Canada's Condominium Magazine

From Their Tiny Homes to Yours: Tips to Make Your Condo Look and Feel Much Larger

Light, fresh colours can add a sense of spaciousness.

Small spaces can feel quite cramped, especially when your family starts to grow. If you have grown accustomed to larger homes with backyards and guest rooms, the change in size and space can be even more daunting. However, it does not have to completely overwhelm you.

Decorating in splashes of color, particularly light colours, can make a place feel more spacious. It also invokes a feeling of positivity and makes the home seem brighter.

Kitchen Tricks

The kitchen is often the most difficult space to enhance. One excellent way to maximize this room is to move smaller appliances to more discreet locations so that they are out of the way. You can place microwaves, toasters, and other small appliances in drawers and cabinets so your counter is available when you need to cook dinner or make drinks for guests. This also allows you more room to decorate your kitchen with a few small touches that can make it feel even more open and inviting.

 

A kitchen in a micro-tiny condo by Dan Marentic (see video.)

 

Large drawers similar to the ones inset (right) can easily be installed (or placed if installation is not allowed) to grant extra storage space. A drawer customized to slide in next to your refrigerator could give you that pantry you have been wanting but perhaps unable to find in small condos. These can also be used to store other items, such as medications and valuables. These are particularly helpful because they can be hidden in inconspicuous places (for instance, behind bookshelves) and locked so that children and intruders cannot find or get into them.

 

Furniture Tricks

Another tip for creating more space is to make your living room seem larger and more open. You can create this illusion by investing in one large piece of furniture rather than many smaller pieces. You might be tempted to go the other way and buy one or two small pieces of furniture. While it may leave more floor space, it will not enhance the room in any way.

 

Try a sectional instead of smaller furniture. In a small room it actually enhances visual space, if chosen carefully. More tips in video below.

 

If you have a sofa and a couple chairs, that is likely to take up all the space that you have and seat five people. It also would not leave much room for moving around, working, entertaining, additional needs and growth — and just living.

However, if you instead bought a larger sectional that extended along the walls, you could likely seat more people while also having a great deal of extra floor space for personal use. Even if you add a coffee table or other furniture, your room can still look larger and more inviting if you utilize your space more efficiently.

A brilliant tiny space design (video):

The Kid’s Space

The issue of space can also become even more difficult with the addition of children. Finding room for all their belongings and various needs can prove to be a challenge in any space, let alone a condo that is 800 square feet or less. This is when multipurpose furniture can come in handy.

 

 

Loft beds are essential, especially if your children are sharing a bedroom. Tiny homes often have lofts built in over the kitchen or living area. Murphy beds and trundle beds are also great, as are other types of foldable and sliding furniture; and they leave plenty of room for toys, games, wardrobes, and other “necessities.”

[See our feature story on “Child Rearing in Small Spaces”>>]

Here are some great ideas for compact kids rooms (or any room!):

 

 

 

The Pet Space

Innovative “pet” station.

If you have pets, living arrangements can get even more complicated. Where do you put all of their things? Depending on the type of pet you have, you can find yourself in quite the pickle in terms of space. Typically, you will not be able to have larger pets such as some dog breeds (Mastiffs come to mind) in condos, unless you have incredibly lax landlords, so the size of the pet probably will not be a problem. However, they do require a tremendous amount of care.

Dogs and cats often come with a number of personal belongings designed to keep them comfortable and happy. They need food and water bowls, treats, toys, and pet beds. Cats also need scratching posts. Lower drawers and some furniture can be used as a clever way to store food and water dishes so that they can be accessed when needed and hidden at other times, or they can simply be made to blend in with your other furniture.

Scratching posts do not have to be such eye sores. In fact, they can sometimes double as decorative pieces that spark conversation and add a certain flare to your room.

 

Innovative cat house and climbing walkway with storage.

 

My favourites are the cat tree houses. They are functional, while also blending in with your décor and your other houseplants. Installing cat walks along your walls and ceiling will also give your feline friend room to roam without limiting the amount of space you have available for your personal belongings.

 

 

Birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish are not that big of a deal, as long as you do not have too many of them. Average sized bird cages, tanks, and aquariums do not require too much space and can really be placed anywhere in the home. Pet owners can also get incredibly creative when it comes to meeting these needs. For instance, an aquarium can be any size, and it can be incorporated into a home in a variety of ways. Tiny home owners will typically set up a shelf in random parts of the home, where they can put their books and collectibles. Fish tank bookends are ideal because they can keep your books from toppling over, while also giving your aquatic friends a stylish and creative home.

You think your condo is small? Check out this amazing Soho “convertible” morphing 400 square foot wonder condo:

 

Living Big in Small Spaces

Limited space does not have to mean limited functionality. You can maximize the space you have in a number of ways. Every square foot can be utilized in some aspect. Hanging plants and chandeliers can add to the appeal of your home without taking up valuable space. Making use of walls and ceilings, investing in multipurpose furniture, and repurposing the space you do have can go a long way in both maximizing space and improving the quality of the home you have.

More small condo tricks:

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