Interior Design Ideas for Small Condos: Saving & Maximizing Space
Moving into a new condo is an opportunity to enjoy a great lifestyle. Most condo complexes offer excellent amenities and modern, updated spaces. However, one thing some new homeowners find challenging is finding ways to make the most of their new space, since many condos don't have the wide-open areas or spacious rooms that single-family homes often do.
The good news is there are numerous ways to design and organize a condo to make different rooms feel larger and create a dream home. It simply involves making the most of available space and using smart strategies to help make areas look bigger. Read on and try the following design tips to maximize your condo space.
Use All Your Available Storage Space
The first step to making a condo feel larger is to make more physical space available. How to do that? Easy: find creative ways to invent storage. For instance, use fold-away furniture that can be tucked away when not in use. Other good furniture options include Murphy beds, which can be folded up against the wall—some models even serve double duty and offer storage space or convert into tables. Multi-function furniture options, such as ottomans, kitchen carts, rolling countertops, benches with hidden storage, and day beds (which can host storage or a secondary trundle bed underneath), all help homeowners maximize limited space.
Condo dwellers don't have to stop there. Additional opportunities to create roomier areas include mounting TVs on walls to free up plenty of floor space which can be utilized for other purposes. Architectural "quirks" provide additional unique ways to build in extra space, including but not limited to building oddly-shaped closets, cozy window nooks with seating, or built-in wall bookcases and cabinets. Remember, every inch counts, so use every inch in every room in any way possible. One of the benefits of buying vs. renting a condo is having more freedom to renovate, so be sure to take advantage.
Start Thinking Vertically
The next step to inventing more physical square footage in a condo is to start thinking vertically. Tall and narrow takes up less floor space than wide and short, things on the walls don't take up any floor space, and drawing the eye upward makes rooms appear taller. Ways to start incorporating vertical storage to reduce clutter include:
- Maximize shelving opportunities by going floor to ceiling
- Add baskets, bins, and other attractive containers to store items on shelves
- Hang items to keep them off the floor
- Use stacking drawers in closets
- Place stacking bins in the pantry
- Add shelving organizers in closets and cabinets
Going vertical adds numerous clever opportunities to create more physical space throughout the condo for clothing, shoes, linens, pantry items, makeup, office supplies, kitchenware—you name it!
Create Optical Illusions
Even if maxed out for physical space, condo owners can use several techniques to make a condo feel larger, including optical illusions. For instance, painting rooms with lighter colors, such as white, eggshell, and light gray, can make a space appear more open, giving it an airy and spacious feel. Paint colors for small spaces can also create optical illusions while differentiating spaces. Then, think about each room's floor plan and arrange furniture in ways that section off space according to how it's used to give the perception of having different "rooms" in smaller areas.
Next, focus on ways to create additional types of optical illusions, such as choosing furniture with exposed legs to make it look like each item takes up less space, purchasing light and airy glass or Lucite tables, and hanging artwork above eye level to give the appearance of larger rooms with higher ceilings. Pocket doors that retreat into the wall allow extra light to flow in (which is another opportunity to give the perception of "larger") while regaining valuable real estate in rooms that swinging doors would normally occupy.
Mirrors and Reflections Open Up a Space
Integrating reflective materials, such as white lacquered walls, glossy tiles, and mirrors, will also make rooms appear bigger than they really are. Use a variety of different mirrors throughout the condo to further create optical illusions, including convex mirrors, multi-level mirrors, and odd shapes to create new visual angles to make the rooms look larger.
Try to find ways to include large mirrors minus a frame. Dark or thick frames tend to "shrink" the mirror, but using mirrors that are large and frameless gives the perception of "big." Also, try to achieve uniformity when hanging mirrors (and artwork as well) because it'll pull almost any room together to make it appear larger. Finally, pair mirrors with light sources to further augment the appearance of a more spacious area, and don't be afraid to try new ways and types of mirrors that ordinarily would seem counterintuitive. The end result might be quite surprising!
Declutter Your Space Regularly
Regular decluttering is essential for saving space in small condos—you never realize how much of your space is being sacrificed to junk mail and things you never use until you get rid of it all. Here are some effective strategies for decluttering:
- Donate or sell unwanted items: Identify belongings that you no longer need or use regularly. Donate them to charity or sell them to create more space.
- Streamline kitchen essentials: Assess your cookware, dishes, and utensils. Keep what is necessary and get rid of duplicates or items that are rarely used. Store less frequently used items in cabinets or less accessible areas.
- Embrace paperless solutions: Reduce paper clutter by opting for electronic statements and set up paperless billing whenever possible. This frees up space and makes it easier to organize and find important documents.
- Keep countertops and surfaces clear: Flat surfaces accumulate clutter easily, so make sure you’re only displaying essential items or decorations. Use drawer organizers or baskets to store frequently used items that don't need to be constantly out.
- Optimize bathroom storage: Use baskets, caddies, or shelving units to keep toiletries and cosmetics organized. Dispose of expired products and keep essentials within reach.
Regular decluttering can help prevent the pressure of decluttering a lot all at once. It may even help to choose one day each month (or on whatever timescale you prefer) and go through your condo in search of things to get rid of.
Working with Smaller Spaces is Challenging but Totally Doable
Condominiums are typically smaller living spaces, but square footage doesn't have to be the be-all, end-all. By using various strategies to create extra physical room while simultaneously creating the illusion of larger spaces, homeowners can give their condo a "bigger" feel, reduce clutter, and create a comfortable, welcoming space. Just be sure that any planned renovations don't infringe on the boundary between what's owned by the condo owner vs. what's owned by the condo complex; because of the different maintenance responsibilities for condo owners, space solutions that involve major renovations might need to be reworked before implementation.