How does sustainability fit into your home of the future?

I encourage clients to buy vintage! There are so many great pieces that have already lived previous lives and I love the idea of using those rather than buying everything new. A great investment as well — good vintage tends to hold its value. 

I am moving more towards working with natural products and materials, handmade items, and small-batch pieces that have a story and support a craft or a trade. It’s the small bit of imperfection that brings the magic for me.

Gillian Segal finds inspiration in the past, but never stays there


  1. Homes are generally underlit. Create a warm, flattering lighting scheme with light at a variety of levels. Add floor and table lamps where appropriate, and sconces where possible.

  2. Keep to a minimal palette – consistency helps the space feel bigger and brighter.

  3. Add a mirror to create an optical illusion of space. It also bounces light around. Make the most of natural light during the dark of winter with a mirror across from a window or glass door.

  4. Paint is the easiest and most cost-effective way to transform any space. If you are up for a project and really need to brighten things, consider whitewashing the room with Benjamin Moore’s Simply White.

  5. Always consider the scale of the furniture and rugs. Don’t buy pieces that are oversized just because you like the design or style; it all needs to stay proportional, so your room feels as big as possible.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.



Photo credit: Gillian by CollectiveYou, all other images Nick Mele Photography