Should You Renovate? Most Outdated Condo Design Tips

Toronto Condo Living, Toronto Life

Whether you’re looking to update your current space for personal enjoyment, or are thinking about diving into a renovation or redesign to prepare your home for sale it can be difficult to know where start and how to the get the best value for your investment. That’s why we’ve created a list of some of the 10 most common, outdated condo design trends, and what you can do to reinvigorate your space.

Boring Beige and White Overload

White is beautiful, clean, and crisp, but it also shows every flaw, nick, stain or spill. Let’s face it, real life happens, and real life involves kids, pets, red wine and marinara sauce that threaten to leave spots on an impractical all-white or light coloured space. New York based designer Tracy Stern says for light colour alternatives:

People are now embracing rich shades of brown, black, and green. For a seductive yet sophisticated space, incorporate a signature black wall into your home. And if you’re drawn to more earthy tones, forest green and rust brown pops are a must.

While many people were quick to jump on the bright white kitchens a few years ago, remember cooking, eating, and genuinely enjoying your prep space will involve a lot of mess, so lots of white flooring, counters, will also mean hours spent cleaning up errant spills and spots – something potential buyers are wary of.

Move Over Marble

Marble kitchens were once the Rolls Royce of kitchens, but as people have grown accustomed to them, they’ve lost a lot of appeal, as have the dark coloured tiles and accents that often go hand-in- hand with these kitchen designs. Harriet Jones, supervisor of End of Tenancy Cleaning says:

Marble is classy and stylish, but it gets stained easily. This is why many homeowners are starting to choose quartz or soapstone over the marble. They are simply easier to care for, which will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run. History has taught us that omnipresent materials can’t stay trendy forever and marble is running out of time.

Many people have been moving towards quartz countertops thanks to benefits that include more colour options, less care required to maintain its look, and because it’s environmentally friendly. Many Toronto based companies offer reasonably priced options starting at just over 50 dollars per square foot installed for their most popular colours.

Kitchen by Bryan Lee

Traditional Condo Layouts

Once upon a time everyone wanted separate rooms for dining, cooking, and entertaining. Today open concept space is king, as people like to chat with their guests while they cook dinner, and prefer a breakfast bar to walls dividing up space. However, removing walls is one of the more costly and time consuming upgrades to undertake for your condo. Check in with your condo board to find out more details on whether or not this can be done, permits, and preferred builders who have had success within the building.

Open Space Concept

Lighting the Way to the Future

There are certain types of lights that were so popular, that we’re beginning to see a dated oversaturation, which is the case for these two types of light fixtures.
Edison style lightbulbs were first seen in trendy restaurants to help break up industrial décor, so people took note and began adapting them to their lofts and living spaces. Today these fixtures are becoming passé, consider other modern chandelier options and leave the Edison bulb for the trendy café down the road instead.

A powder room needs great lighting, which can be a definite highlight for any woman putting on her make-up each day, or getting that close shave, but that doesn’t mean Hollywood Mirror Lights are necessary. This is a trend from the 1990’s, to shine a spotlight on each trip to the bathroom. Instead consider using softer bathroom lighting like lights flanked either side of a mirror, layered lighting, and options that mimic real daylight.

Cold Industrial Kitchens

While loft living is really conducive to a industrial style aesthetic, there can be too much of this, leaving a cold and clinical feel. Trends are moving away from large show-stopping appliances, even if they are the fancy ones. Select your appliances for their function to make your kitchen look clean and modern, and not like the inside of a warehouse.

Industrial kitchen by BO BEDRE

Today designers are moving towards providing more camouflage for appliances since they really shouldn’t be the focal point of any room. The same goes for hood fans, that were once a staple feature in open-concept kitchens. Ana Cummings, designer says:

Hood fans were never aesthetically pleasing in the first place, just utilitarian.

Modern design has begun to hide hoods in cabinetry to allow for other visual focus in the kitchen.

Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorns ceilings were a standard in a lot of homes built in the time spanning between the 1930’s and the 1990’s, and that’s a lot of popcorn! Since many people don’t like the dated aesthetic of this look, or its presumed association with asbestos (although the use of asbestos in textured ceiling paint was banned in 1977), the stigma is still there. The good news is that with a little elbow grease you can scrape away the popcorn yourself and repaint the surface, or hire a team to do the job in a matter of days.

Removing Popcorn Ceiling by Daniel M. Hendricks

Over Upgrading

With all of the options readily available at your fingertips when purchasing a new build it can be tempting to select all of the upgraded options. Here’s the thing, it’s expensive, and the choices you make according to your own particular preference may not be all that common to the masses. If you’re planning on flipping the space in the shorter-term (in the next five to 10 years) consider looking at the recommended suites of popular upgrades made available by builders so your space features some upgrades, but not everything but the kitchen sink.

Damned Damask 

Remember those really cool patterned accent walls that were all the rage in the 1990’s and 2000’s? No? Here it is.

Damask by Jess & Kate

The name of the pattern is called damask and odds are you or someone you know still has a condo with one of these walls, most common in dining rooms and living rooms. Many designers say that if you’re looking to sell these walls are a no go. If you still must have a pop of pattern and colour consider updating with some big bright blooms and nature based patterns instead.

Dated Bathroom Fixtures

Whether your condo came with the builder’s fixtures (which are often on the lower end, price wise) or you installed your own, gold or brass fixtures that were popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s, these dated pieces will age the appearance of your home.

By investing in some more modern hardware, neutral chrome or brushed nickel often appeals to a wide variety of tastes, your home gets an instant update! Consider splurging on a smart touchless faucet for an extra wow factor. Basic modern fixtures will usually start at around 50 to 100 dollars, whereas the smart options will cost a few hundred dollars depending on the model.

Yes to chrome!

Too Much of a Good Thing

There is a fine balance between a space being too cluttered and filled with knickknacks, or mimicking an IKEA showroom. Believe it or not, a space that looks too much like a store makes it as difficult for people to envision themselves in as one filled with photo walls of your loved ones. Opt for a carefully curated space with a few accent pieces you love to really make the space beam with your own personality while combating clutter.

Remember, at the end of the day the space is yours, keep your budget and comfort level in mind when making changes to your living space. Don’t be afraid to talk to your real estate agent to have them help you prioritize changes and spending on updates that will help sell your home at the best possible price.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.