Real estate media of late has been extolling the joys of living in small spaces, convenient given that the bulk of its advertisers are builders fitting buyers into smaller and smaller spaces. However I respectfully disagree: size does matter.
You see, space equals luxury, not granite counters or stainless steel appliances. While 500sqft can be a perfectly liveable abode, notice how the truly rich and famous opt to live in large, expansive spaces, the more the better, even in cities like New York and Tokyo.
For those of us who don't have that option, urban living can still be comfortable, even in a small space, but serious consideration should be given to at least the following:
1. Useable space: never mind square footage, good design trumps numbers when evaluating small spaces. 635sqft may seem reasonable on paper, but not when 80sqft is taken up by a long, narrow corridor—
And beware some builders’ penchant for including the balcony as part of overall square footage. This may work in a sales centre, but for resale purposes your condo is only as big as your indoor space.)
Obviously, the definition of useable space depends on one’s lifestyle; if your idea of entertainment is making beef bourguignon for 3 friends then a decent sized kitchen and space to seat 4 will be a priority. Those of you who define cooking as making espresso can make do with a breakfast bar or kitchen island.
2. Storage space: Carrie Bradshaw isn’t the only one in need of decent closet space, particularly in the foyer (and let's not forget the foyer as some builders have been doing.) The vacuum, cleaning products, linens, extra towels, extra pillows, winter clothing, hiking boots and tennis rackets all need a place in your home. Yes, most condos offer a storage locker, but wandering around the bowels of your building is probably not going to inspire you to book a game of doubles.
3. The Bedroom: The dimensions in most newer construction are laughable if the idea is to fit a queen bed, dresser and 2 night tables so measure this area carefully. Irregular jogs in the layout (usually due to HVAC pipes) and insufficient clearance below the window may find you with the head of your bed up against a window, an awkward proposition for many—
4. The Den: What started out as a windowless room spacious enough to be a guest room or home office is becoming smaller with every new condo project. For those of you who use a laptop and have a flat screen TV, the den may just be an awkward waste of space that does nothing but inflate the overall square footage of your condo. If you can’t immediately think of 3 good uses for your den then take a pass, or see if it can’t be converted into additonal closet space, something you can't get enough of in most newer condos...