Small home, big space

Small home, big space

With space being a big constraint these days, it is of vital importance to be well organised to make the most of the space available, writes Bindu Gopal Rao.

As homes shrink, there is a need to make the most of your space. While this is easier said than done, a little help from experts will ease your concerns. So, here are some ideas to make your home appear larger than it is.

Get organised

The most important point to keep in mind is to buy only stuff that is needed. Says Rahul Jagtiani, Managing Partner,Plushplaza.com, “Kids’ furniture, such as bunk beds, as well as home office furniture can be designed in such a manner that they fold up against the wall and are completely concealed, thus giving your room a very neat and tidy look.” 

“One trick to optimise space is to paint the walls in lighter hues as they make the rooms appear bigger than their actual size by reflecting more light as compared to the darker hues,” says Rajiv Rajgopal, Director, Decorative Business, AkzoNobel India Ltd. 

A thorough planning about the arrangement of furniture can also save a lot of space.“It will not take much of your time, but  diligent consideration and thoughtfulness could give you some extra space for years to come, which is a rare possession in the modern world. Keep your budget in mind and it is better to go in for few at a time rather than buying cheap ones that will not last for long,” says Ashish Shah, COO & Co-founder, Pepperfry.com.

The specifics

The first and foremost step is to create a zone. Think about all the things you do in a particular place — work, sleep, relax, eat — and then establish separate zones for those activities. 

“You can design rooms with multiple seating areas, a tented or curtained bed, a window seat or built-in banquette, or even just a smartly placed table and chair. Find a table that can function as both a desk and a dining table. Get daybeds or deep sofas that can double as guest beds. Invest in pieces that can be rearranged to transform the use of a room, murphy beds, folding chairs, collapsible or flip-top tables,” advises Nomita Kholi, owner & proprietor, Wisma Atria Interiors. To optimise space, you have to begin with proper planning and visualising the place with the furniture as per the space and size.

Space optimisation totally depends on one’s creativity and budget. “For instance, one can maximise space in bedrooms by the proper usage of closets and invest on closet organisers that separate the type of clothes, accessories, shoes, and more. By using a combination of storage components, you can create a user-friendly closet. 

Besides this, you could look at placing a small study table under the staircase to ensure the space is innovatively used,” explains Arun Kumar, Founder and Managing Director, Casa Grande Private Limited. The principle is simple for most discerning – keeping your space open and smart. 

“So, flush fitted wall cupboards for storage solutions; sleek, minimalistic, straight lines on side boards, tables, sitting and relaxing chairs and couches, even beds, linen and upholstery,” says Deepak Whorra, Partner, Whorra Enterprises and Director, Episode. Get the measurement of the area you plan to place the furniture in right and then arrange them.” 

“The ceiling heights, wall dimensions, room height ,width, depth, all needs to be sized. Even the furniture have dimensions and thus, we have to be careful while doing space planning,” says Shivika Bhasin, Manager, Hulsta & Rolf Benz (India). 

Furnishing plays a pivotal role in giving any space that perfect look. Making sure the furniture used complements the space is essential; even one piece more could make a space look overdone. “This may also take away space which can be used for things like a movable side table which is integral while entertaining people at home. This piece could be taken off when not required,” says Bhakti Hegde, Director, Chartered Housing.

Space savers

One of the best ways to optimise space at home is to look for innovative space saving solutions or products which can help you utilise vertical space of the walls or empty air space which cannot be used for anything else. 

“This way you can utilise the three-dimensional space to create additional area over and above the carpet area of your house. The other important aspect is to organise things in a proper way and in their respective locations,” says Umang Srivastava, Joint Managing Director, Bonita. 

Explains Ajith Karimpana, Furlenco, “Modular seating (small seat units joining to make a large seater), having as much floor space exposed as possible, folding or stackable chairs and stools, nestedtables and small sized dining tables help optimise space. Traditional sliding doors like in Japan and Korea are coming back in use instead of hinged doors.” 

Try to use as much of the vertical space as possible. “You can have shelves on the walls, or small wall storages. The tops of the wardrobes can be used effectively. Odd niches in your homes can be converted into vertical book racks, or shoe cabinets, or you can even create pretty little settee there,” says Subodh Mehta, Senior Vice President, Godrej Interio. 

When decorating a small space, the focus should be on tricking the eye and creating an impression of vastness. “One can do this by playing with decorative dexterity. For instance, one can use floor-to-ceiling curtains and see-through furnishings to create an aura of large space. 

Simple decorative elements such as wall mirrors and glass table tops can brighten your room with projected lighting, and can thus bestow your interiors with the impression of spaciousness,” says a spokesperson from Commonfloor.com. 

And you can even implement ideas in the smallest space of a home – the bathroom. Says Harsh Bhutani, Executive Director, Bravat India Pvt. Ltd., “Use of wall hung cabinets creates floor space and also helps to store toiletries in a neat manner, making the bathroom look spacious. Also, built-in bathroom storage between pillar spaces or unused areas in the bathroom can substitute for cabinets.” 

Adding glass in a room makes it look larger, brighter and livelier. Glass reflects light and illuminates surfaces, thus enhancing the interiors. 

Says Aditya Bhutani, COO, AIS Glasxperts, “Mirrors are one of the simplest and most attractive ways of creating illusions of space. Mirrors reflect the room and make it look bigger. Use of mirror tiles on an entire wall gives the impression that the room size is double than what it really is. Glass shelves are light and unobtrusive and ideal for interiors if space is a constraint.”

Ideas & more

Opting for furniture that is not only sleek and comfortable but also provides multiple usage is a great way to create space illusion. When it comes to small spaces, smart storage is the key. “Furniture with casters can be moved around easily to make space. A sofa-cum-bed, corner desks and bookshelves are some pieces of furniture that improve the function of small spaces.

The sofas in a living room can be sofa-cum-beds,” says Umesh Rao, Founder & CEO, Vector Projects (I) Pvt. Ltd. 

Using large-sized furniture will hamper optimisation. Says Supryia Sunil, CEO, Interiors, Concorde Group, “Geometry is god. Use colours, patterns, mirrors and lighting to set good mood and personalise it. Flooring makes a room feel more intimate. Consider carpeting rather than hardwood floors or tiles. Alternately, when you lay flooring diagonally across a room, the space instantly looks bigger.” 

Adds Vineeta Singhania, Director, Confluence Consultancy Services, “If your bed isn’t high enough from the ground to store bins underneath, buy a bed lift to raise it  to make use of that under-bed space. You can also buy bins that are constructed specifically to fit underneath beds.”
 Vivek Gupta, Owner, The Big Door says, “Racks and shelves can be as tall as the ceiling permits, with the topmost shelves stocking things that are used only seasonally. Opt for foldable furniture that can be easily moved. Also, furniture should be in proportion to the space available.” 

Make optimum use of space for any furniture. The two basic shapes, square and rectangle, are the best as these make the most efficient use of space available. “Rather than just a centre table, one can go for storage in the living room or the lobby. Store your items in an artistic and unique manner like a mobile bar unit that will serve for both indoor and outdoor purposes,” says Honey Jolly, Design Head, Home Ettu.

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