When it comes to buying your first home, having too much space is not often on the list of potential decorating problems. Instead, many first-home buyers sit back and scratch their heads with the same problem: how am I going to fit it all in?
In truth, decorating for smaller spaces requires cleverer, thought-out solutions, and the wise use of every available metre. Here are a few ideas for your new little place.
Having an open-plan layout creates the impact of space, without actually having the square metres. If you’re going to refurbish anything in your new flat, consider melding together your kitchen, dining and living area to make an open, breathable space. Open-planned living is modern, lighter and more traffic-friendly: no more propping open kitchen doors while holding hot food on your way to the dinner table. While an open-plan layout does require refurbishment, they are of generally higher resale value, and a good investment. Speak to an interior designer to create a plan that suits your needs.
Here’s the real secret of effective small-space living: built-in storage. On top of being streamlined and design-wise, having adequate built-in storage will keep you organised which, in a small space is more important than any element of decor. Mount a full-wall shelving system in your bedroom instead of a chest of drawers, and you’ll have a whole wall’s worth of storage. Combine clothes and textiles with books and art to make it a one-stop shop, then add woven baskets to hide what you don’t want seen. More than anything, make your organising solutions intuitive: no matter how pretty or useful it may seem, if it’s not instinctive you won’t use it.
In your kitchen, consider revamping your cabinetry to enclose appliances and make it easier to find and use all your kitchen gear. Streamlining your kitchen will give you more countertop on which to cook, eat or do work. Think about modern solutions, like drawer- refrigerators and rubbish compactors. Again, most importantly in small-space living, is combining good organisation with intuition: no matter how well your spice cabinet is alphabetised, there’s little point if you can’t get to your most commonly used ones.
It’s a decorating cliché, but keeping things neutral and light is going to open up your space. Consider using texture instead of colour to add depth to your designs: think woven rugs on wood floors, plus a velvety couch with fuzzy pillows and a tapestry on the wall. Not only will it keep things bright and fresh, but if you choose an ivory-like warmer tone, it will make your space feel calmer
Give full consideration to your bathroom. A stuffy, cramped bathroom is no fun for anyone, and there are many minor refurbishments you can do to make the space seem larger and more liveable. Evaluate your fixtures: although you might be able to soak away the days in that tub, replacing it with a shower will free up around half the space, making a bit more room. And by making your bathroom a fully-tiled style “wet room”, you can be worry-free about splashing. Also, by using a glass panel instead of a shower curtain, you make the space lighter and more open.