Space – the final frontier.
You don’t have to go all Star Trek to realise that when it comes to creating space, especially for storage but also for creating the sense that rooms are bigger than they really are, you need to work smart.
Anyone involved in designing homes and community facilities should always look at how the spaces are going to work. Too often, there aren’t enough places to store things, and your rooms can seem cramped and cluttered. Even if your home is not as big as you would like because you can’t afford a bigger one, you can make a lot more out of the space that you already have.
You want your home to be a comfortable place to live in, a place of sanctuary to come back to after a hard day at work, or simply an environment that is right for you if you work from home.
Play around with some of these ideas to make a real difference to the space in your home.
Match your materials
When you’re looking at increasing the sense of space in a bedroom, use bedding that matches your curtains, and match those colours with the walls. Try to get the materials to be quite neutral, though that doesn’t mean they have to be one plain colour. Some attractive lines on a duvet cover, for example, can match the curtains and be complemented by lightly coloured walls. A light wooden floor with deeply coloured rugs will make a design statement without detracting from the space that you have created.
It’s best to avoid busy patterns if you can because they can make a room feel cluttered. Store things that you don’t use every day in a drawer or cupboard – reducing clutter adds to the feeling of space in any room.
Look to your windows
Curtains can add a lot to rooms and look very attractive, but they can take up a lot of space when they are floor length. They block out window recesses when drawn, and when they are pulled back they have a lot of material that is bunched and takes up valuable space.
One way of increasing your sense of space is to install window shutters instead of having curtains. You can install wooden shutters on any size or shape of domestic window and can either install them yourself or get professionals in to do it. What’s ideal about shutters is the option to choose your material, colour and style – so if you want hardwood shutters, you’ll be able to find what you want.
Shutters not only look good but also do not take up space, simply covering your windows and adding clean, clear lines to your room. Added advantages are that you can have moveable louvres to allow you to let in as much or as little light as you want, and they give you an extra layer of insulation when fully closed during colder weather.
Make furniture double use
Furniture takes up space, but you can be clever in how you buy and use it. As an example, look at a drop leaf dining table; you can easily eat as a family when the table is at its full extent and it can then double as a desk.
As storage space is so often at a premium in smaller homes, have a sofa bed or an ottoman on coasters so that you can give yourself extra storage but bring them out easily for seating or a table when you need them. There are plenty of options for foldable furniture that will save on space when they are not required.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
You’ve probably been to a hotel room where the bathroom has a large mirror that gives the impression that the space is much larger than it actually is. You can use the same technique at home. Mirrors – large ones especially – really do give a sense of added space. A full-length mirror on a door can add depth to a bedroom or bathroom, and a larger one on a living room wall will help create the feeling that the room is much bigger than it is.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
All homes are different and require different solutions when you want to maximise the space that you have. The basic tenets are to declutter; use small nooks and crannies as your storage spaces; keep clean lines with windows, doors and furniture; and look to neutral colours with some vivid splashes to liven up your rooms.