30 Ways to Live Large in a Small Space Part 1
Just because you live in a small apartment doesn’t mean you can’t think big in terms of living. We share 30 ideas for making the most of what you’ve got and optimising your living space.
1. A high window-to-wall ratio
Large planes of glass open up a room, with the extra light creating an impression of extra space.
2. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves
These bookshelves create added storage space and because they reach up to the ceiling, an illusion of length makes the room seem “taller” and therefore bigger.
3. Allow light into windowless rooms with semi-opaque materials and skylights
Add space and roominess to a small, stuffy windowless room by using semi-opaque panelling or stained glass as a divider or “window” into another room; or add skylights to let in some sunlight.
4. Outdoor living space
By extending your living space outdoors, you add the feeling of square footage without any building costs. This could be an extended verandah to protect furniture in an outside stoep; an inner courtyard or a stoep around the house.
5. Fewer walls and more multipurpose rooms
Instead of many dividing walls separating your living space into many small spaces according to purpose, rather break those walls out to open up your living space and use your placement of furniture to maintain privacy and separate areas in a more subtle and airy way.
6. Add a loft
This may not be able to do in all houses, but imagine all the space that is lost in the crawl space between the ceiling and the roof of your house. Open up this space by removing the ceiling boards, adding a lick of paint and creating loft spaces as extra rooms e.g. sleeping and reading nooks, as well as storage space.
7. Space under the stairs
Build shelving or cupboards under the stairs – many modern houses even use this space as a half bathroom. If you install cupboards, build them on wheels for easy access – plus you can use the back parts too.
8. Prefab windows
Many older houses were built with few windows, which were often small too. Use prefab windows to add light and space without any major architectural alterations.
9. Sliding walls instead of doors
These instantly open up rooms as the wall is broken and the room is immediately extended to the next. The wider doorways also increase the illusion of more space.
10. Walls made of glass
Use sliding doors or glass panelling in inside walls to divide living space as needed without compromising on the feeling of roominess.
Mirroring can be used in both traditional and creative ways to add a feeling of space to a room. Remember that shiny surfaces also create mirroring, so get creative with shiny tiles and metallic surfaces to add a sense of space.
12. Go big in your favourite room in the house
Whether it’s the lounge, kitchen or main bedroom – make sure it’s a big open space and play with metallic surfaces and décor, as well as translucent panelling and cabinets and shiny surfaces to create even more airiness.
Use a spare wall in any room for added storage space. Make sure it’s pretty and feels like part of the décor.
14. Room dividers rather than walls
By using either traditional screens and dividers or getting creative with steel rods, sheets of in interlaced wood or using tall ornaments in a row to divide space with the limiting effect of a wall.
This is ideal to divide a wide open room that is multifunctional with committing to a permanent divider or walling, e.g. a study area in the bedroom or lounge; or a vanity unit in the bedroom.