The 20 Stories Real Living Readers Loved in 2017

It's a curious mix of celebrities, dream homes, minimalism, and the absence of an incredibly popular home store

Photography: Jilson Tiu and (Main Photos)

Many associate Real Living mainly with homes—thousands of photos of beautiful, peg- and Pinterest-worthy homes. We definitely have those, but the site is chockfull with other stories that go beyond mere decorating. It’s an interesting cross-section of the aspirational and inspirational, the luxe and the budget-friendly, locally available resources, and useful tips and ideas. Here are our most popular stories for 2017, based on what our readers (a majority of them in their mid-twenties to early thirties) clicked on the most:

Celebrity homes, of course.


Whether it’s Sharon Cuneta’s palatial house, or Kris Aquino’s white-and-pink home, readers couldn’t get enough of celebrity homes, and a peek into their interesting private lives. Who would expect Ellen Adarna to live in a 1930s, art deco apartment?

READ: 11 Celebrity Homes You Loved in 2017

That elusive IKEA Philippines store.


Pinoys are clamoring for an actual IKEA store on our shores, and occasionally, rumors and news tidbits would fly about one branch or the other opening here or there, but it seems we will have to wait a while until the Swedish furniture giant will open locally.

In our viral news story Could This Be The IKEA PH we’re Wishing For? our hopes were dashed when we found out the big blue-and-yellow building in Laguna was actually a Lazada warehouse.

Sprawling dream houses that spell #homegoals.


As they say, “go big or go home.” Real Living’s most-viewed house for 2017 is Donna Cuna’s DIY, beautiful-but-affordable Dream House in Cavite that was Decorated on a Budget—a house that was aspirational, and inspirational as well. It is interesting to note that almost 15,000 more readers clicked on our big house stories than on condo unit stories; perhaps to get inspiration for their ultimate dream home in the future. 

Condo homes, and mostly on a shoestring budget.


Our most-read condo home story is A Student Designed This Studio Unit with a P76,000 Budget, a project which proves that you can renovate a home under P100,000.

Condo units are attainable and affordable homes, and the tour of This 17sqm Studio Unit Gives Us Small Space Goals struck a chord in the hearts of our readers who had their own studio units, as the multiple functions and clever space-saving ideas of designer Rod Lascano showed them that a small home could still be stylish.

For Millennials, condos are the homes of choice, as seen in the random survey in What Do Millennials Want in a Home? On their wishlist: three-bedroom condo units, condos with a view, and accessibility to CBDs. 



Contrary to the Horror Vacui tendencies of most Filipinos, the new generation of young homeowners prefers sleeker, modern-minimalist homes, with barebones finishes, streamlined spaces, and basic furniture. The house in the story Style Rules This Modern Minimalist Industrial Home is a good example of this type of home.

Also, buying less is more mindful, as you are not getting unnecessary items that will only add to our carbon footprint. Minimalism is a lifestyle, and a visually soothing option to over-decoration, as seen in 15 Calming Photos of Minimalist Homes and our other stories on minimalism.

Budget shopping—lots of budget shopping!


Everyone, regardless of social strata, loves a bargain, and this was immediately seen in our widely-shared shopping stories. Our most-viewed shopping article of 2017 was The Ultimate Dapitan Shopping Guide, and we can’t blame you, as this Quezon City haunt is the best place for quality (meaning: durable, not throwaway-level, and relatively stylish) home goods at rock-bottom prices.


Following close on the heels of Dapitan are those budget-Japan-P88 stores, which our stylist Kamila Garcia did a roundup of in 23 Home Items You Should Hoard From Budget Stores. What you should hoard: non-stick pans, kitchenware, and lamps, all for under P600 (or P100!).

A renewed interest in heritage (thank God).

We’d like to think that the recent revival of the Escolta area and the ongoing restoration of the Metropolitan Theater sparked a new interest among Filipinos about heritage sites and structures, and of going for conservation instead of resorting to the wrecking ball.


One of the latest heritage success stories are the Laperal Apartments in the article Would You Believe There Are Cool Apartments Inside this Old Building in Manila? A young entrepreneur couple opted to restore the gutted art deco building into a hip, mixed-use apartment complex for a new, appreciative generation: the Gen Y crowd.


Another success story is the Metropolitan Theater, which we’ve covered in a series of articles, from the cleaned-up, pre-restoration state in 12 Hauntingly Beautiful Photos of the Metropolitan Theater to a story on its newly restored lobby.

Easy homecare.

We all want clean homes, and also, the easiest way to improve your home is to clean it. So our homecare stories hit close to our readers hearts, especially when it’s an affordable DIY story (also our most-read housekeeping story of the year) This Deodorizer Will Keep Your Home Fresh for a Month. It’s got a secret ingredient we all have in our kitchens!


Nifty solutions to small spaces.

Flexible furniture pieces are a must, and homeowners are always looking for value-for-money pieces, so our story on multi-use pieces, Space-Saving Furniture Ideas for Tiny Homes (don’t you love those GIFs?) was a big hit with the readers.

A magical makeover.


The story An Eight-Day Makeover for a Bare Concrete House was an oldie but goodie, and it definitely showed the most dramatic before-and-after photos—you have to click on it to believe it!

Escapism by way of gardening and plants.

Urban gardening maven Marvz Conti says that having a garden at home improves your wellbeing, and any garden—whether in a backyard or in a tiny condo balcony—can help you escape the daily stresses of city life. Our biggest garden story was about Cedarhills in A Secret Garden Center in Quezon City, which took our readers by surprise, as many thought they had to go all the way to Tagaytay for complete gardening centers.


Most of our readers are looking to green thumb tips, especially if they don’t have a garden yet, so it isn’t any surprise one of our most-loved celeb stories was Aubrey Miles’s (yes, that Aubrey Miles) jungle-like home in Plant Decorating Ideas Inspired By Aubrey Miles’s Indoor Garden.



Who could escape the Millennial Pink color trend? The blushing tint—the color of choice of hipsters—was seen everywhere, from paint colors, to visual merchandising, to Le Creuset cookware!

And our article on Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2018 was a shocker. No one expected that Ultra Violet would become the ultimate trend. A local interior designer said it well in a Facebook post: “Ultra Violet means uve.”


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