Condo living made easy

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita March 09,2018 - 10:17 PM

Tom Castañeda, SM Home assistant vice president for marketing, shows one of the dining area displays of the recent SM Home’s The Essentials of Condo Living at the SM City Cebu. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Four interior designers share tips on how to furnish a condominium unit with space as a major factor to consider

Transitioning from a bigger house into a much smaller condominium could be such a headache especially for young professionals or couples.

This was the same problem Krystal Cromente, 25, faced when she and her boyfriend decided to get their own condominium unit at Barangay Tisa, Cebu City last November.

“One of the major challenges is choosing between what’s important and what’s not. There are some stuff you want to accommodate but you have to give it up because of the limited area,” the government employee told Cebu Daily News.

Their studio unit was only 25 square meters.

Cromente said that they really had to research a lot and look into home improvement magazines to get inspiration in decorating and designing their new home.

And one of the vital things they had to keep in mind was multi-functionality.

“Anything that is multi-functional is an essential piece. In our space, a sofa bed and a dresser that doubles as an entertainment system helped us declutter,” she said.


According to Tom Castañeda, assistant vice president for marketing of SM Home, one does not have to break the bank in order to fully decorate and furnish a new condo.

A budget of P100,000 to P250,000 would already be enough to buy the essentials and even items to make one’s place aesthetically pleasing.

“It’s a decent starting point. You will not really be able to buy the most expensive pieces, but it’s good enough to start a home,” he said.

Castañeda said that it is important for individuals or a couple to know what exactly they want to do in their unit to help them to decide which home items they will need to invest in.

For example, if you want to entertain people, you have to invest in a nice living room with comfortable seating, a cooking and dining table.

On the other hand, if you just want to have a good night’s sleep after a long day at work, it is vital to spend on a nice bed.

“You spend one-third of your time at home in bed. Always invest in a good bed. An expensive mattress will last you long term, up to 10 years, but a cheap mattress could only last for three years,” he said.

A bed, a sofa, dining table, and storage items are among the basic items that Castañeda recommends for condo living.

He said it would also be a big help if these items are multi-functional in order to maximize space. A sofa bed in the living room that can also be converted into a sleeping bed, for example, would be useful especially if you have friends coming over.

SM Home recently held its “SM Home Design Series: The Essentials of Condo Living” at SM City Cebu last February 24 to March 8.

Among the highlights of the event was an exhibit showing how four Cebuano interior designers transformed small spaces from a living room, bedroom, dining room, and kitchen into cozy living spaces using products from SM Home.


During the event, the four designers, namely Maybelline Te, Hannah Lim, Janet Lo-Lee, and Kate Ngo also had talks where they shared their design inspirations as well as tips for new condo owners to do with their spaces.

“These days, it’s common to see condos diminish in size. They’re getting tinier and tinier. And as developers offer less space, homeowners have to figure out how to best maximize their spaces, how they can avoid sacrificing some of their needs without feeling cooped up,”Castañeda said.

“Since small condos demand creativity when it comes to optimizing space, SM Home has turned to design experts to help highlight ways people can do that in their own homes through a series of condo-like setups, as well as expert-led talks,” he added.

During one of the talks, the four designers were asked what is the most essential piece they have to consider in a condo when space is tight.
Te said lighting is important. A good warm light or a statement light would make your space cozy.

Lim, for her part, said a full length mirror is something that should not be missed out.

On the other hand, Lee said storage items like ottomans or sofas that have space for storage inside, or bookshelves that can accommodate items while also acting as a wall to divide spaces would be good.

Meanwhile, Ngo said it is also important for any home to have one accent piece.

“The past few years, most clients already have ideas on what they want. They have Pinterest boards, they buy magazines, and subscribe to blogs. It is helpful in narrowing down plans. They just come to designers to help them put it together and make something,” Te said.

Tight space

During the exhibit, each of the designers were given a space of only 8 feet by 8 feet for each of their assigned areas.

For Te, who was assigned the living room, the most noticeable pieces are a blue tufted sofa bed which sites on top of a hot pink, hairy rug. There are also two differently-leveled coffee tables placed side by side and the use of muted pinks and yellows for the walls.

For the bedroom, Lim designed it to be that of a couple who loves adventure. It has punches of pink and green items with a painting of leaves just above the bed’s headboard. Rustic wood elements can also be seen in the room.

Meanwhile, the kitchen designed by Lee was inspired by a “Scandinavian chic condo kitchen.”

Lee said she used dark colors for the kitchen since dark colors tend to make a room look bigger.

Wooden shelves were also used in the kitchen instead of cabinets with doors to conserve space.

For her part, Ngo’s dining area also used a Scandinavian-inspired dining set, complementing the kitchen.

She said dining areas are usually underrated spaces at home, but it is important especially since meals are part of daily needs.
It is also a space where you can gather with friends or family.

With a small space, Ngo said using stools that are stackable and can be used for extra seating as well as for putting food trays on to declutter tables is also good.

The dining room also had real plants in it.

“I grew up with a mom who really loves plants. Even my room was filled with plants. Even in constricted places, it adds this feeling of airiness, breathability, and warmth,” Ngo said.

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