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Decorating your Condo

September 27, 2012 - Updated: September 27, 2012

Decorating Tips for Condos


Tips for the use of COLOUR

Colour can serve many different purposes in decorating; it can make a room feel light and airy, or seem snug and cozy. Here are some different tips to keep in mind when choosing different colours:
1. Look at colour value. Colours with similar tints (lighter) or shades (darker) will go well together in a room, and help it blend. For instance, a light yellow would go well with a light blue or green, as opposed to darker colours.
2. In order to keep a room from looking disjointed, it is helpful to write down a desired colour scheme for a room. This way, when shopping for that particular room, you can distinguish what to buy according to the main colour, secondary colour, and the accent colours. When defining this colour scheme, it helps to choose a pattern, or perhaps the fabric of a couch to inspire it.
3.  When choosing a colour scheme, it is important to give an existing colour a reason. For instance, if there is an aspect about a condo that can not necessarily be changed any time soon (an unattractive tile in the bathroom); putting more of that colour can help. If the tile is an off green, perhaps putting different shades of green can help it blend and look more attractive.
4.  Pairing up any colour and white offers a crisp, clean look. Repeating the chosen colour and white through out the room makes it classic looking and easy to decorate, while keeping consistent.
5.  Colour can be used to direct the eye where attention is most wanted. To do this, lighter, more passive colours are used in the background, while brighter colour add accent and are used to draw attention.
6.  Sticking to one, basic formula keeps things easy. The three colour scheme is often used, where three colours (or shades of colour) are picked from a pattern of some sort (a rug, piece of furniture, etc.). About sixty percent of the room is in the main (or lighter) colour, thirty percent in the secondary (mid-tone) colour, and ten percent in the accent (brightest) colour.
7.  All colours have a warm or cool undertone. Keep this in mind when deciding on a scheme, because often times colours blend best together when they have the same undertone (i.e. pink and yellow).
8.  Rug colours can often be the starting point to a room and can be the center of a colour scheme. Therefore, accessories that coordinate with this scheme can create a pull into the room.
9.  Make sure to offset richer colours with light, paler colours in order to make the room mesh and keep the rich colours from overpowering the room. Often rooms with too much colour can be overwhelming, and cause absence of a focal point.
10.  Colour should always be distributed. If colour is placed in just one area of the room it can throw the balance off, and can look as though it was just an afterthought, rather than part of the room. Remember, it is good to try to make the colour and pattern of a room flow, and to create a focal point so eyes do not wander aimlessly.

Tips for the use of FURNITURE

Whether new or old, mismatched or part of a set, furniture can be used in many ways to give rooms different effects. Here are some helpful tips on buying and arranging different furniture pieces:

1. When buying furniture, it is practical to consider buying pieces that can double as storage. That way, space can be saved while still being useful (for instance, buying an end chest with drawers, instead of an end table.

2. Buying furniture pieces that stack, separate, and nest can also be practical while still adding style to the room. Nesting tables work well as one unit, or even better as individual tables for entertaining (or whatever the occasion).

3. Glass-topped tables are an easy do-it-yourself project that matches almost any kind of base. These bases may include a pedestal of some kind, a large plant pot, a bench, or any other sturdy object. Make sure the glass is thick enough to support the table size and not too wide where it can become unstable.

4. Every decorated home should have its “neutrals”. That is, neutral fabrics which, not only last long on upholstered furniture, but serve as a good basic colour. These fabrics should be relatively plain in texture.

5. When looking to buy new furniture, the best that can be afforded is often advised as the wisest choice. Cheaper furniture wares out much faster, despite how nice it looks; so look at the quality of the wood (kiln-dried hardwoods are tough) and perhaps ask for eight-way hand-tied springs. The longer it lasts, the more money you get out of it; and remember that furniture can always be reupholstered.

6. Buying textured pieces to accent a room is a great way to add an eclectic feel, and add variety. Pieces made of bamboo, different carved woods, or wicker are some popular choices.

7. When dealing with mismatched, or outdated upholstered furniture, slip covers are an easy, inexpensive way to give a room a new, fresh look. There are different kinds of covers, such as ready-made, semi-
custom, and slips that cover furniture perfectly. Different pieces of furniture call for different covers.

8. When dealing with older, unattractive wood furniture, a fresh coat of paint can often do the trick. Also, for a little extra flare, crackle paint, aging techniques, stenciling, or painted accent designs are always an option.

9. The colour of furniture and their surrounding walls can either make the pieces stand out or blend in. If looking to make a brown couch stand out, tan or light yellow walls would do a much better job than a deep chocolate colour.

Tips for the use of LIGHTING

Lighting is often disregarded as a “less-important” part of decorating a room or condo. However, much of the time, lighting is a significant aspect that can make a room complete or incomplete. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding how to light a room:

1. Lighting fixtures are a great investment for any room, not just the dining room. They add elegance and class, while creating soft, romantic lighting; and can be used alone or in pairs (for larger rooms). They should be placed roughly 32 inches above the dining room table, 80 inches above the floor (in walking spaces), and should not be large enough to overpower a room. Also, chords should be hidden from view, either inside the chandelier or covered, perhaps with fabric covered tubing.

2.  Ceiling medallions are a creative way to add elegance in a variety of ways. From plain to elaborate, medallions are available in sizes from 12 to 40 inches, and should be installed before a chandelier.

3. Lighting can be controlled and focused more with dimmer switches and motion sensors. Picture lighting, bookcase lighting, cabinet lights, and smaller lights placed behind plants, statue fixtures, and on top of armoires also add to the atmosphere of the room, and allow for different levels of lighting.

4. Buying lamps in pairs can add a pleasing feeling to the room, in their symmetrical, softer look. Matching candlesticks are also an option, taking up less space and adding sophistication.

5. Matching the height of lamps and lighting fixtures makes a room look more harmonious, eliminating a disjointed or random feel. Sticking to one or two heights is ideal for most rooms.  

6. To spice up a room or change a look, trimming on the top or bottom edges of lampshades certainly helps. Easy and inexpensive, fringe, braiding, or chord can be simply glued to the inner or outer edge of the shade, and can perfectly match the colour scheme of the room. Also, making your own lamp is always an option, and can sometimes even be best for matching a room.

7. Track lighting is a good way to control where light shines. Especially good for kitchens, track lighting allows lights to be moved on a track to be best accessed, placing light where it's most needed. They can also be used to set a mood, creating pools of light or giving an even look.

8. Cord tangles from lighting fixtures can take away from the look of a room. To avoid this, chords should be run along baseboards or under furniture. Also, clear chords can replace older, off coloured chords, and should be purchased in a better—perhaps shorter—length.


Tips for the use of PAINT

Paint colour should be chosen based on the furniture and flooring of a room. There are so many different shades and undertones of one colour, which it is often difficult to decide on just one. Here are some helpful tips to look at, that will make this process a bit easier and clear:

1. Keep your options open. Choose paint chips from different stores and brands to make sure to choose the right colour (do not loose track which chip is from which store or brand). Also, when matching paint chips to fabric, flooring, or an existing paint job, make sure to view the paint chip at all angles and in all types of lighting. Often times, paint will look completely different at night or in natural lighting than it will in the store.

2. Paint chips can also be used as a stand-in for items that can not leave the condo. For instance, if looking to match a rug color to a bathroom tile, you can match a paint chip to the tile and take it with you on your search for rugs. Also, paint covers almost anything, from metal to fabric, and can reinvent almost any piece of furniture; so don’t be shy to grab grandma's rusted chandelier out of the junk pile, there’s paint for that too.

3. Tinting your primer can give you that lighter look you’ve been searching for, when having a difficult time matching paint chips to an existing paint colour. A lot of darker colours are very difficult to match, however, only so much can be done by tinting.

4. Painting the smaller details of a room, such as vents and outlet covers, will help blend and make them less noticeable. Some do require a primer or finish, but often times you can do without.

5. Never count out the floor. Unattractive concrete, wood, and vinyl can always be decoratively painted, and have a lot of potential.

6. Highlighting with paint can accent details of furniture, and create unique outlines. Small, usually unnoticed areas can be painted to grab attention and focus.

7. Don’t be afraid to paint with bright, rich, or intense colours; they often help a room look more decorated, however, should be accented with lighter, less overwhelming colours.

8. Contrast is good, and can be used to intensify the mood of a room (with high-contrast), or create a more subtle mood (with low-contrast). Never be afraid to play around with colour, sometimes the most unlikely combinations can prove to be some of the most beautiful.

9. An illuminating glow can be created by using a lighter paint for the ceiling of a room. This will open up a room and make it seem bigger. Test ceiling colours with wall colours, sometimes the same colour (just in different shades) looks good, and other times it is better to change the colour entirely.

10. Many stores offer designer-selected colour schemes that do your job for you. They make things much easier and are proven to look good.


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