August 2006 Newsletter

Space Planning: A Step Beyond Interior Decorating

Everybody knows that a dramatic change can come about from changing the color of your walls. But how many people have actually considered changing the shape of the space itself? Sometimes we’re presented with spaces that demand solutions. A very narrow room with a high ceiling looks out of proportion - maybe installing a false ceiling with recessed downlights is the answer.

The past shows us examples of space dividing which may or may not be desirable solutions for the way we live today. The 1960s and 1970s gave us plastic and metal shelving units, open on both sides and jutting out across our living rooms. The style has moved on but the principle is still useable, except today we would use fabric panels, glass bricks, chrome retail shelving or folding bamboo screens to achieve the same result.

Straightforward square spaces can be given added interest and the illusion of greater length by incorporating a pair of screens that mirror each other across the room. They don’t need to be large and they don’t need to extend out into the room too far. The mere presence is enough to create a space-changing illusion. If the room is high enough, you might consider building a platform over one end - for sleeping, reading, watching television. This is an especially effective way of increasing living space in a small studio or one-bedroom apartment.

All of these changes have been made without changing your structural walls and are usually limited to one room. Redesigning an entire floor (or whole house) is a much larger project. Cramped and crowded rooms on a single floor can often be rearranged to create the feeling of more space.

Don’t forget about mirrors and glass. The early 19th century architect Sir John Soane adored mirrors and the space-expanding effect they had on his interiors. His house in London was been preserved with mirrored ceilings and walls and interior porthole windows. Large Victorian mirrors create an elegant illusion of doubled space simply by being propped up against an empty wall.

If you have a garden next to your room, try to incorporate that space both visually and aesthetically. Install French or sliding doors to bring the garden into your home. Even if you can’t install French doors to make the room flow into the garden, a simple expedient of strategically placed window boxes will help make the garden flow into the room, especially if the boxes are painted in colors which co-ordinate with your room’s decor.

Be bold! Make your living space work for you.


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