Decorating a condo requires a completely different mind set and approach from one you might take in decorating a 3,500 square foot home. From my experience in walking through hundreds of condo apartments, I would point out the most offensive decorating sins as follows.
Decorating Sin 1: Over-sized Furniture in a Small Space
There are certain realities that come with decorating a condo, and the biggest one is of course space. Or more specifically, maximizing small space. That dining table for six may have been perfect at your mom's place, but in a 750 square foot condo you might be pushing your luck. Look for condo size dining tables that are designed to convert and extend as your needs arise. As for chairs, look for those that are not too tall so that they don't obscure the view of your apartment.If the dining room table comes with a matching hutch, resist the temptation and leave it in the store. It would just overwhelm everything else in your living/ dining room.
Decorating Sin 2: Living Rooms that Look Like Yard Sales
There is a popular trend today in mixing new purchases with yard sale or vintage finds for that personal, eclectic touch. However, in a small space this look can appear cluttered and chaotic. In typical condo layouts you can see much of the space at the same time, so you want things to flow and have a sense of unity. Here, restraint is key: try to stay with one look and avoid jarring changes of style.
Decorating Sin 3: Bad Lighting
A problem I run into in a lot of condo apartments is insufficient lighting -- even in new buildings! Rather than buying additional floor or table lamps, which take up more of your precious space, invest a modest amount into fixed ceiling and wall light fixtures. They are more convenient to switch on and off and they light your apartment more completely and uniformly. Make sure that before you call your trusted electrician, to get a permission from your condo board to make these changes.
Decorating Sin 4: Neglected Windows
An impressive feature in many condo units are gorgeous, expansive windows, often boasting great views! However, because of their size, if left without a window covering, they might look unfinished and bare. Consider adding some type of drapes - they add warmth and colour to the space.
Decorating Sin 5: No Personality
Regardless of which decorating approach you take, do not shy away from injecting into the mix your personality. Because of mass production, there are dozens and often hundreds of suites in a condominium building which all look similar if not the same. They can be cold, white impersonal boxes. So don't hesitate and show your personality in your decorating style. You can certainly do that with your choice of furniture, lighting, window coverings. However, if you are on a budget and expensive purchases are out of the question for the moment, resort to one of the most personal, effective and economical decorating tools available - painting. A tasteful paint job can do the trick of showing off your personality - quickly and inexpensively.