Before embarking on any project, it is always important to think about the space and the role that you want it to play. What do you want and need from that space; stand back and have a good look. It may be that the space would benefit from removing a wall and combining two smaller rooms into a larger room; or it may simply be a case of creating more light by removing heavy curtains and blinds.
Of course, the larger budget ideas involving structural work are best left to the professionals. However, if you simply want to create the illusion of more space, and create a more workable environment for you or your family, then follow these ‘top 10 tips’ on how to do so on a budget.
- Consider exactly want you want the space to be for – it is for entertaining, working or sleeping? It sounds obvious, but all good designs are planned around lifestyle. If an area is to be used for more than one purpose, choose furniture that has a dual function such as a sofa bed.
- Few of us have the luxury of a different room for each function. Instead, zoning off different areas within one room will make the space work much harder. For example, create a home office by adding a desk in the corner of a living room. Try to use furniture that isn’t typically ‘office like’ so that this area blends in with the rest of the room.
- Use partitions wherever possible. These don’t need to be tall shelving units; if it’s a smaller room, use rugs to outline various zones or a selection of plants to section off different areas.
- Maximise the light in your space. Dress windows to allow as much natural light in as possible. This may mean removing heavy curtains and replacing them with blinds that can be pulled up when not in use. As well as this, add artificial light such as lamps to maximise the space at all times, whether it be day or night.
- Try and keep the amount of furniture to a minimum. Choose pieces that are low level without intrusive large arms; such as chaise sofas and ottomans. Maximise your storage with key pieces of functional furniture that will allow you hide as much clutter as possible. For extra storage, build in furniture wherever you have unusable space, such as a nook under the stairs.
- Add shelving to your scheme to create extra storage. With eclecticism being so on trend, it is a great time to create visually pleasing displays which will also add interest to your design scheme. It may simply be your collection of recipe books or your favourite magazines.
- Analyse the good and bad points of the room. Try and hide any ugly features; such as the radiators. Most importantly, try to highlight the main focal points of the room; such as a beautiful fireplace or perhaps the French windows. A striking wallpaper on a chimney breast will instantly create a focal point in a room, and this will automatically pull your eye away from anything unsightly.
- Try to use neutral, cool and calm colours on the walls in small spaces. To avoid the room lacking personality or interest, add colour and pattern with accessories such as cushions and rugs, rather than on the walls.
- Mirrors are the best way of adding natural light to any space. As well as multiplying the light, they are a super stylish way of breathing interest and glamour into any room. Mirrored furniture is an ideal choice as it brings light into a room whilst being functional at the same time.
- Declutter! This is the best piece of advice that I can possibly give. Too much clutter decreases space; both physically and visually. Have a big spring clean and throw away anything that you don’t want or you don’t need.