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Ten top ways to maximise the size of your home

Storage solutions

Architect Charles Bettes, MD of Gpad London, believes more is less when it comes to cupboards. He says: ‘Built-in storage across whole walls (see picture above) may seem like it will limit the size of a space. But ample cupboards give storage without protruding into the room, simplifying it. You’ll need less furniture and have less clutter. Cupboards are ideal for messy people, who wish they weren’t.’ gpadlondonltd.com

Get a rug

Lucy Henderson, head of design at My Bespoke Room, says: ‘Rugs have the ability to totally transform a room and can anchor the space. A rug that’s too small makes it feel disjointed and really cheapens everything. In an ideal world, all your furniture would fit on your rug. Don’t be afraid to push your furniture together, not everything needs to be backed against a wall.’ mybespokeroom.com

Plant some privacy

Clotilde Passalacqua, a design leader at Ikea UK, recommends using strategically placed plants to break up a room. She says: ‘Open-plan spaces are great for giving the family a sense of togetherness, but for the times when it’s nice to feel cocooned in the living room, adding a row of plants to a console behind the sofa creates a “wall” that gives the best of both open and closed-space living.’ For the best effect, use a mix of indoor plant types that vary in shape and size, such as Ikea’s lush Monstera and Euphorbia Acrurensis plants.

Create zones using lights

Udi Regev, founder of BetterSpace, says: ‘We’re so busy looking around us we forget to look up. The ceiling is a projection of the floor, so use it to divvy up spaces — this is ideal for open plans. Allocating a cluster of spotlights can instantly create a reading area or simply mark off different territories. Lower some parts of the ceiling with gypsum board to accentuate spaces – by framing a bay window, for example. And be playful with ceiling surfaces, perhaps installing cork for a trendy industrial design.’ betterspace.co

Size does matter

Designer Emma Green says: ‘Size up. Don’t be afraid to use large-scale pieces, such as an oversized sofa or piece of artwork, in small spaces. It’s a common misconception that small rooms need small furniture. Larger furniture can make a room look much grand(pictured) er.’ emmagreendesign.com

Keep off the floor

Gpad’s Charles Bettes (pictured) loves a good optical illusion. ‘Keeping the floor clear tricks the eye into thinking there is more space,’ he says. ‘So try not to buttress things with the floor. Choose a wall-mounted toilet and a walk-in shower, great in small bathrooms.’

Paper view

The Home Genie style vlogger Georgina Burnett (pictured) says: ‘Hanging patterned paper on chimney breasts, as many do as a feature wall, will make the room feel smaller. But if you paper the alcoves either side of the chimney breast instead, the room will feel wider — as the eye is drawn to the pattern on the indents either side, making it feel and appear larger.’ georginaburnett.com

Table talk

Sebastian Mann, co-founder of Minale + Mann, says: ‘When space is an issue in living rooms, consider keeping your floor space open and refrain from placing a coffee table in front of your seating area. An alternative is a small side table placed either side of a sofa or seating space. This takes up very little space.’ For example, try the Banbury side table (pictured above) from MannMade London, £275, mannmadelondon.com

Consider colour power

My Bespoke Room’s Lucy Henderson says: ‘If you have a small room, paint the ceiling the same colour as the walls – this instantly makes the room look larger by making you less aware of where things start and stop, as well as making the ceiling appear higher. Rooms lacking in character, or with low ceilings, can benefit from a dramatic colour. Stick to jewel colours such as a dark blue for a striking look that adds depth to a small space.’

And finally… plan

Gilly Craft (above) of Koubou Interiors reckons planning is key. She says: ‘Make sure that you plan effectively. Think through what you want to use the room for and what furniture you will require. Make sure that you measure before you buy. You want to be sure the beautiful sofa you have chosen will fit in the room and will get through the doorway.’ koubouinteriors.co.uk