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#AskElle: Living Large in YVR

Downtown living often equals confined living. However, that does not stop us aspiring to create our own little sanctuary to live in and to enjoy a glass of wine with friends. Regardless of whether you are in an apartment, condo or townhouse, you still want a comfortable space.

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Here are five helpful tips to maximize and manifest your ideal living space!

Clutter Control
Declutter. I can not stress the importance of this enough. A small space looks even smaller with clutter everywhere. Be diligent about having a clutter-free space. When decorating, try to add furniture that has hidden storage – ottomans, baskets, tables with drawers, or add shelving in a small nook.

Simplicity. A small apartment will not accommodate a sofa, love seat, two chairs, two end tables, and a coffee table. Choose wisely and pare down. Select a smaller size sofa or a love seat in a solid neutral colour. For chairs, consider slipper or armless chairs. Contemporary or Scandinavian décor is great style choice for those living in smaller homes. Select furniture that has a multi-purpose. For example, a day bed or wall/murphy bed to add flexibility and functionality to a small space. Scaling down even a small amount in furniture size will make a significant difference in the overall appearance of the space.

Define a Space with Rugs
Most small apartments have few or no defined areas to maximize the square footage. Rugs are a wonderful way to define the living, dining and sleeping areas and it will give a nice flow to the home.

Colours and Patterns
Make small spaces appear larger with colour and patterns. Dark floors, rugs, brown or black sofas and large patterned chairs will only make your space feel even smaller and drab. Pick neutral colours such as off-white, light cream, or soft yellow for paint. Stay away from the popular feature wall, rather, paint your whole apartment with the same colour palette to open the space up. Choose up to three neutral colours and small patterns for your furniture. A pop of colour with throws and pillows add a dash of flair and personality. The same applies to floor treatments a lighter colour wood and rug is best.

Instead of lamps, consider recessed or wall-mounted lighting. One of the most common tricks for making a room seem bigger is to utilize vertical space. If there is a lack square footage but have high ceilings, try a long pendant lighting. It will draw your attention up and down instead of the small living area. Another technique is to use a tall standing mirror or a mirror across from a window or light source to bounce light into the space.

It is amazing how a small home can be both cozy and have a ‘light and airy feel.’ If you need help in creating that perfect small apartment living space, give ellement re:design a call, we would love to help you create your cozy and ‘spacious looking’ oasis.


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Dominique is a designer, stylist, fashion writer, and milliner. Her work has been seen on the runways of Vancouver, New York, and Paris and has appeared in local and international media. High-profile clients have included Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl, Arrow), Erin Cebula (E.T. Canada) & Miss America, Mallory Hagan.

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