Looking for interior design ideas for your small condo? Check out this renovation project I worked on over a year ago, and which we were only able to shoot last month.
Here’s a sneak peek:
My client is a young executive living with her husband and two young kids in a small two-bedroom condominium unit. She’d been looking to revamp her living room, kitchen, dining area, and common bathroom, which is why they availed of my Remodel design package.
Before: Dated and dilapidated condo interiors
As you will see in the photos below, the common areas of the condo were in serious need of an upgrade.
Condo living room in need of updating and repairs
In the living room, the brown striped wallpaper they used for an accent wall was already looking quite dated.
My client’s husband also thought initially that open shelves would suffice. But after living in their condo unit for several years, they quickly found that open shelves required regular maintenance; otherwise, it would only end up looking cluttered.
They also had a brown recliner sofa that my client wanted to replace. She was looking for a sofa that would fit the entire family, but still look sophisticated and timeless enough to withstand ever-changing interior design trends.
The living room also initially featured a small kiddie table where the kids could play or study, but they found that they would often push the table away so they could have more space to hang.
Poor waterproofing by the condo’s developer led to damaged walls in the living room, which they simply covered up with wall-to-wall curtains (bought from a retail store). While the developer had fixed the issue of water leaking into the walls, I mentioned to the client that they needed to check that the interior of the walls weren’t riddled with mold. That would definitely have been a health concern for them.
Notice also that the installer of their aircon unit did not even bother to hide the ducting within the walls. They had reasoned that they could not do so due to the condo walls being made of thick concrete.
Condo kitchen and dining area requiring organizing and upgrade
The condo’s kitchen cabinets were definitely looking like it was stuck in the ’00s. My client also wanted to clear much of the counter space, and needed specific cabinet modules to house her appliances.
The floor tiles also hadn’t been replaced for some time. It didn’t help that its grout lines made the floor look dirty, no matter how many times they cleaned and mopped.
My client was looking to replace the refrigerator with a bigger two-door unit. However, she felt that this nook was too deep and they couldn’t really organize their pantry items on the shelf above.
They had this dining counter made in the interest of “saving space.” But the size was just not right for the area. It also often became cluttered with kitchen items and appliances—not really a good look for a dining table.
My client knew she needed extra counter space for cooking preps, and this served that purpose. Yet somehow, she was wanting a separate dining space so that she wouldn’t have to clutter this counter with her kitchen items. But she wasn’t sure if a kitchen counter and a dining table would fit into the space.
Cluttered entry way
When you enter their condo, the first thing that greets you is this cluttered, but largely under-utilized corner:
The small console contained food items, toys, shoe boxes—basically an un-merry mix of things you would normally find in a small condo.
This entry wall also was a bit uninspired, despite their beautiful wedding and family photos displayed on the wall. Again, the open shelf console merely added to the cluttered look.
Sad and unfashionable guest bathroom
My clients were actually a very fashionable pair, but their condo interiors didn’t really reflect their style and personalities. Not least their guest bathroom.
The bathroom lacked cabinets and storage space, so everything was out in the open. The tiles—like in the kitchen—were basic condo finishes and totally uninspired.
Project mood board and palette
Before I move on to show you the “after” shots, here’s a quick look at the mood board and palette I created for my clients.
Again, my client availed of my Remodel design package, which provided her with the following:
– mood and materials boards
– color scheme
– furniture and light plans
– custom furniture elevations
– room sketches
– shopping list
– full renovation project management
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Given my clients’ lifestyle preferences and even their style and fashion sense, I wanted to give them more sophisticated-looking condo interiors. But because they had two young kids, I didn’t want to make it too sophisticated that they would need to worry about getting things broken.
I knew I wanted their condo to still look “loved and lived-in” enough that it didn’t feel like they were living in a glass house. It definitely needed a few urban elements to balance out the homey-ness.
My client also specified a white brick wall, and while we previously looked through wallpaper options to keep the budget down, she eventually decided to go for the real thing—even if it meant a longer renovation timeline.
The colors I chose were on the cool-neutral side. Their previous condo interiors had been all warm and brown, and I wanted to deviate from all that warmth this time.
I did include warm tones via wood finishes and black and brass metal accents. As for the accent colors, my client ended up using just the teal (Boysen’s Space Encounters).
After: Sophisticated urban condo interiors
Showing you again the “before” photo shots so you can better appreciate the transformation:
Before: Disorganized entryway
After: Welcoming gallery wall
Talk about an entry that instantly tells a story! Instead of putting back the black and white photos that used to populate this wall, I told my clients to pick family photos in color so as to add a little more interest. I also felt that this illustrates their family life and personality more—with lots of fun and color!
My client bought the frames herself, and had her husband put them up. Let’s just say it’s a home project he’s not likely to repeat any time soon haha.
But they did come out really nice!
Before: All-brown and dated living room
After: Homey but sophisticated living area
We retained the layout given that we didn’t move the electrical and TV outlets. But we removed the striped brown wallpaper and installed whitewashed bricks from EZ Rocks. The brick wall added just the right amount of texture and visual interest in the space, without making the wall advance, like a dark wallpaper would.
I added more light fixtures as the previous singular light didn’t provide sufficient light in the unit at night. My client decided against installing a drop ceiling to cover up the wiring, but we worked around it by smoothening the ceiling’s dirty, stucco finish and covering up the wiring with PVC. It’s not ideal, but in the interest of budgeting, or if your building management doesn’t allow ceiling works, this is a sufficient alternative.
The black Cowrie light fixtures can be moved any which way, and are from Lumina Concepts.
I had my go-to curtain maker replace the old curtains with pinch-pleated curtains on a track. This gave my clients ease in opening and closing the curtains as the day progresses, as the light can get blinding towards the afternoon.
To remedy the damaged wall and the exposed aircon ducting, I had my contractor fabricate a new wall to cover it up. We sacrificed only a few inches of space for it, but it was well worth it.
The media cabinet was customized by Raw.Tura, while the rug (super affordable!) is an Ikea find from Furniture Source.
We had the wall cabinets fabricated by my trusted general contractor—it’s a simple design with push-to-open doors. I still went for a few open cubby shelves, because I knew my client had decor and personal items that could be used for decorating. But giving her shelving that could be closed allowed them to not fuss about displays and decor too much.
My clients waited a while before they purchased this sofa from Pottery Barn—almost a year later!
They had a collection of throw pillow cases in black, white, and gray. Despite the varied patterns, they all work well together because of their cohesive palette.
My client’s brother-in-law is an art curator (check out his online art gallery) and he referred her to the artist Jay Ragma, who made the pair of modernist artworks above the sofa.
Before: Awkward dining nook
After: Guest-ready dining area
I went with a banquette with storage underneath, so as to save much-needed space. This also allowed them to pick an extendable dining table from Furniture Republic, so they could accommodate more plates when having guests over. The chairs are from West Elm, while the colorful artwork is by Monnar Baldemor.
I also had a ceiling-mounted bar shelf fabricated, to display drinks and glassware. My clients wanted to entertain as they love to cook, so this was a great option for them.
I had wanted them to have glass shelves so that the light from the ceiling would shine through to the counter, but my clients opted for a plywood base instead.
My client’s husband is tall too, so he is obviously the designated “bartender”!
Note my choice for flooring: I went with luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) for the living and dining areas. I am so into LVTs right now as they are so easy to install, so easy to replace in case of damages. But they cannot be easily damaged as they are made of strong synthetic material—so unlike the vinyl tiles of yore. They’re also water-proof, fire-retardant, great for both light and heavy pedestrian traffic (I’ve specified them for several commercial projects too).
Before: Messy and outdated kitchen
After: Clean and streamlined condo kitchen
I had the cabinets and countertop fabricated by a modular cabinet supplier. While the end result looks good enough, I wasn’t really happy with their customer service (We had lots of problems with them!). Suffice it to say I won’t be using them again.
I used 60x60cm ceramic tiles in the kitchen with a beautiful concrete finish, to reinforce the condo unit’s urban sophisticated feel.
We went for a stainless steel farmhouse sink from Vintage Hardware, which my client absolutely loves. Their previous sink had been too small and was always crammed with stuff. The spacious (it’s 33″ wide and almost a foot deep!) farmhouse sink solves this problem as it keeps the counter from looking too cluttered, and dirty dishes hidden from view.
I also had white tracklights installed to give the kitchen a “theater” feel while still adding lots of added light. But we also placed task lighting under the cabinets for better work light.
We moved the refrigerator to the space beside the sink, which opened up the nook to become a pantry. Now I know we were avoiding open shelving before, but my client bought these storage bins and jars from Ikea, which help organize each shelf.
I mean, doesn’t that look gorgeous?
I designed the cabinets to fit my client’s appliances. Instead of placing her microwave oven on the counter, we had a module custom-made specifically for it. Beside it, she requested drawers for glassware, plateware, and utensils. So despite this kitchen’s small space, there is a spot for absolutely everything, making it such a dream to work and cook in!
Notice too that I went with handle-less cabinet and drawer doors. These feature chamfered-edge doors; with the soft-close mechanism, it’s truly a clean, convenient, and contemporary kitchen.
Before: A dirty ol'(fashioned) bathroom
After: Pinterest-worthy T&B
We literally took a page (or a pin) out of Pinterest with this bathroom. My client fell in love with a pin of a teal bathroom with wood-finish planks laid herringbone-style.
The sink vanity and mirrored cabinet are actually store-bought from Home Store Philippines.
All bathroom fixtures are from COOL (CW Home Depot’s in-house bathroom brand). They’re pretty well-priced and are of good quality.
I had the glass enclosure customized by Dial-a-Door.
There you have it—my latest condo interior design reveal!
I’m quite enjoying these condo remodels. They really challenge me because of the space constraints.
I hope you enjoyed this quick walk-through!
All photos (except last two T&B pics) are by Toto Labrador.
Planning a condo remodel soon?
If you are planning a condo remodel soon, you can check out my portfolio for past condos I’ve worked on.
I also offer differently-priced design packages to fit different budgets. You can view my packages here.
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