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The Joy of Small Space Living: Key Designer Tips for Small Condo Spaces


Stefani Stein


We’ve recently had numerous inquiries regarding small condos, as clients look for creative and applicable ways to finish and decorate their new spaces. Small condos require us to work with a unique set of challenges regarding how we layout rooms and create function and flow, without having to compromise on aesthetic! A limited amount of square footage can make the process of moving a bit more difficult but it should not overshadow the excitement of a new place and the overall love you have for your home.


We have some great tips and tricks to share with you in order to help create that ideal dwelling space, that can make small space living stress-free, beautiful, and big on style!


Key Areas of Focus


When working with a limited amount of square footage, it is key to use the available area to its full potential. Not only should you take advantage of the floor space by planning your furniture well, but you should consider all the vertical space too! Here are our suggestions:


1. Higher shelves for those items you don’t use every day but love to display helps to take advantage of the ceiling height


2. A mounted TV makes it so that you are not tethered to a media console.


3. For lighting, consider pendants hanging from the ceiling, or sconces with moveable arms which can replace the need for floor lamps if you want that extra floor area.

Ikea Sanus Y Lighting


Staying Organized


The right furniture pieces can make it easier to put your things away and decrease visual clutter. Furniture with storage options such as a bed with built-in drawers below, an ottoman/storage bench with a spot for blankets inside, and a coffee table with integrated shelving can all be great options.

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There are so many beautiful pieces out there that make tidying a breeze! Don’t forget, you can always find a balance between what you need accessible year-round and what you can keep stored away, it just takes a little extra planning and practice! Items like seasonal décor and clothing and sports equipment can be put into a smart clear storage bin system, making things easier to find and organized away until needed.


Furnishing For A Flexible Layout


If you’ve ever lived in a small condo, you understand how challenging it is to make sure you have enough seating when entertaining, and enough space for guests to stay over. Luckily there are so many fantastic products and design tricks that will create some extra space when you need it the most! Small stools or floor poufs can be tucked away underneath a shelf or coffee table ready to be brought out when company has arrived, and of course, you can always opt for some stylish folding chairs, a fold-out sofa, or even a murphy bed!

Folding Table - Wayfair Murphy Bed - Wayfair


Need some more space in the kitchen to cook? Try an over-the-sink cutting board, an island on wheels, a folding table, or a sophisticated bar cart. Those items that you can either tuck away, move, fold and hang? They are lifesavers when designing small condos.

Domino Magazine Zuhne


Designer Tricks To Make A Space Feel Larger


As designers, we are always using tricks to seamlessly make spaces appear larger than what they actually are. Here are some of our trade secrets!


1) Install your curtains floor to ceiling as well to make the windows and ceiling feel taller. Higher headboards can also make a room feel larger and luxurious.

Becky Shea Design


2) Applying a small-scale pattern through the application of wallpaper or on a large area rug will create more depth to a room, making it feel larger!


3) Consider built-in cabinetry and shelving that goes all the way to the ceiling


4) Choosing furniture options that have legs can also keep the space feeling light and airy, rather than bulky and overstuffed, and it’s much easier to clean underneath!


5) Mirrors can visually trick us into thinking there is much more space


6) Through the right colour choices, applying textures, and manipulating scale we can master visual trickery to enhance our homes. Some great examples of this include opting for a bright and airy colour scheme such as the one from Benjamin Moore shown below.


Pro Tip: Some companies such as West Elm sell small space furniture dedicated to condo and apartment living!

Benjamin Moore


Multi-Purpose Spaces


Those who are used to small spaces and condo living know that multi-purpose rooms are a necessity. When designing for multi-purpose use, it is vital to implements smart storage alternatives that keep things hidden away, yet easily accessible when needed. Work to keep a balance between your circulations spaces and work areas by using a moveable partition to delineate spaces with the option to open them up.


Your furniture can work double-time too! For example, a console table placed behind the couch can double as a temporary at-home workspace.


House Seven Design + Build Pinterest


Be Mindful of What You Have vs. What You Really Need


Regardless if you are an empty nester, downsizing your home, or a student starting in a fresh apartment in the city, it never goes out of style to be mindful of the items you purchase to put in your space. Curating décor pieces and keepsakes that are timeless and reflect your style is essential.


Place more emphasis on items that are well made and meaningful to rate your home rather than collect stuff just to fill shelves. A clutter and mess-free space are often more conducive to a clear mind and a stress-free vibe. If you are struggling with purging stuff, there are professionals who can help you with this tedious task! Celebrate your own style and enjoy the hunt for only the most special pieces that will have a place in your home.


Shop Our Top Picks for Small Condo Pieces




In the end, it all comes down to creating a space that enhances your overall well-being not just for yourself but for your loved ones as well. If you are struggling to find a solution, we are always here to help with design packages that work for your timeline and budget.


White Dahlia Design Team



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