Today, I’m sharing with you tips on how to style your condo with these easy-to-do tricks!
Back when I did styling duties for photo shoots for the magazine I used to work for, the owners of homes I styled ended up purchasing the props I brought over. It was a great compliment, because it meant that I was able to help them style and decorate their condos in a way that they liked or wanted.
It also became great practice for me before I eventually transitioned into interior decoration and residential design.
For one such photo shoot, I styled my friend JK’s one-bedroom condo. We’d actually been discussing her place for the longest time over WhatsApp, with her asking me about where to get certain pieces of furniture.
It was already a spacious condo to begin with, so I understand why it took her a long time to really style it up.
In our interview during the shoot, she said she didn’t know how to style her condo. But she intentionally took her time to fill her home with decor and accessories, so that she would end up with pieces she truly loves and appreciates.
When I asked to shoot her condo, I also got her permission to bring in a few items that would help give her an idea on how to decorate her pad.
Have a look at the BEFORE and AFTERs, and just some of the simple styling tricks I used to populate her space with a little more color and accessories.
Pick out a color palette to implement in your space.
Love this sage advice from decorator and author Betsy Helmuth, about how to pick out colors for your space.
“We aren’t going to use [the three colors we selected] in equal amounts throughout the room. That would be too expected, too formulaic. We will use one of the colors 60% of the time, another 30%, and the third 10% of the time. ” —Big Design, Small Budget: Create a Glamorous Home in Nine Thrifty Steps by Betsy Helmuth
Sometimes, we pick more than just three colors. That’s perfectly fine, so long as we still follow the same principle of using them in different amounts in the room. With JK, she had already picked four colors: ecru, taupe, blueberry, and mauve.
She placed her dominant color (ecru) on the walls; relegated the second color (taupe) to the sofas, chairs, certain portions of the wall bounded by moulding, her curtains and rug; the third color (blueberry) to a slipper chair, some pillows, curtains, and rug; and the fourth (mauve) to just the pillows and curtains.
Note that her pillows, curtains, and rug also share colors from the palette, but you’ll see that the blue slipper chair makes a big difference in the amount of blueberry used in the space.
JK also picked hues that aren’t so bold or intense. She wanted feel instantly relaxed upon entering her home, so soft neutrals and hues worked for her.
This is a great tip when picking out paint colors and furnishings: the intensity of the colors also has an effect on the overall mood and ambience that you want to go for.
If JK had picked a saturated navy or royal blue instead of a somewhat muted blueberry, it would have altered the look and feel of her relaxing living room.
I kept this palette in mind when I was sourcing for furnishings to style her place with. But prior to the shoot, she didn’t have a coffee table for her living room. Which brings me to my next styling tip:
Add metallics to provide a touch of glam to your space.
JK had initially shown a preference for metallic accessories to provide an eye-catching accent. Metallics keep the space from looking too bland and boring. She’d been looking for a metallic coffee table for her living room, and we’d actually exchanged several photos of tables we’d seen in stores and online.
Then, I saw this pair of brass, hexagonal, stone-topped tables at Moss Manila Home:
The price of the tables are a bit steep—way beyond JK’s budget—but we were able to pull out the pair just for the photo shoot.
Here is a photo of her living room again, with the hexagonal coffee tables.
I love how the shape of the tables mimic the shape of the customized pouf ottoman at the foot of JK’s slipper chair.
It’s okay to add patterns and prints, as long as they’re within the same color palette.
I also added more throw pillows to fortify her color palette. JK was actually worried that the prints on the throw pillows would clash with the curtains, the rug, the wall treatment in the TV cabinet.
On the contrary, as long as you stick to similar hues, prints and patterns have a tendency to recede into view.
Cover up unsightly wires with decor and accessories.
A common problem among many homes is the visibility of wires and cables when TVs are wall-hung.
There are many possible solutions (like using molding or hiding them in a drywall) that require a handyman or flexing your construction skills, but if you don’t want to do that, then here’s an easy tip: If you cannot cover up wires and cables with moulding (or if you cannot embed them in the wall), it pays to do so using accessories and personal belongings.
For JK’s TV wall, we used books, plants, and even a vintage-style electric fan—which, because of its great form, also acts as a conversation piece—to cover up the cords and cables from her TV.
Create an easy wall accent with wall trim and paint.
JK’s dining and kitchen already had good bones. I love what she did with the wall to the right of her dining table: To make it more interesting, she framed certain portions with white trim and painted the wall inside the border with taupe.
The white-bordered taupe look is echoed in JK’s dining chairs.
I simply added a few accessories—like a tall flower arrangement (actually a faux flowering plant that I placed on top of a candleholder, both from The SM Store), and JK’s colorful goblets and plates—to create a vignette.
Use art to pull a room’s look together.
Since JK lives by herself and without any househelp, she cleans up her own space. This is why she would rather sparsely decorate than fill surfaces with all sorts of baubles. She knows how much bric-a-brac can become major dust gatherers, so she chooses only a few items to populate her shelves.
In the bedroom however, JK wasn’t really making use of her palette’s color accents.
JK also didn’t use art as of yet (she had been in the process of selecting framed prints for her home), which in my opinion, does so much in pulling together all the colors of the palette, as well as add personal and visual interest to a room. So I added this abstract art triptych from Our Home, which JK ended up buying.
For the photo shoot, I “borrowed” JK’s blue slipper chair from the living room, and recommended that she replace the leather reclining sofa with a blue couch or armchair instead.
JK’s Prizmic & Brill vanity is actually a desk that was something she’d earned from her work as a property specialist. The chair I provided for the shoot is also from Moss Manila.
While the items I used for the photo shoot were eventually returned to the stores (with the exception of some throw pillows and the triptych art that JK liked), JK was able to get some tips on how she would eventually finish decorating her place.
So there you have it: easy tips on how to style and accessorize your condo. Most of these you can do without exceeding your home budget! If you want to see more tips on styling condo spaces, check out these blog posts:
Easy, no-reno design tips for your condo
How we organized and decorated this 3-bedroom condo
What do you think? What are your own tricks and techniques to styling your own place?
Would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!