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For anyone in a small home, tricks that help maximize space - or at least, the illusion of space - can be an absolute live saver. While we all long for ample space to let our design ideas run loose, the reality is that for most of us, space is at a premium. If this story sounds familiar, fear not. There are many ways of overcoming a cramped space, from augmenting the architectural details of your home to incorporating innovative hybrid furniture, and we're here to share them all with you.
Ask any designer or architect and they'll all agree; a pokey room needn't actually look small - there are plenty of space-saving hacks and storage solutions to use when decorating an apartment or small home that lead to a more roomy feel. When it comes to knowing which of these is most suitable for you, however, it can sometimes be difficult to see the wood for the trees. That's why I've compiled a list of the top ten space-saving solutions I've learned this year and I guarantee you'll find at least one of them useful (even if you weren't looking for it).
Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. As a renter herself, she's committed to helping readers make the best choices in their homes through writing practical tips and guides that offer innovative space-saving solutions for a more clutter-free space. Here, she compiles a list of her favorite tricks for maximizing space that she learned this year.
1. Color drenching the entire room
First up on my list is color drenching. It might sound technical, but this nifty little trick essentially just involves painting your ceiling and walls the same color to trick the eye into thinking the room is actually larger than it is - and it's more effective than you might think.
According to interior designer Lizzie Green: 'The idea of 'drenching' a room, particularly a small space, is brilliantly bold and hugely effective in making a space feel bigger, seamless and contemporary.' Not to mention the unique design benefit that comes with it, too.
2. Add an appliance garage to your kitchen countertop
If you have a small kitchen, you'll probably find yourself running out of space on your surfaces every time you cook. To help declutter your kitchen countertops, and appliance garage could be the answer to your woes.
This modern kitchen idea essentially just disguises the unsightly items on your countertop behind a door or screen to keep your surfaces organized - it's as simple as that. 'We utilize appliance garages any time we have an open kitchen,' architect Megan Blaine, co-founder of Blaine Architects + Marshall Interiors says. 'They keep the kitchens looking clean and tidy, while not sacrificing function.'
3. Install wall-mounted fixtures to free up space
This one might take a bit more planning (and budgeting), but wall-mounted tap or shower fixtures are one the best ways to achieve a pared-back look in your small bathroom or kitchen. This practical method of ensuring space is maximized seamlessly integrates your plumbing to offer more floor or countertop space, and I personally love the cleaner look too.
A wall-mounted sink and wet-room style shower, as seen here in this rental cabin, are just two examples. You can also get floating shelving, desks and even toilets too. This declutters the space and increases the sensation of space and openness,' explains Caroline, the architect-owner of the small cabin rental pictured here.
4. Use curved furniture to soften edges
Curved furniture has proven to be one of the most enduring trends of the last decade, and for good reason. Not only are they conducive to a more convivial living space, but they also save space by leaving breathing space around the edges of the room.
In rooms with awkward dimensions, a curved sofa, chairs or rounded edges on other furniture pieces can make your space feel far airier. As Noorein Kapoor, founder of NKD Studio, explains: 'Rounded or curved furniture in a small living room helps to create a natural sense of flow.'
5. Try slide away beds to maximize floor space
For a more innovative space-saving solution, you might want to try installing hybrid or fold-away furniture. There are many different examples out there on the market, from fold-away compact clothes airers to storage seats and sofas, but one of my favorites is this slide-away bed, the brainchild of Keiran Hawkins from Cairn Architects.
Valuable space is saved by the bespoke storage system that allows this double bed to vanish into the eaves of this attic bedroom. When it comes to thinking outside the box, it doesn't get much more inventive than this. (Although, you will need the eaves space if you're going to commit to this one!)
6. Float your furniture
Before you ask, no - I'm not asking you to carry out any magical spells as this name might suggest. When it comes to how to float furniture, all it involves is pulling your furniture into the room away from the edges of your wall as we tend to do. While it might sound counterintuitive, this 'zoning' of your furniture actually makes a room feel more spacious by granting extra breathing space.
'Floating furniture is a great way to save space and create storage,' says designer Linda Hayslett. 'Walls are also great for storage so if you place furniture up against them you remove the opportunity to use that area as a bookshelf or placement for your favorite artwork.'
7. Window seat storage
Another example of hybrid furniture here, but certainly not one to be scoffed at. This relaxing window seat you see here is actually entirely multifunctional with hidden storage below the cushion - the perfect addition to a bay window.
It also works brilliantly as a space-saving bedroom idea where the seating offer the perfect spot to tuck into a good book.
Add a bit of contemporary texture to your bedroom with this lush boucle pillow from Wayfair. The unique boucle cotton construction and soft beige color make this an ideal accessory for a bedroom that offers cozy comfort. This one is available in other colors, too.
8. Make use of modular shelving systems
Modular shelving systems make an excellent addition to an area where both floor and wall space are at a premium such as a small apartment living room. What makes these modular design especially convenient is the fact they're interchangeable, so you can design a shelving system that suits you and your space. They're also great for renters, too.
The system shown here from String Furniture is an absolute must-have for anyone who not only needs more storage space but also likes to shake up their designs frequently. Being modular, the system can also come with you when you move house.
For shelving that's tailored to your needs, try this modular cube shelving set from Amazon. There are nine cubes provided so you can create a storage organizer in a shape and size that suits your space. It can be freely adjusted if you want switch it up, too.
9. Switch up your configuration with diagonal-dining
If fitting the family around the dining table is the sort of struggle that involves chairs scuffed against walls and awkwardly edging around the table, tummy sucked in, then this simple one-minute trick might be for you. Diagonal dining merely involves putting your dining table on a diagonal angle to create more space around the table.
’Rearranging furniture and placing it at the perimeter of the room will open up a central space where the dining table and chairs can go,' explains Jen Nash, a design expert at kitchen brand Magnet. 'The clever trick maximizes floor space and allows for more seating.'
10. Try a hammock as a couch alternative
If you want to embrace a more unusual take that allows you to free up floor space, why not ditch your living room sofa completely? There are plenty of couch alternatives out there, but my personal favorite is a hammock strung diagonally from opposing corners.
This minimalist Madrid apartment shown here makes use of the hammock to chill in the evenings, but being totally flexible, it can also be hung neatly out of the way when not in use. It's by far the coolest contender on this list. Who wouldn't want to live out their childhood dream while also prioritizing practicality?
The Livingetc Newsletter
For style leaders and design lovers.
Lilith Hudson is the Staff Writer on Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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