Suburban empty-nester? Maybe apartment living is for you!


There is a lot to be said for apartment living. The two major reasons Australians choose an apartment is to streamline finances in retirement and/or have found themselves single for a variety of reasons.

While in Europe, apartment living in cities is the norm not only for retirees and couples but also for families. Some families want to be closer to what city life has to offer, but have no option other than apartment style living due to the unaffordable housing costs in the CBD.

According to Sydney Morning Herald writer, Chris Johnson, Sydney leads the way on high-density. He says this is happening because the city is reaching the limits of its horizontal spread as the distant suburbs reach the ring of national parks that contain the Sydney basin. The city can't keep spreading as this forces longer and longer travel times, yet our population continues to increase.

The obvious solution to housing this increasing population, he says, is to increase densities where people want to live and this is generally around railway stations and close to work opportunities. House prices also tell us that more and more people want to live in the Inner West and areas close to the Sydney CBD, which is urban and cosmopolitan apartment living are at its greatest. (see:

Before you take the plunge into apartment living, it’s a good idea to create a “Pros and Cons” list. Here are some ideas…

Possible Pro’s

  • Central location - you can walk to our beautiful beaches, enjoy the many new bars and cafes popping up in unexpected places. Leave the car at home. 

  • Economical - swap the large electricity and gas bill for a smaller one. Save on fuel and get fit at the same time. Lose that last bit of your mortgage. Insurance policies will also be cheaper, check what is covered within the body corporate fees and charges – you should only have contents as an extra to insure.

  • Security - live in a secured environment. 

  • Simplified lifestyle – eliminate the unnecessary. De-cluttering also has a positive impact.

  • Redecorate how you want. This can be a very exciting time.

  • Amenities - Swimming pool, gym or common BBQ area. 

  • No maintenance - let the body corporate take care of these issues.

Possible Con’s

  • Body corporate charges and rules - always make sure they are well understood and factored into your financial plan.

  • Limitations of common property - check out rules governing the common areas. Amenities are all shared areas. (Are you OK with that?)

  • The proximity of your parking space to your front door - is your weekly grocery shop going to be more trouble than it is worth. Ease of access will make life less of a hassle. Visitor parking is also important if you have family who regularly stay, or maybe of less importance if you want your own space!

  • Privacy and noise - consider the closeness to your neighbours and look at the possibility of hearing others and them hearing you.

  • Smaller living space - are you ready to downsize?

  • No clothes line - a lot of apartments have restrictions on hanging your washing on balconies, you would need to use a clothes horse or a dryer.

Trading your family home for an apartment is a big decision, and it isn’t for everyone. So, do yourself a favour and research fully, before you take that next step.

Tips on Styling Apartments.


  1. When ordering furniture always check that it is possible to be delivered easily. Have your lift measurements handy so you can make sure it will fit.

  2. Swap bulky bookcases for wall mounted shelving using the same colour as the walls and take them as high as you can. Vertical storage solutions are better.

  3. Round furniture such as a dining table and coffee table create a sense of flow when moving around the apartment. You could also use a round ottoman with a lid to replace the coffee table (and provide storage).

  4. Use large mirrors and large rugs to help create a feeling of space and buy furniture with a dual purpose where possible.

  5. Place a wide ledge at a window to serve as a desk and use a chair that is also an occasional piece for extra seating.

  6. The scale of furniture is important. Not everything needs to be tiny - you can find a balance and have a larger sofa and make it the focus point of the room. Just don’t over clutter with small pieces.

  7. Lighter walls and floors do make a space look larger but can also be boring if you don’t layer the room with similarly toned colours and different textures… this will help to create a depth that is needed to finish off your look.

  8. Ask an expert! Visit or take a trip to the store where the friendly staff are always happy to help.

Do you live in a city apartment and would like some styling assistance? This month the team at Insideout Newcastle are giving readers the opportunity to win one of 3 Free Consultations. Simply visit the GIVEAWAYS Page to enter. Entries close 31st May, 2016.

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