Interior design gurus, Athina Bluff and Amy Brandhorst of Topology Interiors, have teamed up with home furnishings brand Habitat for a new small space living campaign to help you get the most out of your space.
Hang a mirror opposite a window. Whilst this is a simple hack, it’s extremely effective in terms of cost and visual impact. ‘The mirror will reflect natural light and instantly brighten up your space, as well as making the room appear more spacious,’ explains Topology Interiors. ‘If you’re feeling creative, play around with different shapes or multiples to reflect as much light as possible. More light equals more sense of space.’
When it comes to floors, create an unbroken flow of space. Topology’s top trick is to continue the hallway flooring into your small room. This will ‘make it appear as though it’s one big area and it also creates the illusion that the floor is expanding’.
Get the paint brushes out! The interior designers suggest painting walls, skirting boards and door frames all the same colour. But why? ‘Painting them different colours can actually break up the space and emphasise the shape and (small) size of the room,’ Topology explain. ‘If they’re all the same colour, they will blend in and make the room appear bigger.’
This is one for the brave, but don’t be afraid of going dark in small spaces.’ It may sound daunting but dark shades – navies, greys – can actually disguise the perimeters of a room, blurring boundaries which can make a room appear bigger than it is,’ say Bluff and Brandhorst. ‘So, don’t feel like you have to “Brilliant White” absolutely everything to achieve a sense of more space – trust us, it works.’
Go for multipurpose furniture that can be folded or expanded as and when you need them. ‘If there’s only two of you most evenings, opt for a folding table by weekday which can be turned into a four-person dining table by weekend,’ they suggest. ‘Same for when you invest in a sofa – check to see whether there is a sofa bed option which will turn the sitting room into a bedroom for guests to stay. And always think about storage – storage ottomans, pouffes, attractive looking trunks, coffee tables etc. If there’s a design that also hides clutter(the enemy of small spaces), then do it!’
When you’re considering furniture for a small living space opt for ‘weightless’ or transparent furniture. ‘The more you can see around the object (or through the object) the bigger the room will look as you’re allowing light to flow through the room and maximising the sense of space,’ explains Topology. ‘Glass furniture, sofas raised on legs, skinny framed shelving – these will all help.’
Maximise light at night with multiple light sources. Topology says you should ‘aim to have around six light sources around the room which will “replace” natural daylight and flow through the space, as well as being reflected from mirrored and metallic surfaces’. Metallics are also great to reflect warm light, and again, creating a sense of space.
Bedrooms can be tricky if you don’t have any built-in storage and your bed seems to take up most of the space. But, Topology says you should follow the ‘weightless’ idea. They advise: ‘Avoid bulky, heavy furniture. Instead of a wardrobe how about a clothes rail for a lighter, more compact look? For bedside tables look for wire mesh, Perspex or floor lamps that have a shelving element to them.’
Sliding doors are a great alternative to traditional doors in places where you’re short on space and can’t install a 90-degree open door. Bluff and Brandhorst say it’s particularly great for en-suites and small bedrooms which just fit a double bed, and also for wardrobes – if you don’t go down the clothes rail route. ‘Sliding doors mean you won’t have to fight for space with other pieces of furniture (or people when you’re trying to get ready!)’
‘As you don’t have a lot of floor space to play with, think upwards and make use of walls instead,’ advise the experts. ‘Think floating shelves, wall lights, clothes hooks, wall mounted magazine racks and bike hooks.’ This will allow you to store folding chairs or display belongings without taking up valuable square floor footage. And don’t forget to make use of dead space such as corners – adding wall mounted shelves into corners is a great way of maximising storage space.