Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Friday, May 22, 2009

Living large in small spaces

The first rule of real estate might be location, location, location but the second must be storage, storage, storage! This holds true especially now. In Ottawa, the condo market is really just at the beginning stages of taking off, cities like Toronto and Vancouver have experienced their condo booms already. Condo sales are on the rise in Ottawa - statistics show that 323 condos were sold in April 2009 as compared to 318 condos sold in April 2008. Average sale price was $216,502 in April 2009 as compared to $210,661 in April 2008; A 2.8% increase.

The reason for this increase and interest in condo living? Downsizing. As the baby boom population ages, they are seeking a maintenance free lifestyle which will allow them to live luxuriously and live practically. Condo living could be in a low or high rise building or in a townhouse or semi detached but usually it consists of less maintenance but also a smaller living space. Many downsizers feel very anxious about selling the family home and purging their most precious pieces but this does not have to be if you plan ahead and use your space wisely.

You will want to invest in some multi-functional pieces or some pieces that can give the illusion of a large space. In the living room - look for storage options such as a storage ottoman - this can serve as a coffee table, extra seating for entertaining and storage. One on wheels can easily be moved around the room. If you prefer a solid coffee table, look for one with some open shelving for books, or other pieces and use storage cubes as end tables. Another option is a glass table, it disappears but is still functional and practical. For your entertainment unit, look for a lower piece and/or one with cupboard doors to hide your stuff. You do not want a piece that is too bulky as it can take over the room. Look and see if your existing unit comes in two pieces, often they do and use the lower piece only. If you are looking to upgrade your television set, opt for a flat one, as it will also take less space. For a sofa and /or occasional chairs, find apartment size furniture, now available at most retail stores. Also look for armless options, they are less bulky but if you must have arms on your furniture look for a more streamlined style like a tuxedo style which can also be very comfortable not just pretty to look at. A very modern look for occasional chairs, is the ghost chair. It is a smooth and curved chair that is made of a clear plastic. It's a very sleek look.

In the dining room, most couples have a dining set that they love and could not imaging replacing. You can still use your set just re-purpose it. Remove the leaves and keep a table for 4 and just add the leaves and chairs when needed. Your additional chairs could be tucked in either corner of the room and add a decor pillow for a splash of colour this will also draw the eye to the outer corners of the room, again making the space appear large. Your china cabinet /buffet likely comes in two pieces, keep the bottom and put the top portion in storage. This will make the room feel larger. Add a long mirror above the buffet, mirrors let light bounce around the room and make it seem bigger than it is. If your space is very open concept and the rooms are not solidly defined, add an area rug in the dining room. How big should it be? Big enough so when the chairs are slid out from under the table, all 4 legs are still on the carpet. Go neutral in colour, especially if your furniture is dark and rich like a cherry wood or mahogany.

In the bedroom, again storage is key. If you are in the market for a new bedroom set, look for one with storage, likely drawers under the boxspring, this is perfect to store blankets, sheets and other linens. Keep the bed linens light and neutral in colour. Add side tables that have drawers for storage. In a guest room, a Murphy bed is a great option, especially if you do not have regular guests. Use that room for a multitude of purposes, craft room, sewing room, home office etc...Keep it clean and clear and it can serve multiple tasks. Too many downsizers are used to having extra space to have unused rooms such as a guest room.

Accessories - Do not overpower your new space with too many pieces. If you have a lot, go through your items and determine which ones are the most important to you and put the others in storage or pass them along to your children. Clutter makes any space no matter how big or small, feel tight and crowded. Flat surfaces are not designed to be used as storage areas they should be clear except for decor or function items (example, vase of flowers, candy jar or a phone). Keep other items in drawers, baskets or other storage containers. Use mirrors whenever possible but don't have your place look like a fun house (a mirror above a fireplace mantle is a very classic look but it also adds light in the room). Keep your walls light in colour and for a bold look (if that is your taste) paint your ceiling in a bold colour this looks great in a well lit space and one with high ceilings. Use punches of colour in your artwork, pillows, blankets and keep the main pieces of furniture neutral.

Downsizing is an exciting time! A time to start over and really enjoy a new lifestyle. If you are looking to take the next step contact the Bennett Real Estate Pros ( for more information on condos in Ottawa. They have all the info and experience on new and resale condos in the city. Some of their current projects are Merrion Square ( located in Little Italy, 101 Richmond ( located in Wellington Village and other upcoming condo developments in the city of Ottawa. Call them today and take advantage of this new time in your life!

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Blogger Jessica said...

Pretty cool stuff, I saw this site with some useful info on Storage Ottomans.Hope it helps.

May 27, 2009 at 7:23 AM  
Blogger Kristi Blok said...

Storage ottomans are fantastic! A great store in Ottawa, Crawford Alexander will have a line of storage sofas coming in the fall of 2009.

May 28, 2009 at 2:59 PM  

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