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Maximise the Sense of Space in Your Home

Tuesday, 23rd August 2011

From a design perspective, often one of the biggest challenges for apartment-dwellers is making their tiny home appear bigger and brighter. Low ceilings, narrow corridors and dark finishes are common features in many apartments, which can make an already space-starved home feel even smaller. But help is on the way.

Leading Australian interior designer and architect Brooke Aitken of Brooke Aitken Design shares her top 10 tips for maximising the sense of space in a small apartment.

  1. "Remember - light coloured spaces will make a room feel larger.  Shades of white might be thought of as boring or bland, but white walls are an instant space maker."  Another trick is to paint the ceiling bright white, which creates the illusion of height in a low-ceilinged home, and bounces light around the room.
  2. "Look for multi-functional furniture.  Think coffee tables that also have chest storage, beds with storage in the base or shelves built into the bedhead (check out Jardan's Leila bed at www.jardan.com.au)." Other dual purpose furniture styles to look out for include sofas with under-seat storage or shelves (see King Furniture, www.kingfurniture.com.au), shelves with a pull-down desk, or storage ottomans that double as seating or a coffee table.
  3. "Stash things away!  The more things that can be stored our of view in cupboards, the larger your home will feel.  Even putting doors on bookshelves is a space maker as it cuts down on the visual clutter in your home."  Great places to look for large storage include Fanuli Furniture (www.fanuli.com.au), Transforma (www.transforma.com.au) and Ikea (www.ikea.com.au).
  4. "If renovation is possible, consider a single, combined living, dining kitchen space, which maximize the sense of of space.  Subsume any corridor space into this living space." Obviously, you'll always need to consult your strata manager before making any structural changes to the home.
  5. "Mirrors are your best friend in a small home as they can visually double the appearance of a room.  I usually use mirrored splashbacks in the kitchen."  Alternatively, look for large mirrors that can be placed in a narrow living room or hallway (try Mostly Mirrors, www.mostlymirrors.com.au), mirrored bedroom wardrobes (check out Fanulia, www.fanuli. com.au), or mirrored furniture (Mirrored Furniture Online has a vast range - www.mirrored furnitureonline.com.au).
  6. "Scales is important.  The size of your furniture should match the scale of the apartment.  A huge sofa will look out of place in a small room, and will dominate the space."  Take your room measurements with you when you go shopping, and look for pieces that will fit in with the size of your home, and allow you room to move around comfortably.
  7. "Showing as much of the floor as possible will make your floor space appear larger.  Try to keep large pieces such as the sofa lifted off the floor, and choose rugs that match the colour of the floorboards or carpet."
  8. "Use uplighting rather than downlighting as it instantly lifts the ceiling space, making the room feel taller and airier than it actually is."
  9. "Full length curtains can also visually raise the height of the ceilings, making them a better choice than roman or roller blinds in a small home.  It's best to stick to light or sheer curtain fabrics in subtle patterns that won't distract from the rest of the interior."
  10. "Opt for freestanding wardrobe furniture over built ins.  It may not provide you with as much storage space, but it will allow you to see the ceiling and the wall behind, which will enhance the sense of space.

By

Georgia Madden

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