Whether you’ve recently moved into your first house or you have been living there for a few years and feel it needs a little renovating, there are a number of ways in which you can improve the space around your home to make it feel larger. With property prices still on the rise, it is becoming harder and harder to buy a decent sized home, so a lot of the time you will have to make the best of the space you have. However do not despair! Both the construction and the technology industries are constantly working to provide you with innovative and space saving solutions for in and around the home.
In order to meet the demands for more space efficient furniture along with the rise of urban property sales, design companies strive to create furniture that will both maximise the space you have and provide function that will make day to day living easier. However these designs are often quite expensive, so it is good to have a basic idea of how to make your house or flat appear larger, while still making the best use of the space available.
The Effects of Colour
Although there may be certain colour schemes we prefer, the truth of the matter is that certain colours work to benefit the space of a room and others only serve to make that room appear smaller. In general light, open colours will enhance the space of a room, giving it a more open feel, whereas darker colours give more of an enclosed feel.
This can be worked to your advantage however, for rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, where space is an issue, light, open colours combined with a variety of other aspects and accessories can really help to open up the space and make the room appear larger. Plus lighter colours provide a more welcoming atmosphere if you happen to have guests over regularly.
If you are looking for a more homely approach, darker, richer colours can draw the visitor in, for example a deep red can be great for a living room or bedroom, as it emphasises the available space. Painting walls black is generally not great when it comes to making your house look bigger, although black wardrobes and units provide a regal look and can add a sense of decorum to a dining room or study.
Choosing the Right Furniture
Furniture can make or break a renovation, and although you may be tempted to simply scrap your old furniture for some newer looking sets, sometimes renovating and refurbishing old furniture can add a real rustic touch to your home, plus it helps encourage recycling and can be far less expensive!
Most of the time all old furniture needs is a new coat of paint, a little bit of varnish, and perhaps a cushion or two, or even a blanket that can be thrown over the sofa or chairs for an instant refurbishment!
When it comes to space, it is important to be aware of how much you have. There is no point in getting a 3 seater sofa if it is going to take up the entirety of your living room. Sometimes a simple 2 person love seat and a couple of bean bags can fill out the space nicely without it looking overcrowded.
It is also important to match your furniture, if only for your ‘Zen’ loving relatives. It’s great to go around old car boot sales scavenging bits and pieces of furniture for your home, but make an effort to give them a single ‘theme’ so to speak. If you have too many pieces of furniture with conflicting colour schemes, it can minimise the space and make it look crowded, whereas if you try to harmonise your furniture – even if it is something as small as keeping the same two or three colours – your house will look more spacious and less crowded, even though you have furniture up to your ears!
Windows, Glass and Mirrors
Mirrors really help to add the illusion of having more space in a room. Placing mirrors opposite a window can really help as it reflects the light, giving the appearance of a bigger room. Larger mirrors are better to use as although they take up more space, they give the illusion of more space and reflect more light, opening up the room. You can also use mirrors to good effect when wanting to disguise a boring or irritating view by reflecting a more pleasant view that you might not normally be able to see.
Large windows are a great way to improve the use of space in your home. Larger windows provide the room with more light making it more open and a more welcoming space. Large windows are particularly effective if your home has a nice view to look out on, as the view can add to the sense of space within the home as well.
If you are worried about privacy, why not install some pastel coloured blinds or window shutters to increase privacy? The minimalistic design of the shutters will work effectively in small rooms as they don’t attract attention and take up far less space than bulky or extravagant curtains.
Glass coffee tables and dining room tables can give the appearance of an open space and come in a variety of sizes so no matter how small your space you can find a coffee or an end table that will fit with the tone of your house. Glass shelving or frosted glass shelving is also good to give the appearance of an open space, as it uses up wall space but does not seem to impose on the rest of the room.
Whether your house is cramped full of stuff or your flat is just a little on the small side, there are countless ideas and ways to create the illusion of having more space in your home as well as making the most of the space you do have. Plus with newer, innovative ways to use old furniture, there are always tips and hints on how to best use your space and make the rooms appear more open and welcoming!
Caroline Smythson is an interior designer specialising in curtains and soft furnishings and period houses. She writes about some of her projects for The Window Shutter Company, specialists in luxurious bespoke interior window shutters for your home.