Firstly, it’s totally normal to feel claustrophobic in times like these. The lockdown can be especially challenging if you’re sharing a small living space with friends, family or flatmates. Let’s also not forget the poor souls (me) who don’t have a balcony or garden to joyously soak up the vitamin D – I’ll be stick to scoffing banana bread in the dark.
We’re a month into lockdown in the UK and if you’ve been playing by the rules, you probably haven’t been out much. If your living space is a little bit poky it can feel as though the walls are closing in after all this time being safe (not stuck) indoors.
We’re finding ourselves getting lost absorbing all the smugsolation content on social media. This voyeurism of other people’s homes and lives can boost our desires for a bigger, trendier, more functional home. But you don’t need to take out a new mortgage to create a new avenue of space within your own home. There’s plenty of hacks, products and illusions that can give your home a roomier vibe during the lockdown and beyond.
Investing in multifunctional furniture is hands-down the most impactful change you can make to your home. Stuck for storage? Why not opt for a bed or a sofa that has built-in storage. Are there only a couple of you, but you’d like to host an occasional post-lockdown dinner party? Modern extending dining tables are a great addition if you need to mix up your seating arrangements. Need more everyday space but would like your grandma to stay from time-to-time? Trade your spare bed for a sofa bed.
When we shop for anything for our home, we tend to get only what we think we need. For instance, most of us have curtains that cover the window and only the window, because that’s all we really need. But, if we purchased curtains a few measures bigger to fit from ceiling to floor, it would give the illusion of a wider and taller room. This goes for many things; book shelves, wardrobes, mirrors, plants etc. If you spot an unused space above anything in your home right now – it’s time to scale-up. It’s like upgrading the guy you’re dating for a taller version.
Not all storage or space-saving solutions will be applicable to your home. Allow yourself to be open to inspiration from a range of avenues like TV and social media and become inventive. Merge tips and tricks you’ve seen from various places into your own bespoke solution. Set some time aside to watch a few episodes of Queer Eye or Tidying up with Marie Kondo on Netflix to get you thinking outside the box. You could install display shelves above your doors, replace a restricted coffee table with a side table behind the sofa, swap your hinged doors for sliding ones. One thing you’ll learn from any source of inspiration is the art of decluttering. If something doesn’t spark joy to you – donate it to someone who’ll appreciate it.
Stand on tip-toes
You know how standing on your tip-toes or wearing high shoes apparently enhances your legs and bottom? This actually applies to interiors, too. By lifting items off the floor, it creates a weightless feel to the room giving the illusion of more floor space. This hack works best with bulky items like beds, chests of drawers or sofas. It makes them appear more delicate than they actually are as there’s more space for light to peek underneath and around them. How exactly do we lift furniture off the floor? Invest in furniture with exposed legs or buy some furniture legs online and channel your inner Nick Knowles.
Meet the focal point
The focal point is the most visually interesting feature in a room, most often the living room. This could be a fireplace or anything eye-catching that’s a big conversation-starter when guests come round. Furniture Choice’s Interior Style Advisor Rebecca Snowdon suggests to “score major style points by introducing a feature wall, a bold piece of artwork. This is a fun opportunity to introduce a part of your style and personality through decor.” Rebecca advises introducing a large mirror as the focal point, “mirrors create the illusion of space when placed strategically to reflect light and brighten the room.” If you want to be on-trend for 2020, opt for a rimless asymmetrical mirror.
Choose your colours wisely
Most of us already know that a lighter decorated room makes a room look bigger and brighter. We might launch ourselves at the purest shade of white, but this isn’t necessarily the most strategic colour to make a room feel bigger. This doesn’t mean resorting back to our magnolia ways either. Opt for neutral tones with a little bit of warmth to make the space feel airy and open rather than cold and empty. To create the illusion of further away walls, you could try painting the skirting boards and door frames a lighter colour than the wall. Accents of metallics and dark colours add contrast that gives the room vibrancy but leaves it feeling roomy.
Light ‘em up
Lighting is often forgotten about, but it is the most fundamental and easily accessible hack for any poky room. Make the most of any natural light you have by using simple curtains or blinds. If you’re really struggling to let the natural light in you can uncover windows and leave them bare. If the room is suitable and you’re nosy neighbour-free, there’s no rule against it. If you live in a basement flat and that’s just not possible, opt for fancy pendant light fittings and floor lamps.