Furnishing a condo often takes a different approach than furnishing a home, typically because you’re dealing with less space. And less space means you need to give more thought to what to put in that space and how it will be used.
First, let’s take a look at some key things to consider, then I’ll give some suggestions on where to hunt for your perfect condo decor.
Keys things to consider
Understand your needs: The first thing to do is figure how you will use the space. This will help you to determine both what you need, and what you don’t. If you plan to entertain a lot, for instance, a dining table may be a necessity. But if you expect to mostly dine out, you may be fine with just a kitchen island breakfast bar.
Visually increasing your space: You can fool the eye into thinking there is more space in a room than is really there by using tricks such as mirrors to reflect light as well as reflecting the space back to you; “floating” furniture for a sense of airiness; and clean lines so that the eye glides smoothly across a space. (By floating furniture I don’t mean pieces that actually float, of course, rather ones that have slim feet or bases and that lift the piece off the floor to create an open space underneath for a lighter feel.)
Scale is important: Big, bulky furniture won’t work in a smaller condo, but that doesn’t mean everything must be tiny. If you keep scale in mind, you can make a space both welcoming and comfortable without feeling crammed. Sometimes it can be as simple as choosing a sofa that does not have a rolled back to minimize the space it will take up when placed against a wall.
If you’re repurposing: Many people moving into a condo are downsizing from a larger home, where your furniture may have been bulkier. And often it can be hard to let some of those pieces go. They may have great sentimental value or be antiques handed down over the years. You can’t bring them all with you, so the key is to focus on a few pieces you really want to keep and that you can build a new decor around. If the dining set you love just won’t work, for instance, consider keeping the sideboard and pairing it with a new dining set that fits your condo space.
Double duty: A huge way to maximize your space is to use furniture pieces that have multiple functions. An ottoman with a removable lid can be both a seat and a coffee table while also providing storage space. And a wall bed with integrated shelving means a spare bedroom can have the floor space to be both an office and a guest room. It’s important to carefully consider a piece before allowing it into your condo: will it have enough value to you to allow it to take up some of your precious floor space?
Rethink collections: If you love your curios, your book collection or even your art, it helps to take the museum approach to displaying them – meaning you’ll need to choose just a sampling to display. A collection that might have been spread throughout your larger home needs to be pared down and perhaps displayed as a curated grouping in a condo. And if you miss seeing some of the other pieces in your collection, simply swap them out on occasion.
Does it all have to be modern? No, of course not. Just because most condos are built today with a contemporary esthetic in mind, doesn’t mean that’s what you have to furnish one with. There are plenty of more traditional pieces that will work in a condo, as long as you keep in mind things like scale and visual tricks to reduce bulkiness.
Where to buy
OK, so you’ve got some ideas on what to keep in mind. Now where do you find this stuff? Here are some examples:
Right here in Old Ottawa South, Alteriors offers fun, fresh brands in condo-friendly styles, like the Bensen U-turn swiveling lounge chair, which has a small footprint even though it features a deep seat.
The Modern Shop
As its name suggests, The Modern Shop focuses on contemporary furniture and accessories and there are some fun finds, like this floating night stand/shelf that’s highly functional without taking up floor space. It’s a great way to visually add to the size of a room.
If you’re looking for modern and affordable, Structube is a good place to start. These Denmark dining chairs are comfortable without the bulk, making them versatile for pairing with a variety of dining tables. And they’re just $139 each.
The Sekoya bedroom set includes drawers under the bed for handy extra storage. Upper Room also has a selection of other furniture pieces that are great for condos.
La Vie Modern Furniture
One of the easiest ways to visually enlarge a space is by using see-through furniture, like this glass-topped dining table from La Vie Modern Furniture, or things like clear acrylic chairs. They add the necessary pieces you need without making a condo feel cluttered.
Emphasizing Canadian-made and designed furniture, Mikaza specializes in condo design and matching budget needs with design wants, like the Credencia Mobican TV stand, which comes in varying lengths, heights and leg sizes.
Another modern darling, Mobilia offers a range of furniture options, many of which combine being useful with an airy look, like this modular Elliot bookcase.
More than overstuffed recliners, La-Z-Boy offers a range of choices and styles, including its Urban Attitudes collection with streamlined looks and scaled-down proportions, like the Studio Premier Sofa.
Or, if you prefer the idea of combining a furniture outlet with design consultation, consider Polanco Home Furniture & Interior Decor Solutions in Westboro, which has been doing both for years.