Top 10 Tips for Space Planning
(Toronto, ON) October 16 – Making effective use of space is one of design’s most fundamental issues and the task becomes even more daunting when that space is limited.
“Perhaps we can thank soaring real estate prices or an ever-increasing population for the proliferation of dimensionally-challenged homes and condos,” said Interior Design Expert Kimberley Seldon, who will appear at the International Home Show from November 1 through to November 4.
“Regardless, whether you’re a first time home buyer or transitioning from a family home to a condo, diminishing floor space is a challenge. Follow these tried and true small space strategies and your rooms can be a triumph of style over size.”
Seldon’s Top 10 Space Planning Tips are as follows:
1. Utilize every inch of space by incorporating vertical elements.
Tall bookshelves, stately armoires, and floor to ceiling shelving are just some of the elements that help homeowners utilize vertical space. In the kitchen, opt for cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling. Transition spaces, such as foyers, hallways and staircases often benefit from the immediate visual impact wallpaper provides. Vertical stripes emphasize a room’s height while distracting the eye from limited floor space.
2. Emphasize negative space.
In order to visually expand a room’s size, designers and architects include negative space where possible. Negative space refers to the areas of emptiness that surround an item of furniture such as the underside of a coffee table. By choosing furniture with legs rather than skirts, incorporating glass where possible, and adding reflective elements such as mirror, crystal, and silver to the interior, you can amplify available light and legroom, creating a feeling of vastness. In addition, choose furniture with narrow arms rather than over-stuffed rolled versions.
3. Monochromatic colour schemes visually enlarge the space.
Monochromatic colour schemes, where all colours are kept close in tone and value, visually expand a room’s dimensions. Without contrast (the strong distinction between two values such as black and white) the eye is able to move through a room uninterrupted, creating an illusion of additional space. Covering furniture and walls in a single, unifying colour or pattern creates a visual cohesiveness that “stretches” perceived space. With this approach, incorporate a variety of textures to increase visual depth: smooth and rough, soft and firm, shiny and matte.
4. Maximize storage space with built-ins and modular furniture.
Most small rooms benefit from built-in or modular furniture, which effectively utilizes every inch of space – vertically and horizontally. In a diminutive kitchen, employ a banquette to maximize seating and take advantage of hidden storage. In open-concept rooms, built-ins such as bookcases provide much needed storage, help contain clutter (essential in small spaces), and define individual rooms without enclosing them. Consider a Murphy bed when a room will be called on to accommodate an occasional overnight guest. Its ability to disappear fully into the wall makes it ideal for occasional use and means it can sit discreetly in almost any room in the house.
5. Hide storage in plain sight.
Look for a coffee or end table that opens to reveal storage beneath, bookshelves that provide floor to ceiling storage space, and an armoire to house anything from linens to entertainment units. A low bookcase can act as a room divider between the living and dining area while providing display space and an ideal surface for party platters when entertaining. Don’t overlook islands, which work not just in the kitchen but also brilliantly in offices, laundry rooms, and craft rooms. Choose one with wheels and it can be stashed against a wall when not in use.
6. Choose double duty furniture.
Multi-taskers such as a coffee table that rises to eating height or a pair of console tables that can be pushed together to form an impromptu dining table are ideally suited to small space living.
7. Assign multiple purposes to each room.
In most homes, rooms are required to provide more than one function. A guest may be temporarily housed in the dining room, living room, or home office by including a built-in banquette. A large banquette provides ample seating for visitors who are looking for somewhere to curl up and read or watch TV but once the cushions are removed; the banquette seating becomes a bed.
8. Fool the eye with large-scale drama.
Occasionally designers break all the rules and go for large-scale drama within a small room. This exuberant approach visually frees space from its confines while providing rooms with energy and drama. Try this approach in powder rooms where a large pattern on walls sets an expansive tone.
9. Mirror expands
Don’t underestimate the space amplifying power of wall-to-wall mirror. Mirror the length of a wall and double the perceived depth of the room. However, make sure to use a mirror when it’s adjacent to windows where it amplifies available light. Never place one in a dull, dark corner, it only expands that view.
Clutter is the enemy of harmonious living. To instill rooms with a feeling of vastness and serenity, strive for organization, efficiency, and authenticity. In other words, use what you own, keep items where you need them most, and surround yourself with personal objects of meaning.
Seldon will be part of The Interior Decorating Show that is taking place at the International Home Show from November 1 through November 4 at International Place on Airport Road in Mississauga.
Admission into this year’s Show guarantees entrance into the 3rd annual Better Living Boomer Show and the 2nd annual Interior Decorating Show (Friday-Sunday for the Decorating Show) at no extra cost. (Thursday is Trade only for the Decorating Show).
More than 400 exhibitors will be featured including: interior and exterior home décor, renovation, contractors, interior decorating, kitchen and bath, gourmet food, wine and beer, green living products and service, landscapers, builders, seasonal products, roofing, appliances, electronics and more.
Seldon will appear alongside City Line’s guest design expert Nicholas Rosaci and Lynn Spence, W Network’s Jane Lockhart and HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler. Just announced, Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri from HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins, sponsored by Nuheat and Honeywell, in addition to Ramsin Khachi sponsored by Schluter Systems.
Parking is FREE and admission is only $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children. Advance tickets are available online for a discounted rate.
About Kimberley Seldon
Kimberley Seldon is an internationally known Interior Design Expert, Journalist, Key Note Speaker and Broadcast Personality, with more than 14 years experience in television; hosting 3 of her own series including Design for Living with Kimberley Seldon. Kimberley is also editor-in-chief of Dabble Magazine.