Sunday, 14 January 2018
Condo spaces are reducing in size every day. At present, the normal size of the studio unit is between thirty to forty square meters. Sometimes it can be as small as twenty square meters. As space becomes more compact, it's much more challenging to fit everything in and make your space look and feel comfortable. Here are ideas on how to make your condo look bigger and help you make the most out of your small space.
1) Get real!
Before you start doing or buying anything, you have to re-assess your lifestyle in the light of your small living space. A small space will require you to embark on a lifestyle change. You can't expect all of your belongings from a 100++ square meter home fit a 40 square meter studio without looking like a storage room. This means, take only those that are essential. When you want to buy something new, you have to give-up something else to make room for it.
2) Think more-in-one
When buying furniture, incorporate pieces that have the multifunctional feature such as an ottoman with storage that can be used as a coffee table, an occasional seat for the living area, an additional seat for the dining table and, for some models, a single foldaway bed/mattress.
3) Be creative and innovative
Storage doesn't only come in the form of built-ins. You don't want to fill your space with built-in cabinets because this will only make your interiors look more like a walk-in closet or a pantry than a home. Be discreet with your storage. Consider wide roll-away drawers and fit them under your bed frame to use that dead space. Use seats (stool, ottoman, and even upholstered sofa) with hidden storage. Maximize small corners. Instead of an end table, consider a slim chest of drawers which has more storage space.
4) Optical illusions
How to make your small space look bigger? First, simplify interior elements to minimize visual clutter. Use fewer color contrasts (go monochromatic), fewer details, and less number of furniture. If you want color and details, limit them to just a couple of accent pieces. Second, maintain an open plan layout. Avoid using dividers or screens because they just chop your small space into several minute spaces. Instead, define areas by arranging your furniture into groups and adding an element that will emphasize their centers and pull them all together such as an area rug or a pendant lamp. Third, blur elements that signal boundaries or space limitations such as walls, corners, and edges by lighting them up. Select accent lighting over the general overhead lighting.
General lighting makes everything visible and accentuating all four walls and corners of your little space while Accent lighting create a play of light and shadow that create depth. Fourth, add depth to walls by placing a large mirror, especially the tall kind (door height), that seem to create a door on the wall leading to a different room.
5) Be transparent
Avoid bulky-looking furniture and add depth to space by going for "transparent" pieces-a dining table with a clear glass top, chairs with a see-through backrest, and buffet cabinets with frosted glass doors.
6) Add texture not clutter
While it is encouraged to keep interior elements simple, you are not discouraged to give your space a theme and personality. Decorate with your belongings so you don't need to buy additional accessories. For example, if you love reading, use your books to decorate your shelves, your coffee tables, and the top of cabinets. Combine surface materials and introduce simple accent prints so your interiors won't look dull and boring. Natural texture is not limited to wood.Combine these with metallic accents to add a "kick" and to avoid monotony.
7) Render your space with life
Use plants for decorating. Apart from adding color and texture to your interior, plants help clean your indoor air. For those who do not have a balcony where you can occasionally expose your plants to sunlight, choose plants that can tolerate low light levels. Examples of low maintenance indoor plants (based on my experience) are sansevieria, yellow water plant, some types of bromeliads, and dracaena. Sometimes this is due to cost concerns, and other times it's an option for individuals who want to live conveniently.
While there are compromises that have to be made when living in a condo, there are advantages as well.
Due to limited space in a condo, you have to make the most out of what you have. Cluttering your apartment with too much furniture will make your space seem even smaller. Instead, you have to choose your furniture pieces mindfully. Only include items that are essential, such as a dining table, a couch, a bed, some chairs. In each room, place just a few pieces that add character and personality. You'll find that in a condo, less if more.
Enjoy your Amenities
Condos usually come equipped with a gym, pool, and other amenities. Make the most out of your building and take advantage of these perks. You are usually paying for these amenities via strata fees, so you might as well make the most of them. It will also get you out of the confined space of your apartment and out socializing with other people in your building.
Get Out Often
Most condos are located in busy or popular areas. Take advantage of this proximity and enjoy your neighborhood. Go out for dinner often, go for long walks, window shop, and get to know the area. More often than not, you are paying for the area you are living in, not the specific apartment itself, so get out there and enjoy!
Look for Community Activities
Although condos are convenient and they house a lot of people, they also contribute to a lot of isolation. People tend to stay in their apartments and very rarely get to know their neighbors. Because of this, community centers often have social gatherings so that people can feel more connected. Look for activities around your neighborhood that you can attend. This is a great way to get to know people and to expand your existing group of friends. Living in a condo comes with many advantages. To ensure that you make the most out of your experience, make sure that you decorate your apartment mindfully, enjoy your amenities, get out often, and get involved in the community.