When you’re forced to spend more time at home than you normally would, space (or the lack of it) can really become an issue. Where previously you could escape into the wide world or going to work. Lately there’s been a lot less of that going on.
In some ways, being confronted with the need for more space isn’t a bad thing. Just look at all the DIY success stories in the media over the last few months. It seems a lot of people have suddenly found the energy and time to get on with getting their house in order.
Painting walls and fitting tiles is one thing, but what about actually creating more space at home? Having more storage really makes a huge difference and has long-lasting benefits.
Using Available Space
Shelves can have massive impact. They come in all sizes, colours, materials and styles, and slot into just about any room. If you’re fond of DIY you could have a go at making your own. For a quick solution ready-made shelving systems are just as good.
Use them to:
- Create feature display areas in alcoves.
- Replace bulky bookshelves by running one long shelf at picture rail height round the room.
- Add extra interest to doorways with narrow shelves above and/or around the opening.
- Boost bathroom storage with a shelf for bottles or storage for spare towels.
- Add shelving in the kitchen to hold recipe books, plants, or herbs and spices.
- Fit shelves in awkward under stairs areas. To make useful storage for things like cleaning products, small tool kits, hobby items, or spare vases and kitchen gadgets.
- Make more room in wardrobes by adding extra shelves for folded items. This works especially well if you have a tall wardrobe but most of your clothes are shorter such as shirts or skirts.
In living rooms, go for furniture that has storage built in, such as shelves or drawers under the surface. It’s surprising how much more spacious a room looks when little gadgets like TV remotes, phone chargers and gaming controllers aren’t littering the surfaces.
Make more floor space in kid’s bedrooms with raised beds, divans or ottomans. Packing storage space into the same area as the mattress opens up the room so there’s more play space.
Flexible Living Spaces
When a room needs to be multifunctional it helps if you can create activity zones. Zones don’t have to be strongly marked. Think about lines drawn on the floor. There’s nothing physical to stop us crossing them but, if we know we shouldn’t, most of us won’t.
A good example at home is a shared family computer. When kids might need to do homework or adults might need a quieter area when working from home.
Turning a bookcase perpendicular to the wall can create an attractive barrier to cordon off the ‘work’ area in the living room. With an open bookcase, turn books both ways so some spines show from both sides. If you have a closed bookcase, decorate the back with art, photos or even wallpaper to match the room. You might even be able to put the printer on one of the shelves, and have handy storage for paper, notebooks or pens to create a work zone that’s more or less self-contained.
If these strategies don’t work for you, consider self storage for your overflow possessions. We all have lots of items that don’t get used all year round, and putting those items into a self storage room helps us make better use of limited home space.
Use it for seasonal garden furnishings or equipment, or furniture like spare beds or dining tables you only use for larger family gatherings. You can turn a spare bedroom into an office while saving the furniture you need to convert it back to a guest room when you have visitors. It’s also handy to have a self storage space to keep seasonal clothes and sports equipment, so winter boots and skis aren’t in the way of summer tops and sandals!
Also, if you have a growing family, a self storage room is a great place to keep discarded toys or good clothes you plan on handing down to younger children. Toys, especially, can often get a second lease of life if kids haven’t seen them for a few months.
Making more space at home can be a bit of a challenge but it’s worth it if everyone gets more enjoyment out of spending longer hours under the same roof. Make it more fun by getting the whole family involved to figure out what you all need and how to make it happen.
Have you done any DIY while we have been spending more time at home?