Making the Most of a compact home
Tight on space and want to maximise it? Use expert tricks to make the most of every metre Expand the space
You may be short on square footage, but that doesn’t mean compromising on style, as Julie and Julian have proved in their two-bedroom cottage. They have created a light-filled space that is full of character by employing some clever visual tricks.
First, assess what you have to work with. For a warren of small, cramped rooms, this could mean structural changes such as removing walls to open up the space and let more light in. Architects are trained to see potential that you may not otherwise spot, so consider consulting one if you need some expert help. Ask for recommendations, or search on the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) website. Start with the backdrop to maximise light and space. Stick to pale, neutral hues throughout. Feature walls picked out in bolder hues are an option, but need careful thought to make sure they enhance the room’s dimensions. A long, narrow room can benefit from an end wall in a darker shade to create the illusion of a wider space. Lay the same flooring throughout, and remove doors (or swap for pocket or concertina models) to make the area feel larger.
Choose furniture with simple shapes and invest in pieces with more than one function. An ottoman can double as seating and a coffee table, and look out for sofas and beds with hidden storage. Avoid bulky items in favour of pieces on legs – the space beneath creates a feeling of lightness. Go for a fold-out table to create a dining area that can be packed away if needed. Keep on top of clutter, and be clever with storage, using stud walls to create niche shelves or slim cupboards. Consider a wall of built-in floor-to-ceiling cupboards to keep clutter hidden – frosted glass or mirrored doors will reflect the light to visually expand the space.