Whether you have an apartment or house, living in a large urban centre such as London means it is very likely you have relatively small rooms. Below is a selection of the best solutions to make the most of your physical and visual space.
Choosing only what you need and scaling your furniture are very important when working with smaller spaces and are often forgotten. Make use of those neglected spaces, for example the space underneath the staircase, which can be used for extra shelves or drawers.
Bespoke furniture is an amazing way to optimise your space, built-in cabinetry offers a great solution when it comes to storing personal items. Urban apartments which are housed in industrial buildings tend to have high ceilings, to make use of this space, try going vertical, for instance, by using tall bookcases.
Placing mirrors in the dining area, living room or in the bedroom will make your room look bigger. Using mirrors is an interior design trick that works wonders, especially when placing mirrors across from a window, enabling them to receive and reflect more light.
You will all agree that light colours will make small spaces feel more open and spacious, but do not be afraid to add a little colour to the room. Pastels and neutrals are always safe choices to liven up your room but do try to stay away from big patterned wallpaper and dark colours; they will easily make a room feel closed in.
Open plan kitchens or a kitchen extensions can completely change the way your home looks and feel. Removing a wall to open up the kitchen and connecting it with the living room can give an amazing new spacious feel to your home and a kitchen extension is a fantastic way to increase your living space whilst adding value to your home.
To create space in your kitchen and dining area, you can add a breakfast bar to your kitchen or save drawer and cupboard space using other clever ways to storage your things. Think of a magnetic knife rack or a hanging pot rack above your kitchen island.
If your kitchen happens to be adjoining the garden, ideally the space will be able to open up to bring the outside in, with patio doors being a great option. With patio doors, you will make your kitchen look extended and larger than it was before. Another way to make your kitchen look more spacious is to use gloss units and reflecting surfaces in your kitchen interior design.
The bathroom is the place where you go to relax or rejuvenate yourself with a hot shower. You do not want your interior design making it feel like the walls are closing you in. For your privacy you will need at least one wall, but solid walls will make the room look smaller, whereas glass or frosted sliding doors will let in light, making your bathroom airy and open. Larger tiles will make a small space seem bigger, but surprisingly, so do very small tiles such as mosaics.
An absolute must in smaller bathrooms is good lighting. Having a loft bathroom would enable you to put in a big skylight, but if small windows are your only option, undress your windows and replace the glass with frosted panes. Have halogen spots installed; they mimic natural daylight and will instantly make your bathroom look larger.
Over the last thirty years or so, an interior design revolution has been sweeping the globe. Open-plan kitchens have become the new black of home design, at once fulfilling a desire for more space and uniting the two sacred family spheres of kitchen and living room. Indeed, according to a recent survey conducted by Houzz, only a third of homeowners considered increasing the size of their kitchens, but a whopping 77% intended to open them up to another room by knocking through a wall.
However, more recently, there has been a small backlash against the open plan system. Some feel that the idea is not without its drawbacks and that in fact, some of the very points listed as its advantages, actually detract from its appeal. So what’s the story? Here are some of the finer points of each side of the debate.
For Open-plan Kitchens
Entertaining others – Open-plan kitchens afford busy hosts the chance to put the finishing touches to their courses whilst still wowing their guests with amusing anecdotes and witty quips.
Parents of young children – Mums and Dads of young ones can now keep an eye on them when working in the kitchen to make sure they are not scrawling all over the walls or sticking their fingers into electrical sockets or other places they don’t belong.
Watching TV while cooking – You can now watch your favourite soap or sitcom whilst chopping parsley and prepping the salad.
Making smaller kitchens look larger – For those with space constraints, an open-plan kitchen can be the perfect solution in creating the illusion of spaciousness and alleviating a cramped or claustrophobic impression.
Against Open-plan Kitchens
Others can always see you entertain – With dinner parties, it is not always desirable to be in plain view of your guests. If disaster strikes in an open-plan kitchen and you drop a dish, everyone can see. Concealing mess, grabbing a breather or surprising guests with an unexpected addition to the menu is out of the question with an open-plan.
Your kids can see you, too – Which means no more surreptitious snacking or escaping their attention. Plus, they aren’t going to be young forever; and as they grow, you will probably find you naturally both need more time apart.
You don’t always want to watch or hear what’s on TV – Hate sports? Well forget about escaping into the kitchen to get away from the big game and the raucous revelry that normally accompanies it. The same applies with infuriatingly repetitive children’s programmes and teen shows.
Which Way Will You Go?
In the end, there are pros and cons to open-plan kitchens, which need to be considered when deciding whether or not to incorporate one into your home.
They can be great for those looking to expand a smaller kitchen and make it look more spacious, or for those more extroverted and comfortable constantly being in the presence of others. They are especially suited to couples who have no secrets from each other and can engender a shared sense of intimacy.
On the other hand, implementing an open-plan kitchen will drastically reduce the privacy in your home. An open-plan kitchen essentially means you have a kitchen with a blaring entertainment system in it, and a living room with a sink full of dirty dishes in it. As such, more introverted people may be happy with the traditionally closed kitchen.
Both approaches are not without merit, though you must decide which is right for you; taking into account your spatial, familial and personal circumstances.
Author: Rob Truslove, Owner of Pink Kitchen – the UK home of cute pink kitchen appliances and accessories.
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