Making the most of small spaces

Interior designers and award-winning bloggers, Athena Bluff and Amy Brandhorst from Topology, have come together to help us maximise the space in our homes.

While there’s nothing anyone can do about the bricks and mortar and actual dimensions of the property you live in, their seven home tips could help you make the best of the space available, meaning rooms feel larger.

Read on for their space-enhancing secrets.

Tip 1: Shine a light
“Ensure you have multiple light sources within a room to maximise light at night,” says Ms Bluff. “You should aim to have around six light sources around the room, which will ‘replace’ natural daylight and allow light to flow through the space. Enhance the effect with mirrored surfaces, which will bounce light around. Those and metallics, which reflect warm light, will create a sense of more space.”

Tip 2: Be free with flooring
“An easy trick for floors is to continue the hallway flooring into your small room. Creating a visually unbroken flow of space will make it appear as though it’s one big area, and creates an illusion that the floor is expanding,” points out Ms Bluff.

Tip 3: Create colour harmony
“Try painting walls, skirting boards and door frames all the same colour. Painting them different colours can actually break up a space and emphasise the shape and (small) size of the room,” says Ms Brandhorst. “If they’re all the same colour, they’ll blend into one and make the room appear bigger.”

Tip 4: Make a great reflection
“Hang a mirror opposite a window. It’s simple but extremely effective – both in terms of cost and visual impact,” suggests Ms Brandhorst. “The mirror will reflect natural light and instantly brighten up your space, as well as making it appear larger. If you’re feeling creative, play around with different shapes or multiple mirrors to reflect as much light as possible. More light equals more sense of space.”

Tip 5: Choose multi-functional furniture
“Opt for dual usage furniture that can be folded or expanded to suit your needs,” says Ms Bluff. “If there’s only two of you most evenings, opt for a folding table which, with an extension, turns into a four-person dining table for entertaining. Check out sofa bed options, which can easily turn a sitting room into a bedroom for guests. Always consider storage in items like ottomans, pouffes, trunks, coffee tables. If there’s a design that also hides clutter (the enemy of small spaces), choose it!”

Tip 6: Embrace the dark side
“This is one for the brave! Don’t be afraid of going dark in small spaces,” advises Ms Bluff. “It may sound counterintuitive, but dark shades – navy and grey – can actually disguise the perimeters of a room and blur boundaries, which extend the space, so don’t feel you can only use ‘Brilliant White’ to achieve a sense of more space. Walk on the dark side – trust us, it works!”

Tip 7: Work the walls
“As you don’t have a lot of floor space to play with, think upwards and make use of walls instead,” advises Ms Brandhorst. “Floating shelves, clothes hooks, wall-mounted magazine racks and bike hooks will allow you to store things like folding chairs, or display belongings without cluttering the floor. Make use of dead space, such as corners, and have wall-mounted shelves.” Mount your TV on the wall or above a fireplace a media console is typically the biggest space waster in a small living room.

What small space are you looking to transform? Do you have any other tips to add?

With PA

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YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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