7 Ways To Make Your Condo Look Expensive

If you love the luxe-glam look but your home lacks the floor area, here are the must-have pieces to achieve the style

Photography: Ocs Alvarez & Paolo Feliciano

The classic dilemma: you love luxurious, glamorous interiors, but you live in a tiny condo unit. Most decorators would advise you to go the modern-contemporary route, but what will you do if modern just isn’t your style? You can still create a luxe look in a small space by playing with textures and materials, and by adding key pieces with a lush and rich feel. Here are some tips:

1. Switch to crystal

For smaller spaces, transparency adds dimension and not clutter. An added plus is the reflective quality of fine crystal plays with the flow of natural light. Try this trick: set your crystal collection against a mirrored surface to visually “multiply” the pieces.

Crystal Decanters, P4,000 to P6,000; “A Peace Message” Crystal Vessel, price available upon request, Salcedo Auctions

2. Add mirrors in pairs (or groups)

Speaking of mirrors, adding them is the most effective trick in giving the illusion of having a bigger space. Chic, ornate frames add texture and flair. Try this trick: Hang mirrors in odd-numbered groups and at different heights on an accent wall.

Pre-war Baroque Mirrors, P15,000 to P17,000, Salcedo Auctions

3. Install a chandelier

Add detail to your ceiling by investing in a chandelier. The intricate detail of this lighting fixture will instantly give your room a luxe touch, and when the light hits the crystal, it adds a bit of sparkle to the room. Try this trick: enhance the luxury of your chandelier by installing a rosette to the spot on the ceiling where you will hang the chandelier. You can get precast ceiling rosettes at Wilcon Depot.

Murano Crystal Chandelier, P20,000 to P22,000, Salcedo Auctions.

4. Create tiny but rich vignettes

The key to a luxurious-looking space is adding well-edited layers of decoration. You can achieve this by creating tiny vignettes of different decorative accessories on your foyer console, coffee table, or night table. Head for these shops: Blue Carreon Home, Moss Manila, and AC+632 all carry small, interesting, but luxe-looking objects like trays, semi-precious-stone accessories, and glass objects. On a budget? Empty perfume bottles and glass diffuser bottles are lovely, too!

5. Go for multi-tasking heirloom pieces

A large chest or baul in rich wood can work both as a bench or coffee table to store bulky items you don’t need to display around the house.  Try this trick: a large, square or round upholstered ottoman makes a luxurious center table. It can also double as extra seating when you have guests over.


Large Chest, P22,000 to P24,000, Salcedo Auctions

6. Use luxurious-looking materials

If you can’t afford expensive European furniture, cop the look by using luxurious-looking upholstery and finishes. A metallic finish on accessories and furniture can work (if you’re not too keen on gold, try a “younger” rose gold), as well as soft velvet upholstery for your furniture. Get it: These gold center tables and velvet-upholstered couch are from Harver Hill. (To see more of this condo by Empire Designs, click here.)

7. Invest in art

Populate your walls with stimulating art pieces that also serve as conversation starters.  Art increases in value, and if you’re up for collecting, you can choose smaller works by the artists you love. Try this trick: If you’re apprehensive about high price tags, limited-edition prints are good alternatives to start on your collection.

Untitled Print by Juvenal Sanso, P16,000 to P18,000, Untitled Musicians Print by J. Elizalde Navarro, P14,000 to P16,000, Salcedo Auctions

Check out these pieces at Salcedo Auctions’ The Collectors’ Sale, which will feature over 300 lots of modern and contemporary art, jewelry, furniture, décor, prints, and maps. For inquiries, email info[at], or call (02) 659-4094, 823-0956, mobile 0917-894-6550.

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