Making the most of small spaces


Making the most of small spaces

SMART SPACES A glass vase of fresh  flowers on top of a carved wood cupboard lends that classy touch. Right: You can convert  a small space into a mini-garden. Photos by the author

Having a home of your own is a blessing in this day and age. Considering that everybody wants to live as close to the city centre, the growth in terms of residential spaces has been largely vertical. Apartment dwelling in some cases can mean slightly constricted spaces. It is up to us how we make the best use of the space. Interior décor for small spaces needs to be aesthetic as well as utilitarian. Here are some simple ways in which you can work the décor in small spaces.

The first impression

Let’s start with the foyer. Most apartments and small homes keep a small corridor-like space just before their living rooms. This often is the place for shoes, umbrellas and even keys. If you have a small space with which to work in, here are some ideas on how you can go about it. Start with the walls and use bold shades of paint.

This gives a sense of space in really small spaces. Reds and browns will work really well. Just remember to have the shade complementary to what you use in the living room or the change can be jarring.

Choose a nice carved wood cupboard as your shoe rack. This will make the space look nice. On top you can place an ornate bowl for those keys and loose change. A glass vase of fresh flowers next to that can brighten up the space. For the wall, you could choose a small painting with a spotlight on it. If you would like to experiment, get yourself a wall mounted aquarium. This can add drama to your walls. Alternately you could choose a wall mounted pot and have creepers flow out from it.

Living it up

The next room is your living room. If you have the option of customising your apartment or are still in the process of constructing your home, make sure that you have at least one set of French windows. These huge windows add a sense of openness to a small space. It lets in the light and gives a sense of expanse. When it comes to the furniture, make sure it is utilitarian as well as beautiful. Invest in a futon or a sofa bed. The ones available today are as designer-like as they can get. These are great for when you have guests and don’t have enough of bedroom space for them all.

Having a coffee table would be nice, but not always can you fit it into a small living space. What you could do instead is have a small, customised round teapoy. Have a central piece and smaller breakaway crescents fit into that. This way you can pull out segments and place them wherever needed. Not only does this save on space, it is also a novelty factor amongst guests who will never cease to be surprised at such innovation.

In small living spaces wall-mount as many pieces of your décor as possible. This includes your TV. If you have a LCD TV, the brackets come along with it. In case of a regular one, consider placing brackets on the corner wall of your hall and placing the TV at a height. This leaves the space below it for use. Crockery cabinets too can be wall mounted as can bookshelves and even a small puja area. Don’t forget to place a plant or two where you can. This gives a sense of bringing the outdoors in.

Cooking up surprises

It is a running joke among most home makers, that no matter how big your kitchen is, it never seems to be enough. You can actually utilise your kitchen space intelligently. Have a set of shelves below your work platform as well as to one side of the wall. Use this to store all that you need on a daily basis. Anything that is not used for a period of one week, pack away and store in your loft or any other storage space.

Wall mount cutlery racks for items of daily use in cooking and in serving. Designate a space below your platform for kitchen gadgets of daily use. In your shelf and drawer space, having designated spots for vessels, cutlery is great. There are several smaller modular kitchen options that offer you a range of storage space that looks great and makes optimum use of space.

For your dining area, and this is especially if you have a living-cum-dining room, invest in a table that opens out when you have more guests. There are several models available in round, square and rectangular shapes. This way you save on space on regular days with the family and can easily accommodate guests during those weekend parties. Another trick with living-cum-dining rooms is to have a clear distinction in terms of tiles used in both spaces. This gives a sense of demarcation without physically occupying any space.

For some really small dining spaces, especially those in bachelor pads, you can have a wall mounted dining table that can be pulled out of the wall when needed.
To make it even more effective, enclosed shelf space can be added to the back of the table so that when it is in the upright position, it can still be useful enough to store things.

Saving space in bedrooms

For really small spaces in the bedroom, the same principle as the dining room can be used. Beds can be built into the wall and pulled out whenever needed. Alternately you could think of using a futon as a bed. This way it can be made into seating space during the day time. Have cupboards built into walls and dressing tables wall mounted. This gives you a lot of floor space to utilise in ways you see fit. Having minimal furniture in the bedroom also helps in creating the illusion of space as is having open and large windows.
For balcony spaces, spruce them up with box gardens. If you are lucky enough to have terrace space as well, nothing like using it to make a garden that otherwise should have been in front of your home.

Decorating small spaces is not difficult if done with a keen eye for detail. Small spaces need to be decorated aesthetically while at the same time making sure that each and every corner has a use of its own.

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