Decorating & Design

October 14, 2012

Ask A Designer: Tiny Condo Makeover

Q. I just bought a 625-square-foot condo — yes, it’s tiny! — and need to change everything. I plan to install pale maple hardwood floors throughout, even in the kitchen, to make the space look wider. Any advice as to how to approach the makeover would be much appreciated.

— J.C., via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. I love the challenge of a small space! With the right elements, your condo could have a similar feel to that of our inspiration shot — a cosy, clean home with great use of texture and pattern.

Laying clear maple hardwood floors is the perfect way to unify your space. And going light on the floors will also help the floating staircase blend into the room. For further cohesion, paint your walls one solid colour. Swiss Coffee (OC-45) (shown) by Benjamin Moore is a warm white that’ll easily establish a neutral envelope. Or try Gray Mist (CC-80) (shown), also from Benjamin Moore, which offers more depth than the white.

When it comes to flexible seating, nothing beats a white slipcovered sofa: it works in so many design scenarios. I like the Sasha (shown) from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; it has a tailored skirt, slightly flared arms and a casual look. The 85″-long version will fit on the wall opposite your staircase.

Then, bring in lots of pattern and texture for interest. The Krassi pillow (shown) from Bouclair has pretty embroidered details. And CB2’s knitted pouf (shown) makes a great footstool that can step in as extra seating. Hang two sets of ready-made drapes over your bamboo shades, one pair at each end of the window, to soften the overall look.

A round coffee table allows for better flow in a small space. Ikea’s Vejmon table (shown) has a fashionable mid-century modern look and a shelf to cut down on tabletop clutter.

Finally, create a statement piece to hangover your sofa using a patterned fabric like Marimekko’s Lumimarja (shown) and a set of 48″ by 60″ stretcher bars. Pull 2 yards of the fabric tight across the stretchers and staple it in place on the reverse. The olive green fabric is a bold contrast to the white sofa, and the artwork’s height will balance the staircase.

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1. Fabric, Marimekko. 2. Coffee table, Ikea. 3. Pillow, Bouclair. 4. Paint, from top: Swiss Coffee (OC-45), Gray Mist (CC-80), Benjamin Moore. 5. Sofa, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. 6. Pouf, CB2.