Not too many decades ago, apartments were predominantly places where you lived if you couldn’t afford a house.
The design of these buildings tells the tale all-too-clearly. The boxy “block of flats” with its cheek-by-jowl apartments, thin walls, and dingy corridors filled with a cocktail of kitchen odors is still with us in many neighborhoods today.
But times have changed, and apartments designed with forethought and an eye for beauty and luxury are a popular choice among affluent families who certainly could afford a house if they really wanted to. There are many triggers for this change in attitudes towards apartment design, but there’s no denying that it represents a huge improvement.
Apartment living is no longer a depressing thing that you only do if you can’t afford “better,” and these days, many downtown Toronto apartments illustrate this to perfection. We explore the top changes we’ve recently seen in apartment design that are making central city lifestyles appealing in the 21st century.
1. Lots of Natural Light
The dingy, cramped apartments of yesteryear have given way to a feeling of airy spaciousness, and that’s partly due to the trend towards making the most of natural light. Big windows are, of course, the key, and some of the smartest apartments feature floor-to-ceiling windows that provide stunning city views as well as the bright natural light that’s a ubiquitous theme in modern architecture.
Many buildings also make use of the structure to partially shade the windows during the hottest times of the day, boosting energy efficiency by reducing air conditioning needs as well as the need for artificial light during the daylight hours.
2. Efficient Interior Layouts
Apartments are (mostly) smaller than houses, yet clever design can help them to feel as if they have ample space. The efficient use of available space is made possible with thoughtful additions like study nooks, and there’s plenty of storage space to help residents avoid clutter that will make their space seem cramped.
Top architects strive to create spaces in which every corner has a function without ever leaving residents to feel crowded. There’s room to move, but there’s also plenty of space to work, relax, or just kick back and rest up. By ensuring that every square meter of available space has a purpose (or at least, a potential one), good design helps us to fit everything into a more compact area without the need for claustrophobic, “make-do” furniture layouts.
3. High-Quality Materials, Finishes, and Fittings
From bathroom fittings to details like door handles and light fittings and from flooring to kitchen work-surfaces, the best modern apartments are designed with a discerning eye for quality. It’s not just a matter of what works or of making do with what’s there, good apartment design should convey a feeling of luxury and elegance. Durability matters too. After all, just about every part of an apartment is a high-traffic area. It’s going to see a lot of living, and it needs to stand the test of time while still looking good.
While an apartment can cost as much as, or more than, a modest house, it’s easier for buyers to get a sense of luxury living that’s still affordable and the choice of materials reinforces that impression.
Extras and More: Living in Modern Apartments is anything But Depressing
Apart from the design of the living spaces themselves, top apartments strive to create a sense of community and plenty of opportunities for outdoor relaxation. Gardens are likely to feature children’s play areas, and even play areas for pets. Many apartments offer barbeque facilities, pools, rooftop gardens, mini-theaters, gyms, coffee bars, and even guest suites that residents can rent when receiving visitors from out of town.
The aim is to offer residents more than they could ever have gotten out of owning an ordinary house without the hassle of having to develop and maintain leisure spaces. And the fact that facilities are shared gives residents a space to meet and greet, forming a meaningful community.
Apartment living has come a long way in the last decades, and design is at the heart of the changes we are seeing. Yes, there are still depressing apartment buildings out there – but most of them are as dated as they are dreary. Modern apartments that use good design principles are anything but depressing!
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