Space in the home is always an issue. No matter how large our houses are, the possessions we have and the things that we do always seem to expand to fill the space we inhabit. Good storage is the mantra of the well-organised, but sometimes simply looking at our homes differently can provide unexpected solutions to the need to carve more space out of them. Look closely and you should always be able to create space to utilise.
Architects and urban planners use the term SLOAP (Space Left Over After Planning) to describe corners of developments or housing estates that were too small and impractical to do anything with. But the interior equivalent could very well exist in your home. No matter how modern and how functional your property seems, there is every chance that there is a corner, nook or cupboard that could be used. Odd-shaped upstairs landings, wide hallways and small alcoves are all potential spots for a mini-makeover that can change the way you use your home.
The most obvious of these is the space under your stairs, which many of us use for storage or turn into downstairs bathrooms. This is always an option if you want to close in the stairs, but if you want to retain a spacious, airy look (especially if they are in your lounge) then you can still utilise this area.
You should easily be able to fit a desk in there for home office use, or as a space for the kids to get on with their homework. But this recess could equally be home to a bench seat with storage beneath, combining a cool space to sit and contemplate with somewhere to keep toys or DVDs. Clever, discrete use of a curtain could also make this a tiny guest room that is a step up from sleeping on the sofa.
The end of the hallway is another classic place to create space in the home. A bookshelf is a neat solution to the small recess at the end of your hallway and you can do even better with a little imagination. First of all, you have to be sure that the door nearest to your space opens inwards and away from the space. This can easily be done if this is not the case and it can be as simple as changing the hinges.
Once you know that no one is going to open doors onto you then this space is ready to have a drop-down table or desk installed. You could also turn the area into a playroom for your children, with added storage space and blackboard paint on the wall.
This can work for upstairs or downstairs space, although you may wish to consider using such downstairs space as a utility room instead, freeing up space in your kitchen where you may have a washer and/or dryer. You can enclose the space cheaply and it should not be a problem to hook the machines up to a water supply and waste pipes.
If you don’t have leftover spaces then consider creating some. The best way to do this in many homes is to move or close off a door. Many of us live in older properties that have the old ‘front’ and ‘back’ rooms knocked through to create open plan living but we often retain the doors that now give dual entry to the one large room.
Having one of these doorways boarded over will create a cleaner look in your living room and also free up space in the room and possibly outside it too, depending on the layout of your home. It will cost from £200 to close up a doorway, but the extra space gained will be worth it.
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