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Graphic designer Chris Hanz recently opened a store in Toronto focused on high-quality desk supplies.

Good design is a relative concept, but often it means acquiring pricey pieces that can stretch your budget. So, how does one achieve a smart look without a big spend? “You usually need less than you think, so my advice is almost always to slow down; don’t pick a weekend to go out and furnish your life,” Chris Hanz says.

Hanz should know. The graphic designer turned importer earlier this year opened Average, a Toronto store that focuses on high-quality, high-function desk supplies and housewares with a timeless aesthetic. “I look for a sense of serenity in the objects I surround myself with. I like things to have a place, purpose and function without a great deal of expression.”

That concept extends to Average’s offering, which includes a range of Hanz’s favourites from Copenhagen, where he studied design, alongside brands from around the world. Here he shares a few favourites for an at-home work space.

Photograph By Joseph Saraceno

1. Wall mirror

“This mirror is the perfect balance of reduced and beautiful. I really enjoy objects people don't think about a lot, like mirrors, even though we all have one. I think those areas are interesting challenges for a designer to explore.”

Wall mirror by Moebe, $299 at Gron + White.

2. Journal

“I'm trying to be less digital, so I found picking up a useful notebook/planner to be the easiest, concrete step I could take in that direction.”

Even Weekly Journal by Notem, $39 at Chez Nous Chez Vous.

3. Table lamp

“To me, the TR series from Menu is one of the most interesting lights on the market. This tall version totally transforms a room on a side table, shelf, bedside or desk.”

TR marble table lamp, $339 at Average.

4. Wool blanket

“Tekla is a brand that's so easy to fall in love with. They couldn't find their style of sheets and blankets they wanted, so they decided to make their own. A year later they're sold at some of the best stores in Europe and even opened a pop-up hotel this past summer in Portugal with hotelier/artist André Saraiva.”

Wool Blanket by Tekla, $280 at Average.

5. Tray

Things need places and this smart desk organizer does a brilliant job of holding mail, keys, pens, phones, notebooks et cetera.”

Strata Tray by Mercury Bureau, $99 at Neighbour.