The latest article for Cheshire Life magazine, June issue
2016We are constantly reminded by the experts that our waist lines are expanding, that we need to exercise more and eat less. But is the latest “sugar tax” a sign of the Government’s concern about our health or are Ministers worried that we soon won’t fit in to the steadilyand silently shrinking new-build homes of Britain? We have some of the smallest houses when compared to the rest of Europe, with the minimum required size of a single bedroom at 7 square meters and 11.5 square meters for a double. Research by RIBA’s has established that the average single bedroom flat provides the same space as a London underground tube carriage. This explains why many of our 20 and 30 year old children prefer to live with their parents rather than attempting to cram their possessions in to a starter home of their own.
These “miniature” homes present interior designers with numerous challenges. We all know that first impressions count, but what kind of furniture could you use in an entrance hall of 90 cm width (the minimum required) to avoid the space looking tiny, let alone creating a “WOW” factor? Well, despair no more. Manufacturers across the Globe are in the race to supply us with a much needed selection of furniture designed for small spaces. AMR, a Portuguese manufacturer is definitely in the lead. Their designs are varied, from funky to classically inspired. The common theme is to have wall hanging pieces, as the exposed floor area creates the illusion of space. This new generation of furniture is as practical as it is stylish. The sleekest console tables have concealed “push to open” drawers and doors which don’t spoil their architectural form and clean lines, yet they hide away the clutter we can’t live without. They are also versatile and could be used in practically any situation, even as a dressing table or a media unit.
These “floating” creations can also be larger than normal since they don’t occupy the floor space. It is generally better to use fewer, larger pieces of furniture than lots of smaller ones, as scaling everything down will draw attention to the size of the room, or rather the lack of it. The combination of armless occasional chairs and the use of a stylish bench instead of a sofa in some situations can help to maximise the feel of space. Lighter colours and soothing “tone on tone” effects, rather than colour blocking will help with your dilemma of furnishing a small room. Large wall mirrors will bounce around the available light. A step further would be a whole wall finished in mirrored panels. By playing with their sizes, an abstract pattern can be achieved that would look stylish as well as making narrow areas appear double the size. The careful choice of lighting is equally important in order to make the best of a small space as dramatic lighting effects and large sculptural wall lights will visually expand the room and improve the ambience.
Having an in-depth knowledge about these product ranges enables me to transform any space, small or large, into a special one, with contemporary furniture in a huge variety of finishes and colours. Using these furniture designs in conjunction with the right accessories and lighting can make any small room more comfortable and appear more spacious.