INTERIORS

DESIGN TRICKS: YOU MIGHT HAVE MORE HOUSE THAN YOU THINK

Make the most of the space you have.

December 2, 2019

How interior designers give under-utilised square meterage a makeover—ingeniously finding space for a home office, a bar and more if you live in a shoebox 

Some people have expansive interiors with skate-boardable hallways and bookshelves devoted entirely to objects. Most folk, however, need to exploit every bit of real estate in their living quarters, something which interior designers excel.

If you live in a shoebox, ban the word small. Call it compact.

MAKE THE MOST OF THE SPACE YOU HAVE

Well-designed spaces can feel spacious and ignite admiration for their intimacy and efficiency. Install shelving in hallways to stow books and files. Sliding doors save space, hide clutter and give texture to a bland wal. Be imaginative and make spaces work double-time: a desk can be a wide ledge at the bottom of a book case, or even a section of kitchen benchtop. Use bits of blank wall space for decorative but practical shelving. Make every space metre work for you.

TRANSFORM DEAD ZONES

Look around your house and transform the dead spaces for yourself, your children, even your pets. Here are some suggestions to turn problematic spaces into much-needed nurseries, convenient bars, home offices and more.

UNDER THE WINDOW

In inner-city apartments, look for prime territory below windows—where you might put furniture—but that can be used to create a place for your laptop and work while gazing out at nature. Turn that unused entry which was a back door to the main entrance, demoting the little front-door entrance to a pass-through.

Imagination, a beautiful rug, table and light will renovate the space.

USE YOUR IMAGINATION

Use every opportunity that presents itself to create walk-in storage. If you have plenty of wardrobe space in your own bedroom, and don’t require the wardrobe in an adjacent room – that room can be opened up to become a nursery.

BUILT-IN BARS

Turn that useless space under the stairs into a built-in bar of cabinetry. The area might prevent you from wiring it for lighting, but you can keep it light with a glamorous mirrored splashback.

TOP TIP FOR A HOME OFFICE

Need a desk? If the bedroom is the most viable location, and the only spot is an area under the windows. Put a ledge across the window mouldings– then all you need is a chair. A bay window invites a window seat. Call in a carpenter to do the full job, complete with storage cupboards underneath or put a bench there with a few cushions.

LIGHT AND AIRY

Glaze the roof of a room extension so that it becomes light-filled but still separate. Bag the best view and make sure everyone knows it’s your chair.

OPEN SHELVES

An alcove that’s difficult to reach doesn’t have to stand empty. Call in a joiner to create shelving for those beautiful old hats or your collection of African masks.

IDEAL READING SPOT

A stairway landing makes an ideal reading spot. All you need is a squashy chair and a low table stacked with books and magazines. And if there’s enough headroom under the stairs, turn it into a private nook for private telephone calls, away from flapping ears and wagging tongues.

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