Your home is a special place for all who share it with you, whether you live alone, with a friend or partner or with your family. To make the most of the space that you have available, first of all, consider how individual rooms are used. Listing the tasks and activities that take place in various areas in your home will help you work out which rooms are fit for purpose and which are presenting a bit of a challenge.
For example, you might decide that you need an area suitable for quiet activities, such as reading, studying and working from home. You might want to bring shared activities, such as watching television, listening to music and gaming, into one space. If you don’t have a game room for a pool table or a dartboard, then you may still want to create a suitable space for family board games, including checkers and Monopoly.
Making sure that your home is comfortable and decorated to your taste is essential, as it’s likely that you’ll use one or more rooms when entertaining guests. You will definitely want your home to feel and look good. Once you have designated spaces for particular uses, turn your attention to the décor in each area. Some decisions, for example, flooring choices, are relatively easy to make. Traditionally, hard floor surfaces are used in kitchens and bathrooms. Some people prefer these surfaces throughout their homes, although you might wish to feature carpeting in your bedrooms and hard floors everywhere else.
There is a wide selection of hard flooring to choose from, depending on whether you prefer bamboo, ceramic or porcelain tiles, cork, stone, vinyl or wood. Each option has its pros and cons, so check out any known issues before making a decision. The main points to consider are:
- Bamboo is easy to install, clean and durable.
- Ceramic or porcelain tiles are strong, hardwearing and easily cleaned.
- Cork is eco-friendly as well as highly sustainable and has become more popular in recent years.
- Stone ages well and is the most durable of all hard floors, however, it can be expensive.
- Vinyl is one of the cheaper options available and is easy to install.
- Wood floors may be hardwood or engineered wood. Hardwood is extremely durable but expensive, while engineered wood can absorb moisture more efficiently than hardwood.
Walls and ceilings
Colour schemes are a very personal choice, and many people opt for a neutral palette throughout their homes so that they can accessorise individual rooms as they please. Interior designers often work to match colours to moods in a room, and you can do the same when you know how the rooms in your living space will be used.
- The red to orange spectrum is associated with high energy levels and considered to be stimulating.
- Yellow reflects sunshine and is a happy colour.
- Blue and lighter hues of purple are calming and serene, and paler blues are often recommended for bedrooms.
- Green is restful for the eyes and is a good colour for relaxation.
You can use these colours for painted walls and doors or as accent colours in your rooms.
Dressing windows can become a chore if you find that you need to sort out a series of fussy drapes and blinds, A much smarter approach, and one that is increasingly popular, is to consider the benefits of contemporary and versatile shutters, which come in a range of styles.
- Solid panels look elegant and sophisticated.
- Café styles offer privacy and plenty of daylight.
- Full-height shutters are excellent for patio doors.
- Tier-on-tier versions provide more flexibility.
Some of the many benefits of shutters are that you can control natural light, noise and privacy and show off the clean lines of your window openings to stylish effect.
Ambient lighting is general lighting, and it is often supplied by overhead ceiling lights. Use task lighting for specific beams when focusing on activities such as reading, working at a computer and sewing. Accent lighting highlights a particular feature of your décor, such as a painting or sculpture, and will add texture to the atmosphere in your rooms. Good use of mirrors and other reflective surfaces will help create the environment that you enjoy most.
Making the most of your living space is really about making the most of your lifestyle. Enter into the challenge in an adventurous spirit, and you’re sure to enjoy the end result even more.