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Living it large out of a box

Saturday, December 01, 2018

By Gita Ramanan, Chief Design Officer & Co-Founder, Design Café

Small homes are a reality of urban Indian life. Unfortunately, many equate small with cramped and cluttered spaces. Nothing could be further from the truth. You do not have to scale down your life or compromise on your comfort when living in a small home. Smart planning, right at the stage of designing the interiors of the home, will go a long way in ensuring your compact home pulls more than its weight, or rather carpet space, when it comes to looks and liveability. Also, a small home is more environmentally responsible—smaller the home greener the imprint.

The focus when doing interiors for a compact home should be to innovate the available space. You should also ensure zero wastage by offering multi-functional furniture, high on design and on aesthetics. Here are some tried and tested methods of making your compact home look spacious.

Smart layout: Getting the layout right is the first step. In a studio apartment there might be no differentiation between the living, dining and sleeping spaces. Plan a partition, between the living and sleeping portions with a built-in wardrobe opening onto the sleeping section and a pullout dining table on the other side. Or create a small half wall partition separating the kitchenette from the rest of the home. This serves as counter space as well as a dining spot when stools or chairs are pulled over on either side.

Furniture that does double duty: Every piece of furniture or interior design installation in your home should ideally be fulfilling more than one function. Sofa beds, coffee tables with concealed storage, expandable dining tables, concealed kitchen sinks that become additional countertop space, foldable beds hidden into sofas and writing tables with built in shelf space, height adjustable tables that work as coffee and dining tables—the list of transformational furniture is almost endless.

Make the most of the walls: The walls are among the most overlooked real estate in a home. Walls can do more than just create partitions between rooms and look pretty with artwork or beautiful paint and wallpaper. Open and concealed shelves can create lots of storage space for everything from collectibles to kids’ toys.

Make space with glass and mirrors: Large glass covered windows and French doors that open onto balconies are great ways to give a feeling of openness in your home. Try creating partitions with glass, like a large metal and glass door separating the living and sleeping spaces instead of a wall.

Play with colours: There is a tendency to opt for whites and creams when doing up a small home. Avoid that. While dark colours can make a space seem smaller, pastel shades not only make rooms look larger but also liven up a space. You can also create accent walls with an eye-popping colour like ochre or teal, while using lighter shades for the rest of the walls.

There you have it—the secrets of extracting the most space in your small, designer home!

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