Tips for a New Home or Condo

Congratulations! You've found the perfect home or condo to purchase and you're just finalizing the purchase agreement. From this point on, important design and decorating considerations have to be made. Here are some that you may not have thought of:

Before you sign the purchase agreement

Here's your opportunity to negotiate for upgrades and design revisions with the builder. Hardwood flooring is an option that I highly recommend to my clients, especially in the living room and dining room, both for enjoyment and practicality. Regardless of how long you intend on living in your new home, hardwood floors add resale value when you do decide to sell.

Does the floor plan have walls that create rooms too small to be functional? Think about how each room will be used and determine whether spaces can be opened up or whether a doorway could be filled in so that furniture placement is simplified.

Ensuring that the appropriate amount of lighting is also important at this stage, especially for new condos where ceiling power boxes for lighting cannot be added post-construction. Adding pot lights in a house should also be considered at this time, especially in bathrooms, kitchens and rooms facing north or east. And don't forget the overhead light in the shower, an option with some builders that many purchasers overlook.

At the Design Centre

First of all, come prepared for this meeting. Look at decorating magazines and cut out photos of what you like for bathroom and kitchen cabinets, backsplashes, countertops, tiles. Do you prefer warm colours (brown, beige) or cool colours (black, grey)? I always recommend to my clients that they choose a neutral palette and add colour into each room with fabric, accessories, art and paint or wall coverings.

Before you move in

Now is the time to decide what pieces of furniture are going to your new home. For this exercise, you really need a furniture layout based on your floor plan. Knowing the placement of electrical wall panels and bulkheads is very helpful. If you're unable to sell any pieces that you decide don't belong in your new home, check out www.furniturebank.org – a non-profit organization that distributes gently used, donated furniture to persons in need in Toronto. Your furniture will be put to good use and you receive a tax receipt for your donation.

Window treatments should be considered for each room based on privacy concerns and room darkening requirements. If possible, arrange for a site visit prior to the move-in date in order to bring the window covering supplier in for measurements. That way, installation can take place shortly after you move in. Otherwise, temporary paper coverings are available at home improvement retailers until your window shades and/or drapery treatments are ready to install. This site visit is also an ideal time to take measurements for custom closet shelving if you've decided to have them installed professionally. Having the closet organizers installed after you've moved in, but before you have to unpack, will save you time and energy.

After you move in

Most builders' warranties for interior walls are nullified if they are painted before the first year anniversary is over. If that's the case for you, take the year to learn about your space - how the light shines on a certain wall at different times of the day for example - so that when you do decide to paint, you'll be able to better able to choose the right colours for your home.

The furniture is placed, the boxes are unpacked and your artwork is hung. Now you can add the final decorating touches, to transform your vision of how you want you home to look, into reality.

Article by: Tobi Brockway, accredited Interior Decorator and Principal of Tobi Brockway Interiors Inc. For design services, Tobi can be reached at 416-520-3760 or visit www.tbinteriors.ca for more information.

Article Author

Our home is a reflection of who we are. TOBI BROCKWAY INTERIORS, a full-service professional decorating firm, will work with you to achieve your style and your vision within your budget. Each project that we undertake is customized to your specific requirements – from colour consultation to kitchen and bathroom renovations and everything in between. Tobi Brockway, accredited interior decorator and member of CDECA, makes the process easy from initial consultation to the beautiful end result with her trademark enthusiasm and expertise.

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