Small spaces, big style: Alyssa Beltempo’s tips for condo living

Small spaces, big style: Alyssa Beltempo’s tips for condo living

With vertical residences on the rise in Ottawa, more people are getting used to the idea of living with less. But before dreaming of a worry-free urban existence, where shovelling the driveway and daily maintenance is a thing of the past, thoughts of a dreaded purge loom large.

In a city where the seasons are so distinct they warrant wardrobe accoutrements for both subtropical and subarctic conditions (sometimes within the same month!), a purge doesn’t just seem intimidating — it can seem foolish.

Alyssa Beltempo, a fashion blogger who focuses on fashion from a sustainable point of view, recently moved from a 1,200 square-foot townhouse to a ByWard Market condo half that size. We asked her for tips to making the shift to small-space living less daunting.

Because whether you’re buying or renting, going overboard on a Mary Kondo-esque purging mission is not the only solution. You can keep your shoe-collection and wear it too.

Here, Alyssa offers 6 solutions for maximizing space while keeping your love for style intact.

Seasonal Rotation

Your giant winter puffer takes up a lot of valuable closet real estate. Make the most use of your storage unit by installing a rack to hang your winter gear during warmer months. Don’t have a storage unit? Sealed bins under the bed is a great alternative.

Sneaky Storage

Before buying any new furniture for your small space, ask yourself if it can do double duty. Specifically: storage duty. Think chests that also make great coffee tables, or a bed with integrated compartments underneath. Baskets nestled in open shelving nooks keep small accessories like belts and ties concealed but easily within reach.


Decorate with Fashion

It’s not a new concept; since designer duds and special wardrobe items are like art — why not display them? I love seeing how the folks at Coveteur display accessories in fun ways that fit seamlessly into home decor. Easy-to-install wall hooks are also a great way to display beautiful scarves and necklaces. Shoes as bookends, anyone?

Think Vertical

Save precious floor space by getting the most out of built-ins. Not only will this keep your small zone looking more zen and clutter free (banish those jumbled wires from entertainment units to high, out of the way shelves), but you’ll now be able to use that space for a neat row of your go-to footwear or a crowd-pleasing bar cart.


Embrace Your Basics  

Much like furniture that does double duty, investing in versatile basics can yield a lean wardrobe that is still ultra satisfying. Instead of going shopping for every new occasion, your basics will save the day with a small tweak of accessories — save your wallet and some space!

Shop With a List  

Better than a grocery list, keep a running list of the clothing gaps in your wardrobe and follow it faithfully when shopping. A shopping list keeps costly impulse purchases in check and stops you from coming home with new clothes only to realize you already have five versions of the exact same thing.