London is a fantastic place to live – right in the belly of the beast – but it’s seriously expensive, so most people don’t have as much space as they’d like. Fortunately, smart solutions are making it increasingly easy to pack a lot into a small space, and to do it with style. An intelligently furnished small home can still feel spacious and include everything it needs for comfortable living.
Bringing space to life
In order to make a small space feel bigger, it’s best to stick to pale colors for most of the decoration, but it’s a mistake to make the whole place look bland. In fact, having one bright colored feature wall at a right angle to the windows can give a room a much more spacious, not to mention energetic character. Electric blue, orange and lime green are all great choices and are very fashionable at the moment. A large print pattern on a feature wall can work well but small patterns should be avoided because they make a room feel crowded.
Pale flooring is a good idea – a neutral colored carpet, polished boards or linoleum – but a small, bright rug can liven the place up without being overwhelming. To make the most of space around the windows and to let in more light, blinds, instead of curtains, are the best choice. Large mirrors can bounce that light around but it’s wise to avoid heavy or protruding frames. Using mirror tiles can make a small kitchenette look much more impressive and pleasant to work in.
There are two kinds of furnishings that work well in small apartments: items that serve more than one purpose and items that fold away. Futons do both, making comfortable seats in their folded form and unfurling into beds. A solid, flat-topped chest can bring a touch of traditional elegance to a room while functioning as a place to store bedding and doubling as a coffee table. For main meals, an extending dining table is a must, as it means it’s also possible to invite friends round to dine. For seating at the table, stackable stools are ideal, easy to tidy away into a corner but also useful to provide extra options when entertaining.
When there’s limited room for a wardrobe, a freestanding clothes rail is often the best option, and it can be covered with plastic to keep clothes fresh. A flat-screen television that attaches to the wall instead of needing a surface to stand on is useful, though it’s also possible to fit a television – and accessories – into a well-designed shelving unit used for books and DVDs. Alternatively, some people keep all their movies in digital form and simply project them onto a white wall from a laptop.
Every home can benefit from a bit of greenery. Tall, slender plants like dracaena fragrans or sansevieria trifasciata are easy to look after and ideal for the smaller home. They’ll brighten it up and take away those urban blues.