Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Monday, January 10, 2011


As soon as the New Year started (Happy New Year!), buying a new condo is already on many people’s goal list for 2011.

While travelling for the past couple of weeks I could not help but notice how many people talk about their condo. I love finding great design inspirations from hotels and resorts where people go to relax and enjoy all the services and amenities some cannot enjoy at home.

Living in a condo gives many of us the benefits of enjoying a hotel lifestyle and while floor plans vary drastically in size and shape, no one can deny that condo lifestyle has its own tremendous advantages.

As I was planning to do a comparison of condo floor plans from around the world, I’m happy to share with you some layouts sent in for discussion by our readers! It seems that everyone has the same space dilemmas regardless where in the world their condo is located. Here are your top 5 questions and answers related to condo layouts.

1. Very small condos- “how to figure out the best layout when looking at marketing plans unfurnished? “Let’s take a look at 2 layouts of very small spaces from Toronto one from Australia and one from Dubai.

 - layout A- 1 bedroom- 477 sq.ft.-Toronto- no wasted space, corridors are embedded in the actual kitchen space, large bedroom closet and wide living/dining area.

This layout has a very small kitchen with minimal lower cabinet storage- so assume cooking small meals :) This space will appear very open and bright once built due to the wide living/area wall-to-wall glazing.

- layout B- 1 bedroom- 523 sq.ft.- Toronto- long entrance corridor- if you read my previous blog posts, this is one feature that puzzles many condo owners as there is no practical use to a long and narrow corridor except for building a custom wall unit for small storage or simply accessorizing it with wall art.

An integrated kitchen with the open living/dining area gives you the opportunity to create a custom kitchen island/dining table which will provide more storage!

Living area- very small space, hence you can consider a 2- seat instead of a 3- seat sofa. Bedroom-very similar to layout A but if you love natural light in your sleep area this appears to be the bedroom of your choice.

- layout C- 1 bedroom-433 sq.ft- Australia- you walk right in the kitchen area, no foyer, small storage space and shower only- however for such a tiny space you basically have a separate bedroom and a dining area!

- layout D- 1 bedroom- 546sq.ft.- Dubai- really tiny kitchen, no foyer- you walk right in the kitchen area, large bedroom, however the sharp angle of the living area becomes wasted space whether you furnish the space as shown by the builder or as shown in the alternate furniture layout below.

2. Small condo spaces for baby boomers- “how to find a layout that incorporates my lifestyle: I want to be able to entertain at home and dine often with my friends and kids who come visit when on holidays.”

This 2 bedroom + dinette-1100 sq.ft. layout of one of the condos located in Vaughan, Ontario seems to be a perfect fit! While the dinette area allows you to create a more formal dining area (very suitable especially for a traditional or classic design), the rest of the space seems to have all elements of a comfortable life style for a couple downsizing from a house to a condo.

In addition, the corner unit comes with views of two sides of the building and an oversized balcony. This layout allows you to use the dinette also as a den area and have a less formal dining table in the open living/dining space.

3. “Are open kitchens better than enclosed kitchens?” This actually is simply a personal preference. It is hard to say if one type of kitchen would sell more or give more value to a condominium.

At the end of the day, it is all about your lifestyle.

Visually, open kitchens help the overall living/dining/kitchen space to appear larger and support a different lifestyle- one where kitchen is simply not just a place to prepare meals but entertain friends and family.

This 1 bedroom-700 sq.ft. from Miami has an enclosed kitchen running parallel to the main long foyer. You can always consider opening up the kitchen on the corner (assuming the condo board allows you to make that change after you move in).

It seems that the living area has more issues than the kitchen layout as it features just a 2-seat sofa?! In addition, the walk-in closet has no extra wall space other than the back wall, thus it looks like wasted floor space.

4. “Are long layouts better than wide layouts?” Again- there is no rule that one layout is better perceived than the other is. However, long and narrow layouts seem to appear like a tunnel for some people used to live in large spaces.

The best part of this 2 bedroom-789sq.ft condo townhouse located in Florida is the storage space as well as the size of each room or open area.

It is great to have walk-in closets in both bedrooms, which are also larger than many bedrooms I have seen. The double vanity is also a great feature for the ensuite and the kitchen looks great. This is a very nice layout!

5. “Are curved buildings compromising the floor plans just for the sake of exterior architectural design?” Great question and long debated over the past few years since more and more buildings appear to have a unique presence in the city. My answer is “No”!

If the building is designed to capture the best of exterior appearance and interior spaces, one should not diminish the other. Here is in interesting layout from Abu Dhabi- 1bedroom 814sq.ft.

It appears that corners do not necessarily create wasted space, all corridors spaces have been minimized so the actual space is inside each room and while the kitchen has an unusual shape and location compared to North American condos, it sure comes with a great view!

Lots to talk about when it comes to such a variety of floor plans, do you have a floor plans you are not quite sure if it works for you? Send us your layout and your questions and we will help you decide! :)


  1. Nice to see someone reviewing floor plans. But in a cold country, even condos need better coat and boot storage than what I see in most of these plans. Storage in general is expended, sometimes in order to put in bathroom fixtures that are less needed.

  2. I totally agree with you. Closet space has to be revisited in most condos-new or old!

  3. I just stumbled across your blog and I love it.

  4. Floor plans like this are really useful, are these from Abu Dhabi Real Estate?


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