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Little touches that make a huge difference

Little touches that make a huge difference

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Little touches that make a huge difference

Decorating a small space isn’t actually that different than decorating a large one: It just requires a bit of ingenuity and understanding what works in the space and what doesn’t. While your focus will be different when you’re working with less square footage, the basic rules of design are very much the same.

I’ve taken this challenge to task with a recent property development I’m working on in conjunction with Dunpar Homes – the Kingsway Village Square. This luxury building offers upscale condominium living in a carefully-crafted boutique rental residence, and as creative designer, it’s my job to decorate our first two model suites – with all the right interiors and finishes. It’s proven to be a really fun project to manage because it’s made me look at design differently. Naturally, I have less room to work with so it means I have to think about furniture, finishes and lighting in a way that works for a smaller space.

Whether you’re looking to update a condominium, studio apartment or small home, check out these tips on ways to optimize your space.

Find the right light

First, if you have plenty of natural light, let it shine through! Keep window treatments airy with sheer fabrics so light can come through easily, and you’re not weighing down your space with heavy curtains or blinds. Add additional lighting throughout your space but avoid any big floor or table lamps – they just add “bulk” – and opt for wall sconces, pendant lights or string lights that don’t take up too much real estate.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

If you aren’t blessed with a lot of natural light in a room, mirrors can add additional light and the feeling of additional space by reflecting back any natural and non-natural lighting you do have. It will give the illusion of more square footage, so think about using one large mirror in your room or arrange a few smaller ones throughout.

Try ‘floating’ pieces

Shelves and nightstands that are built into the walls can keep your floor clear of any cluttering obstacles and free up some extra space as well.

The bigger the rug, the better

Believe it or not, you don’t want to skimp on size with your rug. A tiny rug just makes the room feel equally as small, so pick a floor covering that’s large enough so most of the furniture will sit on it, or go wall-to-wall.

Avoid heavy furniture

When dressing a small space, your furniture has to look light. For example, instead of investing in a sturdy, block of a coffee table, opt for a piece that has legs on it. Why? It helps carry the eye in and around your space, which gives the impression of a bigger room.

Keep colours neutral

This feels fairly obvious, but lighter walls give the illusion of a bigger space, where darker walls do the opposite. My favourite hues are from Benjamin Moore: CC40 or Chantilly Lace. I use both of them in design often.

Use furniture that is multi-purpose

For the Kingsway Village Square, I also picked pieces that are multi-purpose, such as a high top table that I put in the kitchen area that acts as a work station as well as an eating area. You can get creative with storage options, too: Ottomans that can store your linens, or built-in cabinetry under your bed. Nowadays, there are so many chic storage options that work double-duty as a piece of decor.

Add some colour

Yes, you can! Use colour for your pillows, bedding, artwork or carpets, but I always caution about going too overboard with really bold patterns of palettes. You want to minimize the “noise,” as it were, so my advice is to add your colour, but keep it fresh, light and harmonious.

Lisa Rogers is Executive Vice-President of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel. Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline, a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health, wellness and design.


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Getting the most out of your lighting

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Getting the most out of your lighting

Lighting can have a major impact on the look and feel of your home. While lighting obviously has a function and purpose, it can also become a great feature in your home to highlight focal points and create ambiance.

To create a successful lighting plan for your renovation you need to consider a layered approach. By layering lighting in a space, you are able to create the flexibility of different vibes and functions. However, to do so you need to have a general understanding of the four basic categories of lighting: ambient, task, accent and decorative.

Ambient lighting illuminates any given space and permits an ease of mobility throughout a room. Task lighting, as seems obvious, affords you additional lighting in specific areas devoted to a particular task or function. Accent lighting can be used to highlight artwork, decor or perhaps architectural features within a space; it can be a great way to highlight a focal point in a room. Finally, we have decorative lighting, which is simply an accessory to your room, or the finishing touch. However, another source of lighting that should not be dismissed in design is natural light. It’s the most inexpensive, environmentally friendly and sought-after form of light available. Many new condo and home builds today are being designed and constructed with wonderfully large window features that allow for maximum natural light even in small spaces. Natural light not only services the functional aspect of light in design, it also helps to create a warm and inviting aesthetic for your home.

In most renovations today we find that recessed pot lights are the go-to option when looking to upgrade lighting in a home. However, for condo-dwellers this is not necessarily feasible as ceilings are mostly concrete. When looking to renovate your condo there are some ceiling details that may allow you to add pot lights. If your ceiling height permits, such features as a tray ceiling or a coffered ceiling can be a nice way to not only add interest to your space, but also provide the space required to add recessed pot lighting. If this is not an option for you, consider the addition of track lighting. The track lighting systems on the market today have a far more upscale look to them, with many more size and style options than we have previously seen, while being far more user-friendly for the condo environment.

Whatever your lighting inspiration, be sure to pay adequate attention to your lighting plan and needs so that you not only create a space that is safe and functional but use light to create a warm and inviting ambiance in your home.

Linda Mazur is an award-winning, nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.



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