As the year winds to a close, many of us look back to reflect on what unfolded. And when you work at a magazine, that doesn’t just mean a nostalgic browse through the photos on your phone (ah, March… we were so young then!): it means poring over your website traffic to see just what made your readers happy this year.

As we geeked out over the numbers to uncover the most-read, most-shared and most-loved articles for 2021, a pattern began to emerge. Beautiful homes, designer-approved design tips and inspiring getaway ideas were always winners. We’ve pulled together our top 10 hits right here for your reading pleasure, but if you had a favourite story that didn’t make the cut, we’d love to hear all about it€”share the stories that stuck with you on Instagram, and make sure to tag @westernliving so we can take a trip down memory lane with you.

10. A 1970s Lions Bay Home Gets a Modern Makeover

1974 was a good year: this post-and-beam Lions Bay home was built, and the designer who would eventually give it a glorious modern makeover was born. Explore the before and after photos of this striking renovation.

9. This Modern Farmhouse in Edmonton is Black and Bold and Beautiful

The 2,600-square-foot space pairs both modern and classic elements, thanks to the design duo at Ministry of Interiors.

8. Space Saving Techniques to Maximize Your Condo

Luxury home designer Kelly Deck brings her signature upscale style (and sophisticated space-saving tricks) to a compact Mount Pleasant condo.

7. 2021 Foodies of the Year Finalists

It’s safe to say it was a tough year for most everyone in the hospitality industry across Western Canada. But despite the closures, restrictions and seemingly endless hurdles, the foodies of the West still managed to make their mark and do all of us proud. Our finalist list was a hot-ticket story here on, but if you’d like to view the list of our top 10 Foodies of the Year winners, find that here.

6. 2021 Designers of the Year Finalists

In a year when home has never been more important, these designers have made our spaces all the more beautiful to come home to€”and we were thrilled to be able to celebrate them in our 2021 Designers of the Year competition. Our shortlist of finalists was a popular one, but you can explore our profiles of our 2021 Designers of the Year winners here. 

5. James McIntyre’s Spanish Colonial Revival in Palm Springs

A Palm Springs house with Spanish Colonial roots gets an elegant makeover from Calgary designer James McIntyre.

4. Hidden Gem Restaurants in Alberta

Our intrepid food reporter Julie Van Rosendaal hit the road to map out the best restaurants on the outskirts of Calgary. Now the only thing you need to do is hop in the car and drive.

3. 5 Best Overnight Hikes in BC Parks

We like an easy, meandering climb as much as the next person, but sometimes it feels good to fully commit to a trail in that I'm-going-to-sleep-here kind of way. So we asked local hiking expert Stephen Hui to share the most spectacular overnight hikes from his new book, 105 Hikes in and Around Southwestern British Columbia

2. 9 Genius Ways to Style Your Sideboard

Sideboards are more than just useful storage pieces: their large surface area makes them a display opportunity as well. But how to style (or not style) yours? Nine inspiring ideas. 

1. Vote for Western Living’s 2021 Home of the Year

Our 5th Annual WL Home of the Year celebrated the top designs in 2021, published by Western Living over the past year. Even though we could only ultimately crown one grand winner (congrats to RSAAW Architecture!), this list of finalists is worth perusing. From a gem of a Whistler cabin that preserved its vintage charm, to a holiday home that brings a beach vibe to West Vancouver, each of these homes is stunning through and through. 

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