Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


When summer starts to fade away it feels like it is the perfect time for a new start. Going back to school is a big deal for kids and parents, but after Labour Day Long weekend many of us feel like it’s a new beginning; we feel more focused on our work and personal goals and ready to move forward.

Many of you live in “green” condos which is already a huge step in creating a healthy living space for yourself. Spring and autumn are the best times to de clutter your space, put everything in the right place, go through your closets and bring out the light sweaters to keep you warm so you can enjoy the outdoors.

Many readers have emailed me questions regarding how to make your condo space healthy. After thinking of the most important elements to be addressed from an interior design perspective, I came up with few tips that are super easy to implement in order to create a healthy living space:

1. Start with a cleaner air: clear debris from stove and dryer vents, throw away plastic bags and bottles, keep rooms well ventilated, change filters in heating and cooling equipment (although most condos will do it for you on a date scheduled by the property management), use the exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms, choose water based paints and with no voc, use as much natural finishes, furniture, fabrics, clean frequently with solutions such as vinegar and lemon juice.

2. Did you know there are plants that help you breathe? Bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, English ivy, Gerbera daisy, Janetcraig, Marginata, mass cane/corn plant, pot mum, peace lily. Adding plants to your space is the easiest way to improve the quality of air especially in small spaces.

3. Natural light- bright, full spectrum light manufactures vitamin D, regulates hormones, boosts the immune system and wards off depression. To maintain a healthy condo space it is ideal that you combine natural light with carefully chosen energy efficient artificial lighting.

4. Window coverings- Can you keep some windows free of curtains? If not use light color sheers and invite sunshine into your condo space, or maybe use bamboo screens that filter light and offer some privacy, great for a Zen design look!. When placing artificial lighting throughout your condo space, think of placing mirrors to reflect the light coming from floor or table lamps and ceiling fixtures.

5. Color- when it comes to color you will find endless theories and ideas, but the one you should always gravitate towards is that colors should best suit the purpose of the room and the personality of its occupants. The flow of colors between rooms is very important as it creates a cohesive look and feel throughout your condo space especially in an open concept space. Choose mood enhancing colors

6. Living in a clean, uncluttered space liberates the mind and lightens the spirit. You know what to do, out with the old!

7. Create your own Sacred spaces, add scents and sounds. Your condo space is more than just a space- it is your refuge from the busy lives. Upon entering your space you can create that unique sensation that stirs the deep sense of serenity. think of what would you like to see, hear and smell when you come home? An Indoor fountain surrounded by fragrant flowering plants. In the evening you can use herbs and natural oils with subtle aromas that you have selected not only for the fragrance but also for their medicinal powers.

8. Design for the body, mind and soul. Free your home from toxins, choose furniture with more than one function not only when living in small spaces and arrange it for comfort and easy access. If your space is too small design it so it offers dual function- to create a special place for relaxation you can place your yoga mat in any place where natural light is abundant.

9. How to minimize the noise coming from outside- first the higher the floor level the less noise comes in; you can mask outside noises with wind chimes and other soothing sounds; play recordings of forest sounds and birdcalls, install an indoor water fountain, bring in tall leafy plants to help muffle noise, if allergies are not a concern use heavy drapes, soft pillows, area rugs, upholstered headboards to absorb sound.

10. Use Earth friendly fibers: cotton, linen, hemp, jute, silk, wool, sea grass. Look for sustainable fabrics- eco fibers, recycled content, chemical free. Natural fabrics- responsible design.

More and more condo owners are inspired to create private areas for reflection, meditation, reading and prayer. Choose personal artwork that has a meaning for you and ads to the look and feel of the entire space. Bedrooms and bathrooms are sacred retreats designed for rest, restoration, and intimacy. Think of bringing in your home everything that enhances your life and lifts your spirit.

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