You can do a condo

De­signer of­fers af­ford­able tips for spruc­ing up your space

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES -

Cal­gary-based home decor and de­sign ex­pert Alykhan Velji has some an­swers on how to make the most of your condo.

QUES­TION: With the open de­sign of new homes and con­dos to­day, how do peo­ple go about fix­ing them up to make them seem less big-boxy and more homey?

An­swer: It is all about the fin­ishes you choose. Go with warmer wood tones for your floors, for ex­am­ple. Wal­nut is fab­u­lous.

Also, with open-con­cept homes, the kitchen is open to the rest of the space so choose a back­splash that will add some tex­ture and warmth to your space.

Ques­tion: With the open de­sign, is it nec­es­sary to carry the same colours and de­signs through­out? If so, how do you go about it? And how do you cre­ate spa­ces that still are sep­a­rate liv­ing ar­eas all in one big room?

An­swer: Yes, there has to be con­sis­tency in an open-plan home. The colours should be the same as well as the fin­ishes.

Area car­pets are the best way to cre­ate sep­a­ra­tion. I al­ways like to do the same type of floor­ing through­out a space and find that area car­pets go a long way in defin­ing spa­ces.

Ques­tion: What trends do you see emerg­ing?

An­swer: Turquoise is the new on­trend colour — you are see­ing this with paint and ac­ces­sories.

The re­vival of art deco is also on trend. This means a lot of black lac­quer mixed with gold ac­cents, reds and greens.

Over-scaled lighting is also on the rise. Floor lamps, ta­ble lamps, and chan­de­liers are all com­ing in a larger scale with over­sized shades.

Ques­tion: Ob­vi­ously, the econ­omy has af­fected the whole way of do­ing things — and the num­ber of peo­ple not buy­ing homes and opt­ing in­stead to maybe ren­o­vate or re­dec­o­rate. Do you see this? And what im­pact has it had on the way peo­ple look at their homes to­day? Do you see that con­tin­u­ing, or will it change once we get over this slump?

An­swer: Peo­ple are most def­i­nitely in­vest­ing a lot more money into their homes and ren­o­vat­ing. I think it’s a great move. Peo­ple are stay­ing put and mak­ing their spa­ces more liv­able and up to date.

It is hard to say if it will con­tinue, but I sure hope it does. Noth­ing gives me more sat­is­fac­tion that help­ing a client trans­form their space into some­thing that will work for them.

Ques­tion: Do you have any ideas and hints for dec­o­rat­ing on a bud­get?

An­swer: Ac­ces­sorize, ac­ces­sorize, ac­ces­sorize. Just by chang­ing up the ac­ces­sories in your space, you can trans­form a space.

Paint­ing goes a long way in chang­ing up the look of a room and is not very ex­pen­sive.

Up cy­cle — use things you have in your home and re­vamp them, for ex­am­ple by paint­ing a piece of fur­ni­ture.

Ques­tion: And also from that, can you give us some ideas for dec­o­rat­ing small spa­ces?

An­swer: Multi-func­tional fur­ni­ture is a must.

If you are pur­chas­ing a sofa, try get­ting one without arms; this way you will cre­ate more vis­ual space.

Mir­rors are fab­u­lous in a small space. The big­ger the bet­ter.

Don’t think you can’t use dark colours in your space. You just have to bal­ance. If you have a dark colour on the wall, go with lighter fur­nish­ings and vice versa.

Ques­tion: If, as many of our first­time buy­ers have done, peo­ple buy with a friend or get a room­mate, how do they make their spa­ces work?

An­swer: Keep the com­mon ar­eas neu­tral. You can vamp up your own bed­rooms to your lik­ing.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

De­signer Alykhan Velji cre­ated th­ese high-gloss red kitchen cab­i­nets, which he says go a long way in re­flect­ing light and cre­at­ing the il­lu­sion of space. The gal­ley-style kitchen has full-wall cab­i­nets on the one side, but the other is kept clean by elim­i­nat­ing the up­per cab­i­nets, cre­at­ing more vis­ual space, he says. Above and right, defin­ing space and choos­ing ap­pro­pri­ate ac­ces­sories

helps pre­vent a boxy ap­pear­ance.

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