It might seem as though all your friends with kids are moving out to the suburbs and opting to take on a longer commute time in favour of more space. There are a growing number of families, though, that are choosing to stick to condo life for the convenience of living in an urban centre. However, with most downtown condo units spanning anywhere from 500 to over 1,000 square feet (if you’re lucky!), condo dwellers need to get creative in order to make the space work for everyone.
Here are a few ways to make a smaller space work, even for a growing family.
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Buy Convertible and Foldable
When it comes to making the best use of your small space, functionality is crucial. Hoarding isn’t an option, and the best household items serve a dual purpose.
We spoke to Cassandra, mother of an 18-month old toddler, about the tips and tricks she uses to get the most out of her downtown Toronto condo.
“Things like playpens should be able to be folded up and neatly tucked away when not in use. The same goes for things like high chairs, swings and toys wherever possible,” she says.
Cassandra owns a foldable tunnel and tent from Ikea, for instance, that entertains her toddler for hours and barely takes up any room in her condo once it’s folded up and put away. Beyond kid-specific items, things like coffee tables that double as storage units can help save space and reduce clutter.
Build In Storage
In addition to converting everyday furniture into storage, some families are putting the investment right into the condo unit. Installing a custom wall unit or a kitchen island are some ways to enhance storage space and make the living space more functional. Units with high ceilings provide the opportunity to build in additional shelving. This can be particularly beneficial for a child’s room, for instance, where a high bunk bed can allow for additional storage space underneath.
Take Advantage of Your Urban Surroundings
Arguably the best thing about owning an urban condo is access to countless amenities.
“Where I live, there are parks, free kids’ programs and the library,” says Cassandra. She also boasts living within close proximity to large shopping centres and the aquarium as benefits of living in her downtown neighbourhood.
No matter which city you live in, urban centres are full of arts and entertainment, and to many that makes up for the lack of a backyard. In fact, you can even think of it as a giant backyard. Look into local children’s programs, which are often available at no charge or for a very low fee.
Check In With Your Spatial Needs
Condo living isn’t for everyone, but it certainly works for a growing number of families. Those that love it would argue that the arts and culture, short commute, and quick access to amenities just can’t be beat. Families that view it as a long-term option, however, should review their needs on a periodic basis and make the necessary adjustments to make the space both livable and enjoyable for the whole family. This could mean childproofing your balcony, adding space-saving furniture or even seeking out a larger unit.
Raising a family doesn’t have to mean sprawling land size and a large backyard. If a walkable, compact urban space sounds appealing, then condo life might just be for you.
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