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Creating space: Making the most out of smaller rooms

There’s no escaping it; real estate is getting expensive, houses are getting more compact and decorating is becoming more challenging. The good news, however, is that interior designers love a challenge. You need to simply look at modern furniture design to know how form and function are moulding themselves to serve our new needs. Furniture and décor are getting smarter; they are looking to achieve more through less. Just like you, it aims to multi-task.

The first step to decorating a smaller apartment is to look at maximising function in each room. That means, creating multiple coves in a room so it can serve more than one purpose. For example, in case of a living room look for a change in activity from day to night. It may be used as an office space or study area in the day, but double up as a lounging area that you use at night to entertain. Think of this dual function itself as equivalent to doubling your carpet area.

Visual weight

Appearances can be deceptive and we are happy to use this cliché to our advantage. It doesn’t matter how heavy the couch is; all that matters is how heavy it appears to be. Visual weight is an interesting concept that designers use when dealing with smaller spaces. Look for chairs where you can see the legs instead of block bottoms. Avoid heavily upholstered couches and opt instead for a love seat. A four-seated dining table can serve well as a study zone for the kids to congregate around as well. Glass coffee tables are a good addition because the transparency lends it a visual weightlessness.

Take a call keeping the shape of your room in mind. An L-shaped room lends itself willingly to be segregated for multiple uses. If getting rid of walls is a possibility, try to replace a wall with a floating counter. That way, you can construct a kitchen that doubles up as a bar counter. This could also work using a bookshelf that forms an artificial boundary in the living room. For the children’s room, look to create fluid play zones using partitions. A tent works well, for example, because it can always be folded and tucked into a loft when not needed. This ensures that your child has a space for individual play and an area to run about.

Tricking the eye

Designers often use mirrors to create the illusion of double the space than what you have to work with. Think about where you place the mirror. Opposite a window could widen the room and bring more of the natural outdoor goodness into the room. This will not only help with space, but also give an illusion of a room that can breathe. Alternately, you could choose to place a mirror on the entire surface of your wardrobe so that it enlarges the room and hides the storage unit.

Neutral colour schemes would work well to trick the eye as well. Light or white shades on the walls create an illusion that the wall is being pushed back; this makes it seem like you have more space.

Use vertical space

Storage is seen as ugly but functional. It takes up space but doesn’t contribute much to the aesthetic of the room. Modern designers disagree. After all, what is the point of something pretty if it doesn’t serve a purpose?

The expert advice is to stop worrying about floor space and start using wall space. A clever approach indeed! Think about ways in which you can conceal storage like with trunks that also work as stools, a window sit-out that pulls out as drawers, a wall hook for your bicycle or simple shelves that start above head level so you aren’t using up precious carpet area.

Another smart idea is to invest in aesthetically pleasing storage units that aren’t run-of-the mill. Hooks on a wall can be quirky idea to hang anything from your car keys to your bags. It all starts with a small room and some big ideas.

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