Canada's Condominium Magazine
When buying a new space or redecorating a new one, you may wonder where to begin. We have all heard advice from interior designers, home decorating television shows, Pinterest, and our friends and family. With so much information out there, it can be a bit overwhelming. How do you decorate the perfect space while adhering to all the so-called “rules?” In fact, which rules should you follow, and which ones are pure myth?
“Paint your room, but you must leave your ceilings white.”
Most homes have stark white ceilings. After all, who paints their ceilings? Actually, more people do than you might think. Ceilings do not have to be white. In fact, the white often looks bleached-out in contrast to more sunny rooms or those that are darker. They stand out more, but not in a good way. It can often shift focus away from your newly painted walls and hand-picked furnishings. According to Dee Schlotter, senior colour marketing manager for PPG Paints, “White ceilings can actually be distracting if there is no other white in the room.”
“Limit furniture to basic necessities to free up space.”
Having extra space is great, and it can be helpful when entertaining. However, you do not want your home to feel vacant and unwelcoming. Contrary to popular belief, fully-furnished homes feel larger. You do not want to overdo it, but you certainly do not want your room to be lacking in furnishings and accent pieces that make it feel like home rather than a hospital. If your seating is too large and bulky for the room, then feel free to downsize. Eliminating the seating altogether may have entirely different results than intended. Nobody wants to invite guests over and have them standing around in awkward silence because there is nowhere for them to sit and relax.
“Dark rooms look small, and they are too depressing. Your rooms should be bright and sunny.”
Dark rooms do not have to be “depressing” or isolating. They can feel warm and cozy. Choose a darker colour that feels right for your space and cover the walls (and ceiling) in the colour to give it a soothing effect. Matching furnishings throughout the room with other furnishings and décor that work well with your chosen colour will make the room feel larger and more inviting. Try a rich, chocolate colour for the walls and crème-coloured furnishings and accent pieces, with a few plants placed strategically around the room.
“If you have children, you cannot have nice things.”
Of course, white furnishings and children are never a good mix. From crayons to juice, children have a way of getting their sticky fingers all over everything. However, that does not mean that you have to forego nice things entirely. Elegant furnishings and décor is perfectly find, as long as you choose your pieces carefully. Furniture made from indestructible materials and non-toxic paints and finishes are resilient and kid-friendly. Additionally, nicer furniture and décor can actually save you money in the long run, as they last far longer than cheaper pieces, and they can typically stand to have toddlers bouncing all over them.
“Sofas and beds must be placed against the wall.”
We spend a lot of time talking about small condos and limited space, but what if you actually have an abundance of space? If your condo has an open concept floor plan, then you may find that you have too much space to walk around, which can feel empty even with a full living and dining set.
Open concept floor plans have been on the rise over the past few years. They are terrific for entertaining and make it easier for us to binge watch one of Gordon Ramsay’s many cooking shows while experimenting in our own kitchens. They also offer more space for entertaining by removing unnecessary walls. However, nobody entertains all the time. So, when it is just you at home in a great, big room, it can feel a bit empty.
A great solution for this is to “float” your furniture. This does not mean to literally float your furniture, of course (although, to be honest, I would not mind a floating bed right about now). Floating your furniture means to move it away from the wall, typically into the center of the room or facing a fireplace. Make a nice conversation nook by placing a large rug in the center of the room or in front of a fireplace, with the front legs of your seats resting on the rug and a coffee table in the center.
“Artwork should be professional, never handmade.”
The days of refrigerators cluttered with art are behind us. These days, we have so many unique options for displaying our kids’ artwork. Although professional artwork is nice and can make a home feel more like home, they can often be pricey, and there is no need to shell out a ton of cash for professional portraits and landscapes to hang all over your condo when you already have a budding young artist living with you. Let your child paint a canvas, and hang the finished product up over your desk.
It adds a nice touch that will be more than welcome while spending hours pouring over your work. You can also make mugs, decorative plates, etc. using your child’s artwork. Some artists will even create a sculpture or stuffed animal based on a child’s art, or you can 3D-print one yourself.
Don’t have any children or have a creative side yourself? Turn your paintings and sketches into works of art too and display them proudly. You can also display miniature paintings on tiny easels around the room. If you are crafty, you can create all sorts of décor to place around your home and add a personal touch that cannot be replicated.
A home should be a sanctuary from the madness of the outside world, a place where one can unwind and enjoy themselves after a long day spent working and running errands. As well-intentioned as the advice we receive often is, the best thing you can do is follow your gut and decorate your home in a way that makes you happy. Choose colours and furnishings that you love and add your personal flair, and your family’s, throughout the home.