Ex­perts’ dec­o­rat­ing tips help boost sale of condo

Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - DANIEL DRO­LET

Atwo-bed­room condo that is all about the view should not be hard to sell. Ev­ery win­dow looks out onto a panorama. Day or night, the view is mes­mer­iz­ing. So when Ta­mara O’Leary and Car­rie Dick, pro­fes­sional stagers and de­sign­ers, were asked to fur­nish the empty condo to get it ready for sale, they made sure they did noth­ing to ob­scure the main sell­ing point.

When I met them there as they were putting the fin­ish­ing touches to the decor — they did the whole place in just a few days — they shared some of the tricks that can be used by any­one who’s faced with the chal­lenge of tak­ing an empty space and mak­ing it come alive.

Th­ese tricks ap­ply, whether you’re get­ting a place ready for sale, as they were, or adding eye ap­peal to your own home:

Ac­cen­tu­ate the pos­i­tive — If there’s a ma­jor pos­i­tive fea­ture, be it a view, a fire­place or good ar­chi­tec­ture, do what you can to em­pha­size it, ad­vise O’Leary and Dick.

Be­cause this condo is all about the view, the pair chose a de­sign scheme that kept the sight­lines clear.

That meant, for ex­am­ple, keep­ing the fur­ni­ture low. There are no tall pieces that get in the way.

They even chose arm­less so­fas to keep the liv­ing/din­ing room wide open.

Re­spect the space — The condo is just un­der 1,500 square feet, but when it was empty, it felt smaller.

“Ev­ery­thing seems small when it’s empty,” says Dick, adding that any­one looking at an empty apart­ment or home may have dif­fi­culty visu­al­iz­ing its real size.

This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in places that are for sale, since peo­ple need to be able to imag­ine their own fur­ni­ture in the space.

The right kind of fur­ni­ture can ac­tu­ally make a room look big­ger.

To make the most of this space, Dick and O’Leary chose pieces that re­spected the pro­por­tions of the rooms: a queen-sized bed in­stead of a king-sized one, and in the liv­ing room, they opted for a loveseat in­stead of a full-sized sofa. To make the din­ing area seem more spa­cious, they brought in a clear glass ta­ble and put a mir­ror on one wall.

All those things make the condo feel fully fur­nished and liv­able, yet open and un­clut­tered.

Add punch for em­pha­sis — A room, even a beau­ti­ful one, can be­come for­get­table if it’s got too much of the same thing.

So while O’Leary and Dick used mostly neu­tral colours in the liv­ing room — the wood is espresso, the up­hol­stery off-white — they de­cided to punch it up by get­ting red leather chairs for the din­ing room and adding a few red ac­ces­sories.

All of a sud­den, says O’Leary, it’s not just a din­ing room; it’s “the din­ing room with the red chairs.”

is not the ob­ject — If you don’t have an un­lim­ited bud­get (and who does?), it’s best to fo­cus on a few strong pieces of fur­ni­ture or art, and let the rest of your decor play a sup­port­ing role.

Put your money into a beau­ti­ful leather sofa and play it up with ac­ces­sories.

Imag­ine your life­style — This condo is owned by for­mer NHL hockey player Dan McGil­lis and his wife Elise.

Their needs changed be­tween the time they bought it on plan and the time the build­ing was ready to oc­cupy, so that’s why they’re sell­ing.

If you’re looking at an empty house, imag­ine what it would be like to live there your­self. Will you be throw­ing fancy cock­tail par­ties or hav­ing the ex­tended fam­ily over for hol­i­day din­ners?

Com­ing up with an­swers will help you plan your decor. O’Leary says seat­ing is an im­por­tant part of imag­in­ing how an empty room might work.

Peo­ple, she says, al­ways try to fig­ure out where their friends or fam­ily will sit when they come over. So work it out in your mind or on pa­per.

the colours — Be­cause the condo is up for sale, O’Leary and Dick didn’t take any chances with the colours; they’re neu­tral through­out.

But what they did do is unify the colours so there’s a feel­ing of flow. This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in open de­signs.

If you’re go­ing to dec­o­rate an empty space, take ad­van­tage and paint be­fore the fur­ni­ture ar­rives.

Don’t for­get tex­ture — The bath­rooms in this condo are cov­ered with tile. That makes it dif­fi­cult to change colours.

So O’Leary and Dick added per­son­al­ity with bou­quets of branches and wicker bas­kets. In the bed­rooms, tex­ture comes in the form of draperies, an uphol­stered head­board and a touch of bling on the bed cush­ions.

Lighting — Many places don’t have over­head lights, so an empty space can look dreary on a dull De­cem­ber day. Proper lighting will bring it to life, says O’Leary.

Sim­plify — Whether you’re liv­ing there or try­ing to sell, less is usu­ally more, says O’Leary. So get rid of ex­tra stuff and or­ga­nize what re­mains. It will make your life­style seem ef­fort­less.

Chris Mikula, Ottawa Cit­i­zen

n Money n Unify From left, Tamara O’Leary and Car­rie Dick in the condo they set up for sale.

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