Condo Decorating by the numbers

I came across these two living room setups last week. Same vendor showcasing two collections. Although I wasn’t out sourcing for furniture, this vendor’s window made me stop. There was nothing out of the ordinary about these two rooms, except maybe the actual square footage. I was curious. Did it actually mimic the square footage we see in condo floor plans in Toronto these days?

I grabbed my tape measure and got to work. Measure length. Check. Measure width. Check. | Final measurements 11’-0” x 9’ - 25”!

Condo Floor Plan.jpeg
Living Room Natural Colours.jpeg
Living Room Blue Sofa Green Chair.jpeg

A minimal difference between the floor plan and reality. If this is you and you’re suddenly at a loss for what to do, fear not there’s a solution to every problem. In this blog, we’re working through 5 things you can do today to create your own personal stylish sanctuary.











Go vertical




Measure the dimensions of the room. Otherwise, how will you ever know what or how much you can fit in there? You can take this one step further and include electrical receptacles and floor vent placement. You know why – right? This is to 1- minimize visible cords and 2- either not block vents with furniture or add appropriate furniture and accessories in that area.

Space limitations are simply opportunities to rethink how you position your furniture and your important focal points…… ahem…..TV. The credenza in the living room with the blue couch is the perfect landing space for your TV. I know it’s not directly opposite the couch, but then again the space isn’t there. Neither is it in the condo floor plan!

*** 12’-0” minimum depth required for a TV placed directly across the couch.

Choice is never a bad thing, but how will you ever know what is the ‘right choice’? In the sofa category alone, you can have a depth of 48, 36, 34, 32 and everything in between. Length dimensions vary just as much. Which one do you buy? The one that’s right for the space. How do you know if it’s right for the space? Go back to #1.

Always keep scale in mind. You don’t want one piece of furniture to visually overpower everything else in the room. I was recently consulting with a client and had a look at their bedroom. They had a king size bed with a lovely upholstered headboard. Unfortunately, they had paired this bed with mid-century bedside tables. These were way too small to stand next to something as imposing as a king size bed.

Scale - it’s important!

Room size will determine how much light you need. A ceiling light can flood the room with light. However, do want that much light when you’re reading in bed with the intent to fall asleep?

A well-lit room requires a variety of light options which include:

  • Ambient... known as a ceiling light. Chandelier diameter = room length + room width 

  • Task - lamp on bedside table

  • Accent - highlight/showcase artwork, statues.....etc

How do you determine how much overall light you need in a room? Well… it begins with what is called a ‘foot candle’ and ‘lumens’.

  • foot candle ….. measures light intensity based on the number of lumens cast on a 1 sq ft area

  • lumens ….. a measure of brightness (i.e.: 60W lightbulb = about 800 lumens)

Quick example of two same size rooms with different functions.

  • Kitchen | 10’-0” x 10’-0” | 7 000 - 8 000 lumens (total sq ft x foot candle)

  • Dining Room | 10’-0” x 10’-0” | 3 000 - 4000 lumens

In smaller units, this includes homes and condos, you have to take advantage of the vertical space. Eventually you’re going to run out of floor space and the only way to go is up.

To maximize your vertical space, include tall bookcases, cabinets and wardrobes. Not only will they provide storage and visual interest, but they will also draw the eye up to the ceiling. This optical illusion will make the space appear larger.

Note the living room with the cabinet. Perhaps not the best position for the TV, but it provides a storage solution for it and a host of other items which would clutter up the space. Small spaces are notorious for appearing smaller than they are when cluttered with ‘life’.

If unsure about size and how to use the vertical space, review point #1.

This is pretty much a personal preference. Much like accessorizing an outfit, it will vary from one person to another. However, you still want to keep it classy and elegant. Coco Chanel’s quote about jewelry and personal accessories holds true when it comes to decorating your home. Scan the room. Take everything in. Remove what doesn’t make sense.

Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.
— Coco Chanel

Getting it right:

  • Group a collection together

  • Use items of varying heights together

  • Don’t crowd the space

Living in the downtown core of any city offers a unique experience. You’re within walking distance or one subway stop to anywhere. Unfortunately, this also means a $ premium on square footage and a concentration of buildings. Toronto is no different and we’ve seen this with ‘small’ condo units. Space is at a premium. I’m not sure this will change anytime soon or ever.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t live stylishly in your new home. If this is important to you, Kalli George Interiors can help. We’ve transformed small condo units into multi-functional spaces without sacrificing style or lifestyle preferences.