Ingenuity and intelligence, are the two prerequisites for living comfortably in a compact space. Rising property rates have led to ‘packed-in’ living spaces, which in turn has had homemakers and designers think of ‘out of the box’ solutions, so as ‘not’ to compromise on comfort and luxury. Restrictions imposed by lack of space can be, without doubt, triumphed over by smart design and thoughtful approach.
Creative solutions, like introducing horizontality in your decor can result in smaller spaces appear larger, creating an illusion of expanse and vastness. The use of horizontal louvers on cabinets, cupboards and openings can be a way to introduce horizontality and so can be the introduction of low height furniture, with crisp linear geometry.
Introducing levels in your design scheme and consequently creating spaces amongst spaces could be another method of cheating the eye. Spaces can hence be crafted out skilfully, without the unnecessary introduction of walls. Another time tested method, is to enable the outside to blend with the inside and letting abundant natural light barge into the living spaces with the use of large transparent openings. Thinking minimalistic and doing away with the redundant clutter shall bring in no harm either.
Painting and lighting are amongst the most cost efficient means of opening up a compact space. Use of neutral colours like whites, beiges and pastels on the walls along with contrasting dark flooring can bring in the much required airiness, making the area look more spacious. This complemented with plentiful natural light streaming in, can truly add to the quality of natural lightness. Adding lamps and visual delusions like mirrors, can also make the room bear the impression of being larger.
opt for FLEXIBILITY & MULTIPURPOSE
Convertible multipurpose furniture pieces allow the desirable flexibility which compact spaces seek. From the very common ‘futon’ which is a bed by night and sofa by the day to the lesser known coffee tables that open up to full fledged benches, the market today is flooded with products that shout out ‘multi-utility’ aloud. Furniture brands like IKEA have just the right furniture pieces you would be looking at for a smaller living space. Overhead cabinets and rolling out drawers fitted under bed frames work perfectly and blend naturally into clean, minimalistic design. Benches can prove to be ideal for smaller seating areas and drawers can suitably be fitted utilising the space below these. Use of bunk beds in children’s room can increase the available space and create room for play areas and reading nooks.
Simpler things like, the dual use of a stool as a nightstand or a storage ottoman as a coffee table can be small yet productive contributions. Another good example is that of accommodating your wine storage unit beneath your coffee table.
‘Drawer Staircases’ are the next big thing allowing the utilisation of the empty, unused space below the staircase. For ultra compact spaces one might get inspired by a bunk bed, the difference being that instead of the sleeping quarters lower down, try to accommodate a small seating area with a portable ottoman. Hence, you can use these levels in a whole new innovative way.
Mobile beds are another thing to look out for. They come with a self-supported structure that makes raising and lowering, both easy and practical. Once the bed is not in use, you can raise it up to the ceiling and the space below can be turned into a living space, a library or whatever you want to use it as. And for those who really opt for the very ‘out of the box’ well there are beds that disappear into the walls and dining tables that neatly fold on the wall and make up for a classic piece of art.
If a staircase is required at all, consider using a spiral staircase as it can help you create multiple levels, occupying the least amount of space.
Make the most of what is available
The key to living in a compact space, is to utilise each square inch to its full potential. Consider buying furniture and storage that is not odd in shape. Prodding edges or even circular shapes need more space and are hard to stack alongside an unused wall. Simple geometries like squares and rectangles can be tucked in neatly in a smaller space and hence are perfect to be used in such spaces. Also ,try opting for furniture that looks lightweight and airy, as something heavy can become too overwhelming, in a compact home.
Be selective & invest in that which will ‘adapt’
While picking up home goods, have a clever and selective eye. As hard as it maybe to resist the alluring temptations, try to buy things that will last longer and are flexible enough to adapt in accordance with your changing lifestyle over the period of years. A few very good examples of this are a range of kids furniture available today. There are these elegant cots that convert into adult seating once the child has grown out to it. If you explore a bit more you will come across feeding chairs that convert into a proper desk and chair, hence growing and adapting to your child’s needs.
To sum it up one can say that living in a compact space need not mean that you are living in claustrophobic conditions. All it means is that with a little thoughtfulness and some clever designing you can make a smaller space a very comfortable place to stay in. Not to forget that compact and crammed up spaces encourage snuggling up with your loved ones.