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Smart Choices for Smaller Homes

With smaller homes, few home owners can dedicate an area solely for one function. The living room has become a place for everyone to gather and watch movies, listen to music, play games, do homework, conduct business and enjoy meals in front of the TV. And often these activities take place in a room no bigger than 300cm by 365cm.

There are some tricks to making small spaces bigger. When possible,  expand the space with a small alcove for reading or other purposes, and give the areas different ceiling heights to highlight the change.  Incorporate one focal wall in a stronger colour to make the entire area seem larger.  Open a living room to other rooms or the outdoors to expand its visual reach.

Here are ways to make your small-space living room work harder and better:

Invest in space saving furniture - To meet many needs, choose furnishings that serve multiple purposes. Whenever you can, incorporate mobile furniture on casters that swivel to face different areas and roll into other rooms.

  • Ottomans are multipurpose pieces can be a place to rest feet, provide seating, and open to hide files and other belongings.
    Ottoman with storage and also used as coffee table Ottoman with storage and also used as coffee table
  • Tables Use nesting tables as end tables, since they can be placed around a room for casual meals. Some coffee tables have been fitted with a lift that raises to dining table height or lower to display books and decorative items.
    Nesting tables Nesting tables
  • Rolling carts can work double duty for art supplies by day and bar paraphernalia at night. Make the top a practical surface rather than something delicate.
    Rolling cart Rolling cart
  • Seating Many couches and chairs can be seating by day and comfortable beds at night. Smaller sectional sofas work well because their configurations can vary, and many have sleeper mechanisms. In some cases, the same chairs can function for sitting in a living room and at a dining table, so you don’t have to hunt for extra seating at different occasions. Benches work for seating and can be stacked against a wall.small sectional sofa
  • Lighting. Avoid floor lamps that take up valuable floor space and go with track, recess or wall lights. To optimize natural light, don’t use heavy, old-fashioned window treatments that visually shrink space.

Create a Liveable Layout When any furniture grouping is placed in the open, leave 65cm to 75cm between a wall and the back of the piece for good traffic flow. Besides having the right furnishings, arrange them to suit your living style and traffic pattern.

  • Pick furnishings in scale, preferably sofas without big roll arms and overstuffed cushions that physically and visually take up room. Include some pieces without arms such as a slipper chair.
  • Don't automatically place a sofa against a wall, with two chairs flanking a coffee table. Place two small sofas opposite each other in the middle of a room, especially when there are several windows, doorways or a fireplace focal point.
  • Forget sofas and group three or four chairs camp-style around a table for intimate conversations. Use chairs rather than skirted sofas to open the space.
  • Display functional items artistically to avoid storage.
Office under the stairs Office under the stairs

Redefine Where You Work - For a home office you will need:

  • A surface that’s wide and long enough to use as a desk.
  • Outlets for all your gadgets and Wi-Fi
  • An ergonomic chair to avoid discomfort
  • Ample storage for your work, file drawers under a desk, and shelves overhead lined with baskets or photograph-style boxes
  • A wall, if available, to house your library so it looks more focused and feels less cluttered
  • Natural light without glare and artificial lighting from a desk lamp that focuses on the desk surface


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