Every now and then, I hear a comment from someone who assumes that living in a condominium suite means sacrificing elbow room. Although suites are available in more compact square footages than low-rise homes, people’s attitudes toward this lifestyle choice are changing as designs achieve remarkable space usage.

Purchasers who move from large homes with separate rooms are welcoming today’s open-concept suite layouts. Spacious, bright main living areas combined with linear kitchens that eliminate walls create surroundings that live much larger than their size. These areas feel like great rooms, especially with natural light streaming in from large windows.

The question is, how much space do you really need? If you live in a low-rise home, take an honest look at whether you use all the rooms you have. Is there wasted space with large hallways? You will find no wasted space in today’s innovative, efficient condo designs. And remember, when you live in a condominium, the amenities are essentially extensions of your living space. You will not need an area for exercise equipment in your suite when you have a lovely large fitness centre right in the building. Party and games rooms offer great spots for entertaining, which means you don’t need a lot of seating and games tables in your immediate surroundings.

Consider the way you live, too. There is a trend toward informality in everyday life, and many people are just as happy eating dinner at a breakfast bar and watching television on their laptops. They pass up large dining and living room furniture for a couple comfy chairs, a loveseat and an ottoman.

The metamorphosis of the condominium over the past three decades has been fascinating. What was previously considered “small” in the way of a condo suite is often what today’s purchasers want, because it’s an affordable way to enter the new home market. The point is, when you shop for a suite, look at layout above square footage and ask yourself, “How much space do I really need?”