Properties nowadays are expensive. Purchasing a large piece of
land or buying a big house is not always an economically feasible
option, nor practical. Owning a condominium versus a freestanding
property comes with certain benefits, such as building
maintenance and landscaping included in your fees; however,
space is often an issue.
Interior decorating, furniture selection, and even the fixtures you
choose play an integral role in the illusion of space in a room or
Creating ‘zones’ is key when designing a small area. Interior
Designer, Marcy Mussari says, “To me, to have a ‘zone’ in design
is to create a different atmosphere, use, or purpose in a space”.
Marcy likes to refer to these zones as ‘moments’. A single small area,
such as an entranceway, can have multiple purposes by including
features such as a full-length mirror to check your appearance, a
decorative bowl to store keys, and a bench for putting on shoes.
The following are tips to optimize a small apartment or home
without making it feel too crammed or clustered:

  1. Lighting and Mirrors
    Standing and table lamps take up space or require a surface which
    could be used as an area for something else.
    Hanging lights such as pendants, and wall sconces are decorative
    and take up little space. LED strip lights are one of the simplest
    solutions for additional lighting, come in an array of colour
    options, and can be tastefully disguised as, or incorporated into,
    wall art and decor.
    Natural lighting is a small space’s best friend, as a large window
    itself provides the feeling of a room being larger. Sunlight is an
    inexpensive way to open up the interior of a room. Utilize your
    windows, or if you’re renovating, consider adding one, or even a
    skylight, to open up your place.
    Similar to lighting, strategically-placed mirrors can dramatically
    increase the appearance of space, by creating the illusion of space
    replicated in reflection.
  2. Multi-Purpose Furniture
    When selecting new furniture for a room or home, shop
    for options where the fittings can be used for more than
    one purpose. For example, instead of a traditional coffee
    table, choose a bench with hidden storage which can be
    also used as either a table or extra seating when guests
    come over.
    Convertible furniture such as sofa beds and futons are
    not just for grungy basements. Furniture stores and
    online shopping platforms carry many options for
    tasteful ‘convertible sofas’ which blend into living rooms
    whether they’re stylish or simple.
    A contemporary dining set such as the Osgood 5-piece
    dining set, available on multiple online shopping
    platforms, is a small wooden table with vinyl finish,
    complete with four matching ottomans, each providing
    storage space and which tuck away neatly under the
    table’s surface.
  3. Skirted Furniture
    For old-fashioned and traditional rooms, consider a
    simple re-upholstery technique which covers the space
    between the seat legs and the floor. You can find a
    skirting for your current bed, or to add to a chair or sofa;
    you can choose a material which matches or contrasts
    tastefully with the existing fabric.
  4. Utilize Your Wall Space
    Walls are the home’s number one untapped resource for
    storage which can be transformed into a work of art. By
    tastefully adding shelving and hooks and displaying your
    best belongings- such as the ‘good china’- you are adding
    storage and organization which doubles as adornment.
    “If you have the wall space then use it! Custom shelving
    is not only great for storage but also adds a special
    architectural detail to the space. If your wall space is
    limited, then another creative idea is installing storage
    on the ceiling. One way to do this is to install a beautiful
    iron pots and pan rack over an island,” – Mary Mussari.
  5. Colour Choice for Decorating
    Colour choice has a huge impact on the illusion of
    space. White is an obvious choice, but there are options
    for home owners who wish to have a darker and more
    dramatic look to enhance the theme of a room.
    Accent walls are walls which stand out from the others
    to give the room some unique personality. For example,
    while the room may have three neutral coloured walls,
    one specific area is highlighted by a contrast dark or
    bright colour. Marcy Mussari says that many of her
    clients choose to add an accent colour behind the sofas,
    or somewhere unexpected such as behind a staircase or
    some open shelving.
  6. Necessary Storage Space for Appliances
    Appliances take up a lot of space in the kitchen, and
    cluttered countertops counteract the appearance of
    cleanliness. It is important when designing a kitchen
    to have a spot for small appliances such as the toaster,
    mixer, blender, and other items we do not use daily.
    If you can’t add in a pantry, consider purchasing a coffee
    station with additional storage or ‘China cupboard’
    where the surface can double as extra counter space.
  7. Arranging your living area furniture
    When it comes to the living room, especially in a smaller
    apartment or condo, arranging the furniture to maximize
    the space is key. Marcy Mussari says when designing her
    clients’ entertaining areas, she starts with a rug in the
    centre of the room large enough to have two front legs of
    each piece of furniture on top of it. “From there I create
    a ‘conversation area’ with two chairs, a sofa, love seat, or
    chaise lounge. The coffee table or ottoman goes in the
    centre, and from there I add lighting, side tables and
    decor wherever they fit” says Marcy.
    So, if you live in a small condo, or just have a small room
    to make use of, creativity is key. Use some of the tips
    here, and others you can find in home magazines or from
    professional interior designers to help you best utilize
    your beautiful small space. TM