Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Many questions received from ‘early birds’ condo buyers! That time of year approaches again- nope, I’m not talking about Christmas or Valentine’s Day (although a condo would be a great gift!). I’m talking about spring approaching and with spring many new condo developments will come to the market, in fact Canada already has few great projects that already started!

As many of you may want to do your homework before you ‘jump in’, I have put together a list of questions and answers related to condos design when looking at floor plans.
First, have you already read the blog post about pre construction condos- what to look for when buying? you can read it again here .
Q: 2 bedroom condo layout- is it better to have the bedrooms side by side or not?

A: Most people prefer the layout when bedrooms are not side by side, regardless if you use the 2nd bedroom for kids or guests it is better to have them separated.

Q: Are bedrooms with natural light better than the ones without?

A: There is no definite answer here, it all depends on your lifestyle. No natural light in the bedroom doesn’t take away from the design options within the suite.

Q: Kitchens- how important are the appliances and the amount of storage especially when reselling the unit?

A: The answer is easy: make sure your kitchen is not just for display! (unless it is a very tiny studio where a kitchen may not be the most important factor to consider when buying that unit)

Q: Are narrow & long units better than wide units?

A: Each suite has a different layout- with a wide unit you will definitely have more natural light, otherwise both units could have a great space.

Q: Are walk-in closets important?

A: Yes, they definitely are a great feature with a lot more storage to offer than a regular closet. Storage is one of the most important factors to consider so look at all storage opportunities within the suite. Especially for small units, have you read this post

Q: Should I choose a layout with a large bedroom vs one with a small master bedroom?

A: It all depends on your lifestyle. While some people only for sleep literarily use the bedroom, (hence they prefer to have more space in the living/dining area vs the bedroom), others prefer to watch tv in the bedroom and have more furniture other than just the bed and night stands. So it all comes down to your lifestyle.

Q: Is an 8’ ceiling OK?

A: Considering how many new developments have 9’ ceilings as standard I suggest considering 9’ as a current requirements. Old condos already struggle with the 8’ ceilings especially for open concept condo spaces.

Q: Shower or bathtub?

A: With only 1 bathroom, bathtub is the answer. If the space has 2 bathrooms, one could have a shower which is a great feature!

Q: How do I know if I can fit some of the existing furniture I own?

A: I strongly recommend have a furniture layout done. Many people look at floor plans and envision the space as being much larger than in reality. If you have never done in a drawing in your life ask someone to help you sketch out few options. Always take a reference element- for eg the suite entry door is 3’ wide and that is (more or less) the depth of a sofa or chair. When looking at the furniture layout always consider double checking the measurements of your own furniture items- not all chairs, beds, sofas have the same size and if you're not experienced on how to identify a two seater vs a three seater sofa (for e.g.) you may have unpleasant surprises when you move in.

Q: How important is a 2nd bathroom even for a 1 bedroom unit?

A: If the ensuite door opens only from the master bedroom side, it is a benefit to have a 2nd bathroom- for when you have guests or if you have a den which is actually used as a second bedroom.

These are just a few of the most asked questions when it comes to looking at a furniture plan.

Remember that a sales agent know all the questions that most people ask when looking for a condo, and those questions turn into features that make certain spaces sell much better than others. So always consult with a real estate professional when buying, even when buying from a builder.

And never forget to buy a condo (if you plan to move in) first for the current use and second for the resale value.

Have more questions? Send us an email to and you’ll read the answers posted here soon!