Seating, storage or an entirely new zone – it’s all on the cards when revisiting those unused spaces in your home. Here, we show you some sneaky interior design tips from professionals for how to find the perfect living room layout and make the most of your available space.
1. Invest in built-in storage
Integrate custom-built joinery into open zones. This creates a lovely design feature, and books and special objects also add warmth and personality.
2. Adapt areas for more than one use
Double up with inclusions that can multi-task; think retractable pocket doors and bookshelves that provide desk space you can draw a chair up to. Integrated cabinetry is a wonderful way to display an elegant bar area, yet hide the workings and appliances behind closed doors.
3. Divide the space with furniture
The centre of an open-plan zone can provide a display opportunity. Add a piece such as a narrow buffet or console and position it back-to-back with a sofa, which is also a neat look aesthetically.
4. Take the time to plan it out
Consider what you’re aiming to create – maybe you’re trying to put a study nook into a living space or turn a cupboard into a bar – and then think about whether the space has the right credentials, such as ventilation, lighting and positioning. “We take a lot into account – the flooring materials, the skirting and cornice heights, electrical requirements and the current positions,” says designer Louella Woodham of Spaceworks Design. “The height of the end user, potential wear and tear, and structural suitability are all important.”
5. Task an open bookshelf as a zone divider
It’s an instant storage injection within open-plan layouts and provides a nice visual break while welcoming you into the living area.
6. Use the space around fixed architectural features
Chimney breasts, fireplaces and entrance halls all offer space to borrow from for storage and display. “Open shelving in unused space such as above and around doorways is a really practical and space-efficient way to add layers to a room,” says Kate Hardy of Cloth + Stone Designs
7. Install open shelving
Make the most of your lounge room’s blank walls by adding open shelves and cupboards. Let your book collection take centre stage by colour coding your favourite titles.
8. Add a built-in reading nook
Take the pressure off your sofa by tucking a reading nook in beside a fireplace or under a window. A simple upholstered seat and a collection of coordinated cushions will see it tie in nicely with other furnishings. Bonus points if you can include extra storage under the seat!
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