Designer Tips for Decorating a Condo


by Ernesto | Mar 15, 2011

I started my career in big cities in America then traveled to Europe where I had to learn how to fight for every square inch (or every square centimeter) to give comfort, beauty, drama or serenity to each space. In my early career, I learned the standards for how space is used are quite different between urban and suburban areas. Condos (flats, apartments, etc) tend to have a smaller footprint with less square footage. On this post, I will be sharing with you some important guidelines to make your small Condo spaces more comfortable, livable, beautiful, and efficient ones. Enjoy!

9-2012 ASID 1st Place-Design Under 3,500 sqFt-Contemporary Condo Design- Family Room General View

Built-ins will be your best friends in a condo. They are an exceptional means of increasing storage and shelving that can be decorative and functional at the same time. Keep it simple; appliqués and overly detailed elements can make built-ins look too heavy.  Ideally, built-ins should be addressed by the buyer, rather than looking to the builder to include them during construction. Designing your own built-ins to fit your needs can assure functionality and beauty.

Some examples: linen cabinets that fit behind a door and home office built-ins that house the TV, computer, printers, book shelves and decorative accessories.

 

4-2012 ASID 1st Place-Design Under 3,500 sqFt-Contemporary Condo Design-Dining Room

Paint colors should be in a unified palette. When you use a single color for walls in the living room and dining room. This will visually expand the spatial perception of the rooms. This doesn’t mean you cannot have an accent wall; sometimes it’s perfect to define a space. Because rooms will be smaller, the paint for the doors, trim, built-ins and closet doors in the same color as the walls. That way, your eyes will be drawn to furnishings and fabrics instead of the cutouts and openings in the space. Another quick trick is to keep the color contrast between walls and ceilings to a minimum; that will make people less aware of generally lower heights.

Bigger is not always better. Large and overly decorated chandeliers, pendants and wall sconces are not as suitable for condos. They can look overwhelming and out of scale. Choose clean-lined and more understated sources of light. This doesn’t mean you should get rid of everything from your previous home. Rescue pieces that are well proportioned to their new spaces. Heirlooms and antiques can become focal points in specific rooms. With art, the same rules apply, address scale first. You want to make sure that your furnishings will serve as an “anchor” for your artwork. It’s fine to use art as a focal point; just make sure a piece doesn’t completely overwhelm its surroundings.

22-First Place -2014 ASID Award Winning Furniture Design Cocktail Table-Living Space-General View of Entrance and Dining RoomAFTER

Trick the eyes with Mirrors! Mirrors are a useful tool in any space, particularly floor-to-ceiling mirrors. They expand your perception of the size of a room. Place them in foyers, dining rooms, bedrooms, and don’t be afraid to back furniture against them. You’ll be surprised how dramatic a console or a chair can become. Try anchoring a framed painting against a mirror. It will look like the art is floating!

When in comes to condo window coverings, less is more. Stay away from overly detailed rods and finials and heavy swags. Few condos have the scale to accommodate such treatments. Keep fabrics un-patterned and stay close to your wall color. If you must use a pattern, go ahead and make a statement but keep everything else in the room close to monochromatic.

Using any number of these tips in a smaller space will make your home feel spacious and cozy so try them out!

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