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The fun—and challenges—of furnishing your new condo

Model suite at Tridel’s 300 Front Street West. Whatever size your new condo is, there are great furnishings available to make it truly your own.

Part of the excitement of moving into a new condo is furnishing and decorating it, especially if it’s your first home. You most likely already have some furniture, but perhaps you’re planning to use the new home as an excuse to buy a whole new set. Whether you’re going that route or just buying what you need, experts remind us that there are certain things to keep in mind when furnishing a condo.

The first thing to consider is the amount of space you have. Not many of us have the luxury of unlimited space in which we can “go crazy” with oversized couches, huge beds and full dining room suites. So, before going out to shop for the new furniture, measure carefully, make a scale drawing of each room (use graph paper) including windows and doors and anything else that occupies floor space, like a column or bulkhead, and then decide what you have room for. If you already have a giant, L-shaped sectional couch and large round coffee table, you’ll see right away whether they will fit in the new room.

Squeezing items in isn’t really an option. Just remember that if you have to squeeze it in on paper, you’re going to have to cope with squeezing past it every time you and your guests enter the room.

If you have to get rid of the big couch, buy a condo-sized replacement—there are plenty of stores selling furniture that’s scaled down slightly to fit today’s condo spaces. Keep in mind that high-backed chairs and sofas, and sofas with large rolled arms, take up more visual space, if not actual space. Also, furniture pieces that sit a few inches off the floor give the impression of more space.

Another thing to consider before buying furniture for your new condo is how much you will actually use it. If you hardly ever use a dining room table and chairs, why have them taking up all that valuable space? Instead, improvise when you want to have guests for a meal—stackable chairs that can be stored in a closet and a transformable piece that can function as a table are one solution to consider. We featured the 420-square-foot New York apartment of Graham Hill, TreeHugger’s founder, a while back: he can seat 12 around a specially designed dining table that disappears when not in use.

Futaba table/loveseat combo converts with ease from one function to the other.

A key principle to keep in mind when furnishing a condo is that of multiple functionality: look for end tables with shelves, or ottomans that open, where you can store small things. Transformable furniture is a smart option and there is much to choose from. If you’re looking for really original, creative design, this is the way to go. A table that opens out to become a bench when needed is just one example.

This sleek little table, called Dual Cut, by designer Kitman Leung, transforms into a chair and a lounge. A great example of how to furnish for function as well as design.

The humble pull-out couch has come a long way. There are very smart-looking sofas today that invisibly house double beds within them. If you live in a studio condo, one of these is almost a necessity. And if you have room for a full-sized bed, be sure it contains storage drawers underneath. You can never have too much storage!

Moving to a new condo could be a great opportunity to modernize your home entertainment systems as well. Large, older television sets take up a lot of room, so if you still have one, think about getting a wall- or pedestal-mounted unit.

For those who want help in designing your new dream condo, there are plenty of places that offer custom-designed pieces just for your space. One site you might want to visit is condo box, which lets you see a range of condo layouts, with floorplans, and how they furnished them. Lots of great ideas here, both for layout and for selecting pieces to fill them.

Here is a truly great resource for anyone in the market for condo furnishings.

Via-Bloor-Tridel
Auberge on the Park-Tridel
Bianca-Tridel-Annex

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