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:
- 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.
- 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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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