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Tips and Guides

7 Designer Secrets of Beautiful Model Units

Click through our gallery of stylish designer condo units and learn how to achieve these looks in your own home

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Photography: Michael Angelo Chua (Maven) & Erwin T. Lim (Avida Riala)

 If you’ve ever stepped into the model unit of a high-end condo development and oohed and ahhed at its magnificent interiors, beautiful furniture, and moody lighting, only to find out you can’t duplicate the style you buy your own home, don’t lose hope. We reveal here three noted designers’ tricks and tips on copping the luxe look at home.

1. Layer pieces in the living room.



High-end model units seem impeccable, but lived in—like the owner’s personality has taken over the space. “Take your time and buy the things that really speak to you,” says designer Maybelline Te of General Bleu, who created this luxe living room in the model unit of Avida Riala Cebu. “Coffee table books, a candle or two—all these can be layered, and could work together as long as these complement the room and the personality of the owner.”

Aside from layering, try to use top-notch materials in your main living areas. “High-end does not necessarily mean expensive, but more often than not, high-end materials carry a hefty price tag because the material is more durable than your typical choices at a depot,” explains interior designer Paolo Lopez of Ed Calma and Partners.  

2. Always add art.



Alice Erfe, the designer behind the model units of Rockwell Land’s The Grove, says that one of the easiest ways to spruce up your wall without doing any major repainting is to add big art pieces. These will become a focal point on an otherwise drab wall, and will add character and color to the space.

Here in the model unit of Shang Salcedo Place, Hong Kong-based interior designer Alex Ho adds large-scale art to a living room decked in a sophisticated palette of navy, camel, heather gray, and brass.

3. Lighting should be warm and flattering.



Lighting plays a crucial role when it comes to design as “it can make or break the look you’re trying to achieve,” Paolo says. “High-end lighting is a unique addition to the space. It sets the mood of the room, hence if you want high-end feel, you need to get good lights.” In the Grove showroom, indirect lighting sources from pendant and table lamps add a sophisticated, flattering ambience to the rooms.

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4. Make the kitchen top-notch.



“The kitchen trifecta—refrigerator, cooktop and sink—should be situated properly,” advises Maybelline. “Invest in reliable and beautiful cookware since these can be displayed when not in use and subtly ups the style factor.” Here in the Shang Salcedo showroom, a luxurious marble backsplash and countertop paired with high-quality modular cabinets create a small but stylishly efficient kitchen.

5. Personalize your dining table, even when it’s not in use.



In most model units—as seen here in the Maven show unit by Heim Interiors—the dining table is perpetually dressed up, which could be a nice thing to come home to, even if you’re not expecting any guests. “Add color and pattern with table linens and accessories such as napkin rings, salt and pepper cellars, and fresh flowers or a bowl of fresh fruit,” advises Maybelline.

6. Invest in good-quality, comfortable bedding.



The master bedroom in this Avida Riala model unit designed by Maybelline looks so cozy and ready to be slept in. “Invest in good basic bedding and play with the pillowcases,” she says. “Other key essentials are ambient lighting, a lounge chair or reading chair, a tray for your water pitcher with glasses and coasters, decorative storage, artwork and maybe a bed bench if there is room.” 

7. Luxe up the bathroom.


In spite of the small size of this Maven bathroom, Heim Interiors added a glam touch to the space by way of artwork, a brass side table, and a coat of dainty Rose Quartz paint.

Maybelline highly recommends dressing up the smallest room in the house: “Splurge on some luxurious toiletries and scents, like candles or fragrance sticks. Rotate bathroom accessories to keep it fresh. Monogrammed and thick cotton towels always look and feel good. Add a succulent or two for some greens since these are low maintenance.”

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