Our homes are getting smaller. According to researchers at Cambridge University, the UK’s new build homes are the smallest in Europe by far. Living rooms and kitchens are smaller by up to a third compared to homes built in the 1970s, and bedroom numbers have decreased. What does this all mean? Well, aside from moving to Denmark where they’re building the biggest homes, it means we need to find creative solutions to our spatial problems. Here are some suggestions.
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When floor space is at a premium, it’s time to look up. Consider floating corner shelves, shelves above door and window frames and extra tall bookcases or wardrobes to maximise every inch.
In cramped kid’s bedrooms, loft beds allow space underneath for desks, wardrobes or another bed. While in grown-up bedrooms, a bed on a raised platform creates great storage opportunities.
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Create the illusion of a bright and airy room simply by choosing the right paint colours and decorative accents. The trick is to bounce as much light around the room as possible because this will open the space up. You can do this by choosing light but bright paint colours, and decorating with mirrors, glass and metallic objects.
Light it Up
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Natural light makes any space feel bigger, so make sure your window coverings are pulled back during the day to let in as much light as possible. If you’re short on windows (as many small spaces typically are), ensure the room is well-lit with a variety of artificial light sources. Overhead lighting alone won’t be enough. You’ll want to think about lamps, task lighting and wall sconces to create the effect of a bright and open space. If you don’t know where to start, a designer can help you create a flattering lighting scheme for your home.
Learn to Edit
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In small spaces, it’s important that you learn to become quite ruthless when it comes to your belongings. Clutter can create a claustrophobic atmosphere, so you want to keep it to a minimum. This means getting rid of anything unnecessary. Don’t store items for the sake of it or “just in case”; if you haven’t used it in 12 months, it’s time to sell, donate or throw it away. If you still find yourself swamped in stuff, take a really critical look at everything again. If it doesn’t bring you joy, it goes.
When you think you’ve edited your space to perfection, take a step back for a week or two and then look again. You’ll likely find a few more items you don’t need, use, or particularly like.