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Inside Scoop: Designer Finds

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When you watch interior design shows on TV, you get to see beautiful spaces filled with dazzling pieces, but you may wonder: how does design really work behind the scenes? Designers always seem to be able to find just the right piece that makes a whole room come together.

Well, part of interior design is creating custom, one of a kind items that perfectly suit a client's needs. To be honest, though, another huge part is always being in the know: designers have to be in on all the newest trends, looks, and shops so that when the time comes, we can make finding that missing puzzle piece look easy. In reality, finding the right item and snatching it up takes a lot of industry savvy.

Newly opening, Toronto-based boutique In the Know -- a first time concept for Canada -- features must-have essentials as well as one-of-a-kind consignment items, but with a twist: all of the items hit the showroom floor at a discount price, which drops every week until the items are snatched up. I like that it's a bit like a game -- if you wait a week you can save, but you may discover someone has scooped up your favourite find before you! (Or, I found out, if you follow @ITK_TO on twitter that you can get an instant 10 per cent off -- just like us designers.)

My early preview of their space inspired a few tips on choosing just the right piece -- the way the pros know:

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-Never underestimate the sectional sofa: the term may conjure images of a massive L shaped piece of lounge furniture, but a simple two piece straight sectional can be much easier to fit into a small space (with small doors) than a traditional sofa. Down the road you can create an L in a new, roomier setting by adding placing the two halves at a right angle with a large, square, low table to fill in the corner.

-Traditional Persian rugs are timeless, but have also become trendy in modern settings. The rich character and visual warmth contrast sleek modern furniture beautifully, bringing back a sense of opulence lost in recent decades of minimalist style. Use one to tie together a seating group that feels lost or unfinished -- just choose one that reaches under all the chair and table legs so it isn't an island itself.

-Don't be afraid to use a large statement piece in a small nook. One plush sofa paired with a dramatic art piece will make a bigger statement than a clutter of compact compromises. At the same time, don't feel the pressure to always use gigantic furniture in a large room. I often break long or wide spaces into separate zones (approximately square) -- a few seating areas next to each other, especially with something backless and flexible like a bench or stools between them, can handle a small gathering or a cocktail party equally well.

-If your furniture conundrum seems truly unsolvable, remember that a custom solution is not as unattainable as it may seem -- the lasting investment will bring you years of design satisfaction, and your one of a kind creation will always show that you are truly in the know.