Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Condo Living: Design-Savvy Storage Solutions

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Photo: Yorkville
For young professionals in urban areas, condo or loft living is the way to go. There’s something uniquely charming about living in a modern, stylish place with rooftop gardens that’s at the heart of it all, even if you have to pay more money for less space. This is probably the main reason why there are so many Montreal condos for sale. When you are looking to live the comfortably chic urban lifestyle, location and price are probably higher on your priority list than the dreamy walk-in closet you have always wanted. No matter the size and location however nearly all lofts and condos have a few things in common. They are short on built-in storage, many need furniture scaled to size and then of course you may also have the common "bed in the living room" issue to contend with and conquer.  Here are some design-savvy tips for planning your space for maximum comfort, warmth and flexibility.
Set up proper and practical storage

Closets and shelving tend to be in short supply in lofts and condos. You can build in your own storage by taking over one entire wall for the purpose. Fill the wall from floor to ceiling with shelving, cabinets or closets. The cost may seem high but, this is something that makes daily life much easier and more pleasant. It's easy to drive yourself crazy tripping over shoes or constantly making monstrous piles of clothes and mail on the floor and kitchen table. Therefore, it's money well spent and well invested in my books.

Don't have an entire wall to spare? Make sure to catch all the daily clutter by installing proper shelving in other main living areas of your loft or condo. A wall shelf can work wonders to keep clutter contained in your bathroom and can work double duty as a nightstand in your bedroom. 
Photo: Apartment Therapy
Photo: Graceful Order

Get creative and build storage around furniture pieces. Stylish and modern, this sofa storage system adds both a modern flare and easily accessible storage for daily living.

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Use Innovative, flexible, double duty furnishings

Think outside the box when it comes to creating storage for living spaces where square footage and built-in storage is at a premium. Savvy-designed furniture like fold-up murphy beds, disappearing pocket doors, modern sofa beds and adjustable height tables for dining and lounging are made for the loft and condo lifestyle. 


Photo: Sustainable Living News

Photo: Condo Plus
You can also divide a space with open-backed shelving. This works easily well in both small and large spaces and it's also the easiest way to create a "room within a room". Design tip: arrange open shelving so that it looks good from both sides. Try stacking books horizontally and vertically; place items in baskets that look good from all angles; and, always mix in plenty of what's pretty!  Use objects such as vases, candles and bowls to infuse style and color. Always remember safety! If you have young children, you will need to secure the shelving to a wall and/or the floor.

Photo: Corynne Pless

Scale it right

Appropriately scaled furniture can make the difference between a space that feels awkward and one that feels comfortable.  In a small space, choose the largest pieces you can while allowing ample room to walk around the furniture.  Pieces that are too small will only feel uncomfortable and look somewhat disproportionate in a grand open-style loft. In a large space, go bigger with the furniture but please, for the sake of all that is holy in design, keep it human-scale. Some sofas and chairs on the market today are so big and bulky that an average person is lost sitting in them! They are also a sure-proof way to make any room look much smaller than it actually is.

Soften the Edges 

We are often drawn to condos or lofts for their large expansive windows, exposed piping, ductwork and all the modern finishes such as concrete, steel, stone and brick or wood. These features can also quickly rob a place of any personality and make it cold and uninviting unless you bring in some softness. Use curtains to soften edges and bring privacy in the bedroom or create a soft, more intimate living and dining room area. You can also cover large expanses of windows with floor to ceiling drapes that can be pulled shut for warmth and privacy or opened to let the light flow in.  Drapes can also serve double duty if you want to divide a space. Hang curtains from the ceiling to create a room within a room.

Photo: Homedios
Take advantage of ample wall space and make your condo all your own with a gallery wall. A huge wall can be daunting, but it also provides a great opportunity to make a style statement. You don't need to fill the entire wall at once. Start building your arrangement from the center out and you can continue adding to it over time until the wall is happily full.

Sarah Richardson Design
One of the most important pieces that can bring warmth and comfort to any space is the area rug. Whether you have spiffy cement or hardwood floors, rugs are a great way to visually delineate one “room” from another and instantly make a space feel homey. A statement rug can also be the perfect piece to tie together a color scheme. However, you'll want to get the right size and put it in the right place. Don’t make a small rug do all the heavy lifting. Spring for the size that can accommodate your living room, dining area or whole bedroom set with ease. A rug that is too small will not help your place look more spacious and will most certainly look like a last minute afterthought in your decor.
Dev McGill Condos

 Explore All Angles

Lastly, ask any decorator and they will tell you not to let standard furniture setup get in the way.  Try furniture at an angle, move couches out of corners, and really explore what space you do have. You might be pleasantly surprised!