You can do a condo
Designer offers affordable tips for sprucing up your space
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.