“Spacious” isn’t an adjective most condo owners would use to describe their living space, especially in a high-valued market like Toronto’s. Still, spatial limitations aside, furnishing a condo can be an incredibly rewarding, albeit challenging, experience when you have a thoughtful plan and an open mind.
Many young professionals dream of one day owning the kind of home they grew up in, and that typically means a healthy dose of space. Instead, they are faced with a downsized reality that turns the act of placing beds and sofas into some sort of cruel math problem involving a baby, a river and a dog.
The challenge becomes making the condo feel like home while utilizing every inch of space. The process of furnishing a condo should begin as any challenge: with a little planning. Start with what you already have and what you know you’ll need for certain. And unless you’re planning something completely unorthodox, chances are a bed and a sofa will fit into the roster of furnishings for your condo.
From the foundation up
If you already have the bare essentials, such as a bed, sofa and kitchen or dining table, you can better understand where to go from there. Starting from scratch, however, doesn’t mean you should compromise and choose the most diminutive models when furnishing a condo – beds are among the biggest influencers of daily health and happiness, so don’t settle for small if it could sour your mood.
With detailed floor plans in hand you can easily determine what will or won’t fit comfortably in a given space. When shopping for beds or sofas, for example, you can usually compare the product dimensions and make an educated decision in store or online (rather than an unpleasant discovery on moving day).
Aesthetics raises an entirely different set of challenges, which you may or may not decide to hand off to a professional. In any case, if you already have a series of items to work with, such as a sofa in the living area, it becomes simpler to tackle the entire room. Furnishing a condo can be a rewarding experience when you understand the basic principles of colour theory, but failing that, you should be able to rely on the expertise of a sales associate in a furniture showroom.
Bright colours and vertical stripes are well known for their expansive properties, whereas darker tones tend to overwhelm a smaller area. In the absence of the real thing you can at least play with the illusion of space to open things up.
Not just a pretty face
Consider ease of movement too, especially in high-traffic areas such as the living room. Space being difficult to come by in a condo, keep an eye out for furniture that offers both form and function, whether it’s a coffee table with underside storage or an entertainment wall system that helps conserve space. Versatility will not only help with de-cluttering, it will minimize the number of items you need to purchase.
However you choose to go about furnishing a condo, overcome the temptation – or the pressure – to get everything complete in one fell swoop. Consult interior design magazines, furniture stores in Toronto, and wherever else you might find inspiration. Ultimately, though, keep in mind that for you to be truly happy your condo should reflect your vision and lifestyle, and nobody else’s.