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How to Survive Living in a 17sqm Condo Unit

It's not as difficult as you think

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Photography: Jilson Tiu

Seeing condo units that measure 20sqm or less can be mind-blowing. Many of us instantly assume that it’s hard to live comfortably in such a tiny space, but many owners attest to the positive changes it can also bring. Aside from motivating them to edit their belongings and to choose furniture wisely, living in a small condo has enabled some of the homeowners we’ve met to focus on things that really matter and how they can create a home that fits their lifestyle.

We recently visited a 17sqm unit and we’re impressed with how interior designer Willie Garcia and the owner completed the space. Even with a tight budget, they were able to achieve a homey and functional home where the owners can relax and spend some downtime. If you’re having second thoughts about acquiring a compact unit, here are insights we learned from this space that might just help you make a decision:

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Maximize the window.

More often than not, small units only have one window as the only source of natural light in the space. To keep the vibe airy and welcoming, make the most of it by opting for sheer white curtains or light-colored blinds. These options can help you achieve privacy while still enabling light to stream into the space. Just like in this condo unit, the one big window can give you a fantastic view, too!

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Be a wise furniture shopper.

You already know you’ve got a limited floor area to work with so why look at photos of huge beds? Opting for a smaller one doesn’t mean you’re settling for less. Pick a lovely bed with a posh finish and secret storage compartments underneath. You get to sleep comfortably at night while having extra storage for your belongings. The same rule applies when shopping for a dining table—a round or extendable one can help you save on space.

Explore and visit well-loved shopping hubs.


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Aside from visiting your favorite home store, the mall, and your go-to hardware store, you may want to schedule a visit to famous shopping stops like Divisoria, Tutuban, and Dapitan Arcade to look for pieces you can add to your space. There are hidden gems waiting to be discovered in these places, you just need to have the patience to look for them. The owner of this unit scored sleek chairs and other charming décor pieces at affordable prices when she visited Tutuban.

Be smart when it comes to finalizing your storage options.


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In this unit, there’s only one huge wardrobe for clothes, bags, and shoes. One would think that it’s not enough, but if you only keep the items you use and discard what you no longer need, it will suffice. Organizers like bins, trays, and other essentials can be stored inside to keep smaller must-haves in place as well. Within the unit, there are also built-in cabinets and drawers to accommodate the owners’ belongings. Small space homeowners can also add knobs and rods on walls and behind doors to create instant storage.

Find your Zen spot.


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Given the limited space, find a corner or a nook where you can meditate, reflect on the day’s events, and spend some quiet time. You’ll be surprised how a few minutes spent on your own while admiring the sunset can make you feel calm and more relaxed. In this condo home, the space between the sleeping and dining areas which serves as the lounge area is the best spot to marvel at the view while enjoying a light merienda.

Click here to see more photos of this condo unit.

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