Give Your Home Some Space!
by Designer Maxwell L. Alexander (Duncan Avenue Interior Design Studio)
Whether your house is big or small, a stand-alone structure or an apartment, it will go through a facelift sooner or later. You will have to repaint the walls (or get rid of the wallpaper), jettison junk that as accumulated over the years, and perhaps go in for some new furniture. It is easier for us Millennials, just because we used to “living small”, however, it applies to everyone who’s home doesn’t have a lot of square-footage: does it mean that your home has to feel claustrophobic? Not at all! Smart, clean and sustainable (in multiple definitions of the concept) interior design can help you feel better, safer and more comfortable in a small space that might not work for you right now.
Your home improvement project should be focused on creating living areas that are bright, airy, spacious, and, preferably, a reflection of your personality. Time and money spent will, of course, depend on how much of a change you’re aiming for. But the good news is that you can make a big improvement on the home front by using just a few tricks and adjustments.
First, junk the junk
Before you overhaul your home, get rid of the junk. That’s easier said than done because you’re sure to face fierce resistance; not just from family but from yourself as well! The usual argument in favor of retaining old stuff is that it might come in handy. But you need to be objective and dump stuff that hasn’t been used in eons and occupies valuable space: old cooking vessels, clothes, toys, shoes, decorations, and old magazines and books, for instance.
Create space… creatively
After you’ve got rid of the old stuff there are a few things you can do to make living areas appear larger than they actually are:
- Use mirrors in bathrooms to create an illusion of space. In living rooms, when hung opposite windows, mirrors not only add depth but brighten areas by reflecting the outside light.
- If wall painting the walls is in the cards, the general rule is to choose light colors over dark ones or go with always classic yet trendy white. You could experiment by using two colors in a room, with facing walls (or just one wall) in one color and the remaining walls in a slightly lighter shade. If you’re afraid of experimenting, simply settle for white and say “your interior designer friend Maxwell Alexander recommended :)”. Another thing to note is that painted walls are the perfect way to emphasize the “white space” – the space that is not necessarily painted white but rather painted in one uniform color – white spaces increase the illusion of expansiveness in a space and are crucial visual points for the eyes to rest.
- Lighting is another way to add space and warmth to a room. Use recessed lights in passageways, lamps to brighten up dark corners, and spotlights on picture frames and in showcases. Lights make a huge difference to space after sundown.
- Redesign if you must. Create space in the bedroom by building a recess in the wall to hold clothes and shoes. Reorganize the kitchen so that the sink, kitchen counter, cabinets, and appliances are neatly integrated and take up minimal floor space. If possible, include a crossbar for hanging pots, so you can keep cabinets free for other items.
Let your home reflect your personality
Do you describe yourself as a modernist or a traditionalist? A culture vulture or a naturalist? Whatever your leanings, it would be great if you included in your home items that reflect your interests.
Remember to go easy to avoid cluttering. A painting hung prominently above the mantelpiece, plants hung in wicker baskets across the balcony, and a decorative pot in a corner of the living room are just a few items you could use. You could follow a theme, or change the mood of a room to go with the season. Use curtains, chair backs, cushion covers, rugs, and sofa covers in cool colors (greens) in summer and warm colors (reds) in winter. Easy-to-change slip-ons are a great way to transform a room without working up a sweat!
Always remember that decor is not meant to be permanent and you will feel much better in your own home if the decor is changing with the natural seasons. There is nothing worse than dusty decor items that subconsciously make you feel stuck and you don’t even know about it!
The furniture factor
Nothing takes up more space in a house than furniture, but you don’t have to chuck out everything save the bare essentials just to create more legroom. Whatever its color, weight, or style may be, well-maintained furniture lends character to interiors and should be treasured. Still, if you don’t mind switching dark, heavy furniture for something bright and light, find a seller who offers an exchange option so you can keep costs down. Clean and curved lines in furniture help the space to feel more spacious and safer when rugged and sharp corners have the opposite effect: they make us feel overwhelmed and anxious.
Apart from the measures mentioned above, there’s a lot more you can do to create space. You could build drawers under steps, install tables and beds that fold into the wall, and buy sofa-beds (or sofas with storage space beneath the seat). It all depends on how much time and money you’re willing to spend to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of your home.
If you still feel like you need professional help, I am here to help! Interior Design Studio is a brand new addition to Duncan Avenue Group’s design services. We used to focus on creating inspiring interior design experiences for our own properties in the Hudson Valley area and have gotten quite a bit of amazing feedback from all around the World. Now we offer the same world-class level interior design to our clients in the tri-state area and beyond.
We are big fans of the current modern rustic design trend and the use of reclaimed materials for residential and commercial interior design projects. We take it even further with our strong commitment to reduce or completely forgo the use of plastics and VOC-emitting polymers in our home interiors. Concepts of energy and material-efficiency affect our design aesthetics as well, which helps our sustainable interiors to stand out from the crowd.
So if you have an idea for your next home renovation, feel free to reach out today and we’ll brainstorm something together!