7 small reno tips with a big impact
Always dreamed of turning your living space into your dream home or condo, but feel limited by your small space? The GTA condo craze means building up and sizing down, but this doesn’t have to mean limiting your creative capacity.
DIY and reno experts Mark Rason, Shawn Monteith and Jordan Spear will be at the 2020 GTA Home and Reno Show sharing tips and tricks to transform small spaces. Here’s a sneak peek at a few tips to try for yourself.
1 The wall pocket shelf
Adding some depth to your space is the perfect weekend project, according to Canada’s Handyman, Shawn Monteith. “A wall pocket shelf is extra shelving that is cut into an interior wall to maximize space, without actually taking up any precious living space.”
After checking for electrical and plumbing in the wall to make sure it’s safe to proceed, Monteith tells us this is also great option for small washroom walls that could use extra storage. In-wall medicine cabinets or in-shower shelving helps keep things organized without taking up too much space. “But remember,” says Monteith, “never do this to an exterior wall!”
2 Find space in unlikely places
Monteith also recommends using the back of doors to hold hangers for extra storage that is out of the way or installing chains from the ceiling to hang new shelves. “Make sure you screw into a truss for maximum support, which will let you keep the floor space under it open.”
Other ideas include renovating under the stairs to frame in shelving for maximum storage or making use of an odd wall connection with a corner shelf.
3 Add floor space with pocket or barn doors
Pocket doors can be tricky, but an easy way to remove the space that a swing door takes up. Reno expert Jordan Spear suggests cutting into the unused space between wall cavities to create a more streamlined opening. “Try adding glass to the doors – frosted if you require privacy – to allow light to pass from room to room. This helps make the room feel less closed off.”
4 Consider removing walls
Daring enough for a demolition? Consider removing non load-bearing partition walls to create an open-concept space, adding in light and flow between rooms. “Opening up two rooms into one will make the space feel larger, reducing the feeling of confinement in two smaller rooms,” says Spear. “Think a shared kitchen-dining room instead of two separate rooms.”
5 Creative custom closets
Upgrading your designated storage spaces can be a snap with custom closet installations, or even a simple reinforcement to keep things looking sharp and sturdy. Expert carpenter Mark Rason suggests replacing bowed shelves in closets, a common problem with aged properties, and is a relatively easy fix. “I always recommend using a thick, 3/4-inch melamine material in order to prevent bowing.”
Monteith also recommends adding a shelf eight to 12 inches off the floor in a small closet. “This gives you double the space to store things like shoes and boxes.”
6 Colours and painting to open up spaces
In small spaces everything matters, down to the paint colour. Soft tones like off-white, blue and green will open up small rooms, making them look bigger. This will give the illusion that the walls are farther back, while dark colours like purple and deep greys will fool the eye into thinking a space is smaller than it is.
7 Build up, not out
Just as condos are getting taller and taller, follow suit by also elevating your storage. Try installing an over-the-sink shelf, an easy and quick DIY project for people of any skill level. You can even use upcycled materials such as scrap pellet wood for an eco-friendly installation. Make sure to stabilize the shelf by placing the heaviest items on either end of the shelf, rather than the middle.
As GTA housing demand rises, so are properties. Builders are building up instead of out, and Toronto’s crowded skyline is creating the “vertical city,” giving people less and less space. Open up your space by implementing these tips recommended by DIY experts.
For more tips and organization inspiration, check out the GTA Home and Reno Show running from Feb. 14-17, 2020, at the International Centre in Mississauga. DIY and renovation masters Mark Rason, Shawn Monteith, Jordan Spear and other professional renovators will be on hand to answer questions and provide expert advice for your next project, big or small. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit gtahomeandrenoshow.com.