Thursday, April 09, 2009

3 Ways to Make Your House Bigger: Condo 2 Castle Series

So, the secret is out...my castle is a tiny condo. But that's okay, because I've learned a few tricks along the way to make my home feel grander and much more cozy than the sterile condo it was! If you have a similar experience, please share your knowledge with me and I'd LOVE to feature you here in my new CONDO2CASTLE series!!!

How to Make Your House Bigger

1. Small living space? Try a room-arrange (ya, trying to be cute there with re-arrange...it flopped)!

    Okay, this seems silly, but it LITERALLY took me six years of living here to realize that if I moved my chair around the room, my place would open up immensely AND give me an entryway. See what I mean? Try this at your own home ASAP and then tell me how right I was!!! : )

    I also used to have my tall bookcase in my bedroom next to my bed. When I walked in the door, it was directly in my line of site, which seemed to close the room in as it was chock full of books. Now, my mirrored desk and shelves break up the space and even brighten it up, which makes the room feel larger!



    2. Standard issue kitchen? It won't be the cheapest of projects, but a kitchen renovation can go a LONG way.

      If you bought your home and the kitchen looked anything like this, don't worry, you're not alone. In the condo world, this is standard, faux wood, fiber press board. It's cheap and gets the job done. HOWEVER, it does very little in terms of making your kitchen look good. I lived with my kitchen looking like this for about four years, and then I decided it was time to put on my big girl panties and upgrade and I'm SO GLAD I did. See, when you have a very basic kitchen like this, it doesn't draw your eye...in fact, it averts it and a person subconsciously closes off that space. When your kitchen is a thing of beauty, you: A) want to spend more time there actually cooking; B) entertain more; and C) it just opens the place up!

      If you can't afford to upgrade your kitchen, YOU STILL HAVE OPTIONS! Update your fixtures for a fraction of the cost (second hand stores, yard sales, going out of business sales, and even your local hardware store have TONS of affordable options), reface your old appliances with stainless steal-like kits (c'mon you've all seen them do this on TLC and HGTV!), and accessorize the hizzy out of your kitchen! I kept a strategically placed trivet over a burn in the old formica counter for years (yes the seller actually hid it during my walk-through and I was too lame to notice...).

    3. Bad lighting? Brighten that place up!

      My single most HATED thing about my house is the lack of lighting. The only rooms with overhead lights are the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom. Sadly, my living room and bedroom are as dark as night.

      The moment I moved in, I ran out and purchased floor lamps, table lamps, and later received some plug-in sconces for my bedroom. Normal people would like this subtle mood lighting, for sure, but I'm now convinced I want my house as bright as the sun (a story for another day).

      My biggest recommendation for those of you with high ceilings is DON'T overlook them...you'll need some tall light, otherwise you'll feel like you have a dark cloud over you. I underestimated my vaulted ceilings at first, but have since learned to uplight. Once those ceilings were properly illuminated, it added to the openness of my home!
      I recently discovered some inexpensive undercabinet lights for the kitchen. I didn't want to spend the moolah boolah on rewiring the kitchen during the remodel (it IS a condo after all), but just happened to be traipsing through IKEA (from the land of my people) recently and found these gems for like 10 bones!

      Lighting can also be an awesome design feature! My new fixture in the dining room gives the place a little bling and I LOVE it.

    Next week, CONDO2CASTLE will focus on adding CHARACTER to your home, so be sure to come on back by! Until then, happy Easter!!!

    I'm sharing this post with my friend at Hooked on Fridays. Pop over there and find out what other people are hooked on this week, too!

    UPDATED: My pal Nathan over at Laurel Street House commented below on the mirrored wall in the dining room and how it can make a room feel better. He is ABSOLUTELY right. When I bought my place, I wasn't too sure about the mirrors...in fact, I toyed with the idea of tearing them down until my parents assured me the mirrored wall was the ONLY upgrade in my place. The jury's still out on whether I really like them or not, but one thing is for sure, they DO make my dining and living room feel bigger!


    14 comments:

    Mrs. Petrie said...

    Our house has several rooms that have no overhead light fixture. I think this is so weird. Anyway, I heart your dining room drum fixture! I wish I had gotten that type for my dr. Beautiful improvements.

    ms. less is always more said...

    gah! we have those same cabinets (the ugly ones...) due to a cheap builder circa late nineties. We are planning a reno too... glad to know I'm not the only one suffering through them!

    Living with Lindsay said...

    This is wonderful, JJ!

    laurelstreet said...

    That dining room pendant is awesome! Love the way it looks in the mirror wall - another space opener, non?

    P.S. Lurv the green in the kitchen!

    Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

    Fun Post!!

    susan said...

    I absolutely LOVE your new dining room light fixture!

    You should post these ideas on HOMEdigz!

    Susan

    Puna said...

    I wish I read this while living in Hawaii! It certainly would have helped!

    Angry Julie Monday said...

    Great post!!! We've done so little and so much to our little casa...

    I still need to re-do my kitchen. It's awful..

    ImagineCozy said...

    It is amazing what you can do to make your home more "cozy" with little to no cost. Sometimes we just get stuck in the way it has always been---thanks for the inspiration!

    Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

    Oh - you have done a great job. Such fun suggestions. :)

    Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

    Great tips! Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

    Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

    What a fun series! I love the name, too (Condo 2 Castle). The green in your kitchen looks fab. Great color. Hope you're having a good weekend! :-)

    Quoizel said...

    Those are some great tips. I love your chandelier.

    Phaedra : ) said...

    a lady after my own heart! Love the green kitchen !