This article first appeared in the A 30 Properties Blog on September 10, 2020
7 Design Tips To Make Your Condo Feel Bigger
When you have money set aside before or close to your retirement, you’ll likely think about what most other people think at this stage of life.
Getting another property.
Possibly for rental passive income, or maybe have it be a second home/vacation home for you and your family.
Regardless of why you get it, most people get a smaller condo for their first rental or vacation property, and in this feature, I will help you maximize your space and get higher rental income from it.
Let’s dive in.
Let’s start from the beginning. There’s nothing that makes a small space feel cramped more than having too much stuff. Buy or replace the furniture in the right amount, and more importantly in the right size.
Don’t cover your walls with a lot of pictures. Leave more blank walls to avoid visually overwhelming and feeling “stifled”. If there’s too much going on, it can make the room feel busy and crowded.
A cluttered room feels immediately like a smaller space. One large painting works better than a group of small paintings.
Keep the floor as clear as possible. This is one of the most important ways to maintain a sense of spaciousness. Take out large rugs to create the illusion of more floor space.
When decorating a small room, create a focal point--one area that will draw the eye.
In the dining room, this will probably be the table. In the bedroom, it will most likely be the bed.
You can easily shift people’s attention to a certain spot. Try to arrange the furniture so that focus is drawn to that area, like facing chairs towards a wall or a window, and keep the rest of the room to have a simpler more minimalistic tone.
With things neatly arranged and out of sight, the space that is in view will feel orderly and open.
2. Multifunctional furniture
Furniture can take up a lot of space. You can avoid it by having 1 piece of furniture function as two. There’s a whole category of furniture just for that. It is called multi-functional furniture.
Nesting tables, which can be tucked away when you don’t need them.
A chest that can be used as a coffee table
An expandable dining table
A folding Table-Bed with drawers for storage underneath
Place larger pieces of furniture against blank walls to maximize the open space. A cool trick is having some of the furniture be the same color as the walls.
Also, scale your furniture to fit the size of the room, and don’t block pathways.
By moving furniture out and away from walkways, you’ll open up space and make it feel larger.
Try placing furniture that will draw the eye to the longest straight line in your room (diagonal point). When you place your furniture at an angle, it leads the eye along with the longer distance rather than the shorter wall.
Additionally, if you have a short ceiling, avoid tall furniture. They can make the ceiling seem even lower than it actually is.
Lastly, make sure there is plenty of space between your furniture.
Choose a sofa and chairs with open arms and exposed legs. This allows light to filter under the furniture, making the room appear airier. Glass tables also will contribute to the appearance of open space.
3. Your true color
It’s strange how most people already know this fact, but still choose colors that make their space look smaller.
Light colors make a room look bigger and brighter. Light and bright walls are more reflective, making a space feel open and airy, which helps maximize the effect created by natural light.
Darker colors, however, tend to absorb light, making a room look smaller.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go all white and be boring.
Select soft tones of:
Orange (if you are brave enough)
Having your floor panels be white and of high quality, alongside bright wall colors - combined with matching furniture, can look exceptional. Try painting your wall trim and moldings in a lighter color than your walls. By doing so, the walls will appear farther back, making your living room seem bigger.
Note that brighter rooms look bigger and more inviting. Always.
4. Look at the bright side
Allowing natural light inside the room opens up the interior and makes it look larger.
If you do not have a lot of natural light, you can add some creative effects using lighting fixtures, such as well placed lamps facing blank walls or clean ceilings.
You will be amazed at how this small addition can make a big difference.
If you have access to natural light, bringing it into your home through large windows will instantly connect the room with the outdoors, no longer limiting your space.
Use sheer window coverings, or pull them back completely, to allow more light in.
If you aren't too proud of the view, you can just put plants or flowers near the windows and use lamps to brighten the space.
5. Mirror mirror on the wall
Mirrors can make your room look larger if you position them properly. Position them strategically while considering light sources. They bounce light deep into the room, making it appear larger. Placing a mirror near a window to reflect the outdoors is especially effective.
Mirrors obviously reflect both natural and artificial light, so this trick works for both day and night.
Good use of space would be the use of mirrored cabinet doors to make spaces feel larger.
Also, remember the focal points we spoke about earlier? Angle your mirrors toward them to give the illusion of depth.
Mirrors on the walls and glass tabletops will give your room a more open feel.
6. Quality over quantity
I mentioned this briefly earlier...
If you have a small room and want to hang wall decor, opt for one large piece of art or a wall accent instead of a cluttered gallery wall of smaller items.
If you really want a gallery wall with smaller pieces, limit it to one wall and go simple large-scale on the other walls in the room.
And again, as mentioned, it’s okay to leave some walls blank to prevent the room from feeling cluttered and overwhelming.
Also, it’s 2020. Spend a few hundred dollars on a very thin TV, mount it on your wall, and hide the excruciatingly painful to see cables (within the wall preferably). It will significantly declutter the wall.
7. Invisible walls
Small condos usually feature the same number of walls as bigger condos, only in a smaller space.
So, get the floor plans, talk to an architect, and possibly even a designer. Do this to make sure you are not taking down walls that support the structure itself.
If you have the luxury of taking down some walls which are not structural, replace them with glass walls.
Use curtains for privacy as you see fit.
Your use of glass doesn’t have to end there--you can have glass doors or even use the glass-like materials in your furniture for the illusion of a bigger space, more light to come through, and an expensive feel.
You now know you’re able to comfortably choose a smaller condo to start with and make simple visible changes in how it is presented making it appear bigger (for yourself) or your potential tenant.