Title image: Chris Tubbs
Be canny with how you organise space and unleash the full potential of a small property
Smart design and dual-function furniture can create versatile, flexible interiors. These five ideas make the most of every inch no matter what the size of your property.
Track down multi-functional furniture
In a tight space a piece of furniture designed to have more than one function can be a boon. If you don’t have a guest bedroom, choose a sofa bed rather than a sofa for your living space.
If you lack a study space, pick a table for your bedroom that you can use as a dressing table but that can also function as a desk whenever you need one. Kitchen islands are the perfect multifunctional piece of design and can house sinks or hobs while also providing storage below and even a breakfast bar for eating on the opposite side. Look for butcher’s blocks - they can provide an extra mobile work surface in a small kitchen.
Use the space under the stairs
Image: Waind Gohil Architects
The space under the stairs is often overlooked for its design and storage potential. Fit shelves and hooks and store books, shoes, coats and hats. Decide if you want the space to be open or closed. If you need access to gas and electric metres, choose baskets or boxes so you can pull them out as and when you need to.
Or why not go for a small cupboard or sideboard that you can still move when necessary? That way you have a tabletop for lighting and a catch-all for hallway paraphernalia, such as keys or phone charging.
Go mobile wherever you can
Image: Deborah Berke Partners
Furniture and home storage that you can move around easily frees up the function and look of a room and makes cleaning and maintenance easier.
Lots of furniture and home storage is now designed with the added feature of castors and these designs make for fabulously versatile living spaces. Look out for beds, storage units, trolleys, butcher’s blocks, desks, office chairs and computer stations with added manoeuvrability.
Push furniture and bookcases out of the way for entertaining or exercise, reconfigure a space for overnight guests or change a room’s use if you lack space elsewhere.
Slot in a desk for a study
Image: Inglis Architects
If you don’t have a dedicated study, look for a streamlined desk and chair that you can slot into the corner of another room.
A bedroom, living room or kitchen might work, or perhaps there is an area you could requisition on a landing or hallway. Look for desks with built-in storage so you don’t have to find extra space for that too.
Create a library on a wall
Image: Studio Four
Storing books and paperwork on wall shelves rather than bookcases will help free up floor space. Confine your library to a single wall and run the shelves wall to wall and floor to ceiling. If your chosen wall has a door or windows, use the space above those too.
Make an inventory of what you will need to store on your shelves and add a contingency for a little extra. Include closed storage for DVDs and office-type paperwork. Invest in a library ladder for the harder to reach areas and fit lighting to illuminate darker spots.
Words: Julie Butterworth
Find lots more space-saving design inspiration at Grand Designs Live