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

25 Beautiful Homes - - ARTISAN COTTAGE -

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.

Think twice

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.

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