In the blink of an eye, our coffee tables were full of Pad Thai delivery, and we stared at our glowing laptops well into the night. Work abruptly moved in, kicked back, and made itself at home. What was supposed to be two weeks quickly turned into two months and two months into a year. Now working from home is decidedly here to stay.
It’s no secret that the line between our personal and professional lives has blurred. As we continue to become accustomed to working from home and accepting this as a permanent fixture of our routines, the integrity of our physical space has taken a toll. Many of our peers, friends, and colleagues have left the city centre, favouring more green space and interior space.
But what about those who have chosen to stay? City dwellers often bypass the cost of vehicle ownership, high property taxes, and other costly bills in favour of a smaller, centrally located place to live. Managing a small floor plan poses its own unique set of challenges, but it also allows us to use our resources to be more considerate of our furnishings to create a perfectly tailored space.
Here are the top five tips for reclaiming and maximizing your condo.
Even in a small space, you can have lofty aspirations. Create the impression of high ceilings by incorporating vertical lines where you can. Vertical lines draw the eye upwards, taking advantage of your space’s total volume and not just square footage. For example, hanging your window treatments from floor to ceiling is both easy and impactful, instantly creating a sense of grandeur. A wall treatment that extends up the walls and onto the ceiling can create great visual interest. If your window treatments are hung too low, the ceiling will actually feel lower. Lastly, a taller storage solution such as a wardrobe can be made to be both practical and beautiful.
Combining too many finishes between rooms in a condo can forge a chaotic and choppy environment. To create the sense of a large, continuous space, opt for a single colour palette and incorporate it throughout your home. A light palette in a small room will naturally lend itself to an airy atmosphere. Using area rugs helps to delineate spaces without changing flooring materials and an overall neutral palette allows you to layer textures and colours in your space that can be easily switched out when you need a refresh.
To keep your condo space from feeling flat, you can create a sense of depth by floating certain furniture pieces away from the walls, even just by a few inches. People tend to push furniture against walls and corners with the good intention of maximizing space, but this can often create a negative visual impact in the room by making your furniture look cramped. Creating dimension through air and shadows will make your room feel larger and more elegant. Sofas and armchairs are a great place to start and can even allow for an extra end table or console table, which is excellent for layering artwork and decor.
Create a deeper dimension in your space by layering various light sources. Installing multiple light sources around your room will allow you to adapt your space to suit your mood or reflect the time, day and season. Wall sconces, pendants, cove lighting and lamp lighting, in addition to typical overhead lighting, can create multiple points of interest and illuminate areas that may not always see an ideal amount of light. Utilizing lighting to highlight the corners of the room will draw your attention to the perimeter of the space instead of the centre of the ceiling, making your room feel both larger and cozier.
Numerous places can serve as practical storage that you probably haven’t thought of before. Make the most of your kitchen by using the back of the cabinet doors by adding shelving or bins easily found at a home organization store. When space is really of the essence, intend to purchase practical furniture. Beds, benches, and ottomans can all serve as storage for items that need to be rotated seasonally, like clothes, pillows, and linens. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
During this past year, many people have been given a chance to both reconnect with their home and redefine what it means. In the rapidly changing landscape where we find a new work-life balance, it’s worth it to create a space that you want to be in. There is no better time than the present to consider these top tips for maximizing space in your condo.
Marie Girolamo is the director of design for MOD Developments. She has spent the last sixteen years designing condo suites, prioritizing both liveability and aesthetics in her designs. As a graduate from the International Academy of Design and a finalist on HGTV’s Design Interns in 2006, Marie began her career at Cecconi Simone and has since worked on projects around the world. She is a registered interior designer and an active member of ARIDO (Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario) and IDC (Interior Designers of Canada).
Photo of 55C Bloor Yorkville Residences