Condo dec­o­rat­ing 101

Ad­vice helps be­long­ings fit in small space

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Front Page - PA­TRICK LANGSTON

Whether you’re a young, first-time buyer mov­ing into a 500-square-foot condo or older and down­siz­ing from a sprawl­ing sub­ur­ban home, every­one faces the same chal­lenge: How to dec­o­rate so you don’t feel like you’re be­ing squashed into a shoe­box?

If your condo is still at the de­sign stage, says Ottawa de­signer Anna Riopelle, ask the builder about in­stalling pot lights in a dec­o­ra­tive bulk­head to re­duce the num­ber of lamps you’ll need.

When it comes to floor­ing, avoid us­ing mul­ti­ple ma­te­ri­als which cre­ate vis­ual stops and starts: con­ti­nu­ity gives a sense of spa­cious­ness.

Us­ing neu­tral-coloured paint will also add to a spa­cious feel­ing, al­though do­ing one wall in a deep colour can ac­tu­ally make the wall seem to re­cede.

Ask your paint store for sug­ges­tions.

“Huge, huge is in­vest­ing in an or­ga­ni­za­tion sys­tem for the bath­room, kitchen and bed­room clos­ets,” says Riopelle.

In­stall-them-your­self sys­tems help you pack max­i­mum clothes, pots and pans into min­i­mal space without it looking like a jum­ble sale.

Riopelle also sug­gests a Mur­phy bed, which folds up and out of the way into a cab­i­net or closet.

For win­dow treat­ments, she says, go with con­ti­nu­ity as well. By giv­ing a clean sweep to the walls, it en­hances the feel­ing of space.

The key is to min­i­mize clut­ter, ac­cord­ing to the pros. If you’re down­siz­ing, that likely means turn­ing a hard heart on some of those mem­ory-laden knick knacks and end­less fam­ily pho­tos.

Try group­ing a se­lected num­ber of them for dis­play, and put the rest in stor­age for fu­ture ro­ta­tion.

The big­gest blun­der in go­ing small, says Riopelle, is keep­ing the same old bulky fur­ni­ture.

Go with sim­ple lines, she says, and use glass-topped ta­bles for airi­ness.

Suanne de Boer says to think multi-func­tional and smallscale when plan­ning condo fur­ni­ture.

“What peo­ple don’t re­al­ize is how much room fur­ni­ture takes up un­til they ac­tu­ally try to get it in there,” says de Boer, gen­eral man­ager of Ottawa and Toronto’s DeBoer’s Fur­ni­ture.

To solve the prob­lem, con­sider com­pact, two-seat so­fas or space-miserly tub chairs, found in many fur­ni­ture stores. Ot­tomans with stor­age space are an­other smart idea.

De Boer es­pe­cially likes the Pronto sofa bed with built-in stor­age un­der­neath for blan­kets and pil­lows.

She also men­tions the Fez ta­ble by Skovby. The con­sole ta­ble ex­pands with two hy­draulic leaves to be­come a din­ing ta­ble that seats up to six.

Its re­versible top of­fers a choice of ei­ther stain­less steel or wood.

For the bed­room, a Reve bed, avail­able from Montreal man­u­fac­turer G. Ro­mano Inc., is par­tic­u­larly in­gen­u­ous.

Its hy­draulic sys­tem raises the mat­tress to re­veal stor­age space be­neath.

An old-style sec­re­tary desk with a fold-down work area also of­fers more stor­age op­por- tu­ni­ties. “Con­dos of­ten don’t have room for work sur­faces,” says de Boer, “so this gives peo­ple some­where they can use their lap­top.”

Pat McGrath, Ottawa Ci­ti­zen

Many ex­perts say neu­tral colours ex­pand small spa­ces, but things like colour block­ing can also be hugely suc­cess­ful.

Chris Mikula, Ottawa Ci­ti­zen

Help­ings of hard­wood add to the spa­cious feel of this unit.

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