Sunday 19 November 2017

10 ways to maximise your space

Before you extend up, down or out, think carefully about your space. A rethink may be all you need and, as interior designer Suzie McAdam tells Fran Power, there are clever ways to make the most of what you've got

Think about an attic conversion as a place to escape rather than a bedroom - look at the use of the room, it might make a good cinema or den, especially if you are limited in space on the ground floor. You might even find you have room for a rooftop terrace, subject to planning, of course.
Think about an attic conversion as a place to escape rather than a bedroom - look at the use of the room, it might make a good cinema or den, especially if you are limited in space on the ground floor. You might even find you have room for a rooftop terrace, subject to planning, of course.
Be critical of how you use space - Remember the priest's room? The Irish custom - especially in redbrick Victorian or Georgian homes - is to have a big front room that is never used. Period houses are designed on a grand scale with fine, high-ceilinged rooms that tend to become redundant if you build out a big extension to the rear. Instead, consider moving your kitchen into that room or another of the formal reception rooms. This Andrew Ryan kitchen takes advantage of the beautiful Georgian proportions and cornice work in one of the formal reception rooms to set off the units. Designer Dominic Ryan, says "Old houses tend to have their kitchens in the basement where it's dark, but nowadays we like to be more sociable and entertain in our kitchens and want to bring it up into the light." The clients for this kitchen wanted to use the Aga as the centrepiece and also a design that would sit respectfully with the period detailing. He warns against going too contemporary in these spaces. "Sometimes the units of ub
Bathromm glass panelling
Built-in storage - one of the biggest gripes I get from clients is their lack of space. Built-in storage is your saviour. Not only can you camouflage its depth by absorbing alcoves into its depths, but you can give a modern build character by adding panelling details. These clients wanted all the storage benefits of a wide sideboard but didn't want it to take up too much depth. So we built out bespoke wall-mounted units, by Michael Farrell Custom Furniture. Wall lights are by Buster & Punch.
Do you really need another en suite? In the heyday of the Celtic Tiger people put in as many en suites as possible. Often they weren't needed or are used only rarely, while storage space might be at a premium. In a smaller space, look at designing one well-functioning family bathroom and devoting the space you've saved to a walk-in wardrobe. In the long run, it will be more useful than another en suite in a guest room.
Use multifunctional furniture - it is a space saver that can add a style edge. Try IKEA for items like beds with built-in storage or this White Polar Bear piece for a quirky table-cum-shelf-cum-cocktail bar unit, by Ibride for madeindesign.co.uk. The yellow Womb Chair is by Knoll, at nest.co.uk.
A good lighting scheme is one of the few ways you can control and vary mood through the day and create a sense of space that might be lacking. Layer lighting with both downlights and pendants and then add lamps and/or wall lights. White light works really well behind shelving. Another lighting trick is to position lighting in the corner of a room - it creates the illusion of space by drawing your eye to the edges of the room. These copper pendants are by Plumen, marble Saarninen Dining Table by Knoll as above, Wishbone Chairs by Carl Hansen, as above.
Think broken plan not open plan - more and more I'm finding a push back against open plan. While wide open spaces can be wonderful for couples or in the early stages of parenthood, once children reach the age of reason, a family needs private spaces. Separation is important - I hate looking at dirty pots or pans when I'm sitting down to eat. Here different levels and a customised partition create a sense of broken plan, while the divider increases storage and offers a display area. Bonus? It works well in darker rooms as it allows light to shine through. The Wishbone chair is a classic Danish design by Carl Hansen. For a custom piece of shelving like this, try Newcastle Design.
Add a fanlight - using the full height over an internal door lets light flood through without mucking about with proportions of a room. It works especially well in linking an extension to the existing house (see architect Amanda Bone's design for a hallway), or where there is a dark passageway or landing. You can use opaque glass or decal vinyl prints in a kid's room.
Built-in seating in your kitchen - think about adding built-in seating around your dinner table. It looks tidier, takes up less space, means you don't have to splash out on so many chairs and you can extract even more value by adding pull-out drawers underneath the seat. In this Dublin 2 space, the clients wanted a space that would act as a both a dining area and somewhere to escape to with a magazine. For similar, try Michael Farrell Custom Furniture, grid pendant light by Britelux Lighting.
Suzie McAdam

1 Think broken plan, not open plan. I'm finding more and more that there is a pushback against open plan. While wide-open spaces can be wonderful for couples or people in the early stages of parenthood, once children reach the age of reason, a family needs private spaces. Separation is important - I hate looking at dirty pots or pans when I'm sitting down to eat.

Here, different levels and a customised partition create a sense of broken plan, while the divider offers storage and a display area. Bonus? It works well in darker rooms, as it allows light through. The Wishbone chair is a classic Danish design by Carl Hansen. For a custom piece of shelving like this, try Newcastle Design.

2 One of the biggest gripes I get from clients is their lack of space - so I tell them that built-in storage is their saviour.

Not only can you camouflage its depth by absorbing alcoves into it, but you can also give a modern build character by adding panelling details.

Bathromm glass panelling
Bathromm glass panelling
Be critical of how you use space - Remember the priest's room? The Irish custom - especially in redbrick Victorian or Georgian homes - is to have a big front room that is never used. Period houses are designed on a grand scale with fine, high-ceilinged rooms that tend to become redundant if you build out a big extension to the rear. Instead, consider moving your kitchen into that room or another of the formal reception rooms. This Andrew Ryan kitchen takes advantage of the beautiful Georgian proportions and cornice work in one of the formal reception rooms to set off the units. Designer Dominic Ryan, says "Old houses tend to have their kitchens in the basement where it's dark, but nowadays we like to be more sociable and entertain in our kitchens and want to bring it up into the light." The clients for this kitchen wanted to use the Aga as the centrepiece and also a design that would sit respectfully with the period detailing. He warns against going too contemporary in these spaces. "Sometimes the units of ub
Built-in storage - one of the biggest gripes I get from clients is their lack of space. Built-in storage is your saviour. Not only can you camouflage its depth by absorbing alcoves into its depths, but you can give a modern build character by adding panelling details. These clients wanted all the storage benefits of a wide sideboard but didn't want it to take up too much depth. So we built out bespoke wall-mounted units, by Michael Farrell Custom Furniture. Wall lights are by Buster & Punch.
Do you really need another en suite? In the heyday of the Celtic Tiger people put in as many en suites as possible. Often they weren't needed or are used only rarely, while storage space might be at a premium. In a smaller space, look at designing one well-functioning family bathroom and devoting the space you've saved to a walk-in wardrobe. In the long run, it will be more useful than another en suite in a guest room.
Use multifunctional furniture - it is a space saver that can add a style edge. Try IKEA for items like beds with built-in storage or this White Polar Bear piece for a quirky table-cum-shelf-cum-cocktail bar unit, by Ibride for madeindesign.co.uk. The yellow Womb Chair is by Knoll, at nest.co.uk.
A good lighting scheme is one of the few ways you can control and vary mood through the day and create a sense of space that might be lacking. Layer lighting with both downlights and pendants and then add lamps and/or wall lights. White light works really well behind shelving. Another lighting trick is to position lighting in the corner of a room - it creates the illusion of space by drawing your eye to the edges of the room. These copper pendants are by Plumen, marble Saarninen Dining Table by Knoll as above, Wishbone Chairs by Carl Hansen, as above.
Think broken plan not open plan - more and more I'm finding a push back against open plan. While wide open spaces can be wonderful for couples or in the early stages of parenthood, once children reach the age of reason, a family needs private spaces. Separation is important - I hate looking at dirty pots or pans when I'm sitting down to eat. Here different levels and a customised partition create a sense of broken plan, while the divider increases storage and offers a display area. Bonus? It works well in darker rooms as it allows light to shine through. The Wishbone chair is a classic Danish design by Carl Hansen. For a custom piece of shelving like this, try Newcastle Design.
Add a fanlight - using the full height over an internal door lets light flood through without mucking about with proportions of a room. It works especially well in linking an extension to the existing house (see architect Amanda Bone's design for a hallway), or where there is a dark passageway or landing. You can use opaque glass or decal vinyl prints in a kid's room.
Built-in seating in your kitchen - think about adding built-in seating around your dinner table. It looks tidier, takes up less space, means you don't have to splash out on so many chairs and you can extract even more value by adding pull-out drawers underneath the seat. In this Dublin 2 space, the clients wanted a space that would act as a both a dining area and somewhere to escape to with a magazine. For similar, try Michael Farrell Custom Furniture, grid pendant light by Britelux Lighting.
Suzie McAdam

These clients wanted all the storage benefits of a wide sideboard but didn't want it to take up too much depth. So we built some bespoke, wall-mounted units, by Michael Farrell Custom Furniture.

The wall lights are by Buster + Punch.

3 Think about adding built-in seating around your dinner table. It looks tidier, takes up less space and means you don't have to splash out on so many chairs. You can extract even more value by adding pull-out drawers underneath the seat.

In this Dublin 2 space, the clients wanted somewhere that would act as both a dining area and a place they could escape to with a magazine.

For similar, try Michael Farrell Custom Furniture. The grid pendant light is by Britelux Lighting.

4 Use multifunctional furniture as it is a space saver that can add a style edge. Try IKEA for items such as beds with built-in storage. This white polar bear piece is a quirky table-cum-shelf-cum-cocktail bar unit by Ibride for madeindesign.co.uk. The yellow Womb Chair is by Knoll, at nest.co.uk.

Built-in storage - one of the biggest gripes I get from clients is their lack of space. Built-in storage is your saviour. Not only can you camouflage its depth by absorbing alcoves into its depths, but you can give a modern build character by adding panelling details. These clients wanted all the storage benefits of a wide sideboard but didn't want it to take up too much depth. So we built out bespoke wall-mounted units, by Michael Farrell Custom Furniture. Wall lights are by Buster & Punch.
Built-in storage - one of the biggest gripes I get from clients is their lack of space. Built-in storage is your saviour. Not only can you camouflage its depth by absorbing alcoves into its depths, but you can give a modern build character by adding panelling details. These clients wanted all the storage benefits of a wide sideboard but didn't want it to take up too much depth. So we built out bespoke wall-mounted units, by Michael Farrell Custom Furniture. Wall lights are by Buster & Punch.
Be critical of how you use space - Remember the priest's room? The Irish custom - especially in redbrick Victorian or Georgian homes - is to have a big front room that is never used. Period houses are designed on a grand scale with fine, high-ceilinged rooms that tend to become redundant if you build out a big extension to the rear. Instead, consider moving your kitchen into that room or another of the formal reception rooms. This Andrew Ryan kitchen takes advantage of the beautiful Georgian proportions and cornice work in one of the formal reception rooms to set off the units. Designer Dominic Ryan, says "Old houses tend to have their kitchens in the basement where it's dark, but nowadays we like to be more sociable and entertain in our kitchens and want to bring it up into the light." The clients for this kitchen wanted to use the Aga as the centrepiece and also a design that would sit respectfully with the period detailing. He warns against going too contemporary in these spaces. "Sometimes the units of ub
Bathromm glass panelling
Do you really need another en suite? In the heyday of the Celtic Tiger people put in as many en suites as possible. Often they weren't needed or are used only rarely, while storage space might be at a premium. In a smaller space, look at designing one well-functioning family bathroom and devoting the space you've saved to a walk-in wardrobe. In the long run, it will be more useful than another en suite in a guest room.
Use multifunctional furniture - it is a space saver that can add a style edge. Try IKEA for items like beds with built-in storage or this White Polar Bear piece for a quirky table-cum-shelf-cum-cocktail bar unit, by Ibride for madeindesign.co.uk. The yellow Womb Chair is by Knoll, at nest.co.uk.
A good lighting scheme is one of the few ways you can control and vary mood through the day and create a sense of space that might be lacking. Layer lighting with both downlights and pendants and then add lamps and/or wall lights. White light works really well behind shelving. Another lighting trick is to position lighting in the corner of a room - it creates the illusion of space by drawing your eye to the edges of the room. These copper pendants are by Plumen, marble Saarninen Dining Table by Knoll as above, Wishbone Chairs by Carl Hansen, as above.
Think broken plan not open plan - more and more I'm finding a push back against open plan. While wide open spaces can be wonderful for couples or in the early stages of parenthood, once children reach the age of reason, a family needs private spaces. Separation is important - I hate looking at dirty pots or pans when I'm sitting down to eat. Here different levels and a customised partition create a sense of broken plan, while the divider increases storage and offers a display area. Bonus? It works well in darker rooms as it allows light to shine through. The Wishbone chair is a classic Danish design by Carl Hansen. For a custom piece of shelving like this, try Newcastle Design.
Add a fanlight - using the full height over an internal door lets light flood through without mucking about with proportions of a room. It works especially well in linking an extension to the existing house (see architect Amanda Bone's design for a hallway), or where there is a dark passageway or landing. You can use opaque glass or decal vinyl prints in a kid's room.
Built-in seating in your kitchen - think about adding built-in seating around your dinner table. It looks tidier, takes up less space, means you don't have to splash out on so many chairs and you can extract even more value by adding pull-out drawers underneath the seat. In this Dublin 2 space, the clients wanted a space that would act as a both a dining area and somewhere to escape to with a magazine. For similar, try Michael Farrell Custom Furniture, grid pendant light by Britelux Lighting.
Suzie McAdam

5 A good lighting scheme is one of the few ways you can control and vary mood through the day and create a sense of space that might be lacking. Layer lighting with both downlights and pendants then add lamps and/or wall lights. White light works really well behind shelving.

Another trick is to position lighting in the corner of a room, as it creates the illusion of space by drawing your eye to the edges of the room.

These copper pendants are by Plumen, the marble Saarninen Dining Table is by Knoll, and the Wishbone Chairs are by Carl Hansen, as before.

6 Be critical of how you use space. Remember the priest's room? The Irish custom - especially in red-brick Victorian homes - is to have a big front room that is never used. Period houses are designed on a grand scale with fine, high-ceilinged rooms that tend to become redundant if you build out a big extension to the rear. Why waste them? Instead, consider moving your kitchen into that room or another of the formal reception rooms. This kitchen by Andrew Ryan takes advantage of the beautiful Georgian proportions and cornice work in one of the formal reception rooms to set off the units. Designer Dominic Ryan of Andrew Ryan says: "Old houses tended to have their kitchens in the basement, where it's dark, but nowadays we like to be more sociable and entertain in our kitchens and so it's a good idea to move the kitchen up into the light."

The clients for this kitchen wanted to use the Aga as the centrepiece and also needed a design that would sit respectfully with the period detailing. Dominic warns against going too contemporary in a space like this and adds: "Sometimes the units of uber-contemporary kitchens, while they function well, can be too short in height and don't look great."

7 Do you really need another en suite? In the heyday of the Celtic Tiger, people put in as many en suites as possible. Often they weren't needed or were used only rarely, while storage space might be at a premium. In a smaller space, look at designing one well-functioning family bathroom and devoting the space you've saved to a walk-in wardrobe. In the long run, it will be more useful than another en suite. This large walk-in is by Plainenglishdesign.co.uk

Add a fanlight - using the full height over an internal door lets light flood through without mucking about with proportions of a room. It works especially well in linking an extension to the existing house (see architect Amanda Bone's design for a hallway), or where there is a dark passageway or landing. You can use opaque glass or decal vinyl prints in a kid's room.
Add a fanlight - using the full height over an internal door lets light flood through without mucking about with proportions of a room. It works especially well in linking an extension to the existing house (see architect Amanda Bone's design for a hallway), or where there is a dark passageway or landing. You can use opaque glass or decal vinyl prints in a kid's room.
Be critical of how you use space - Remember the priest's room? The Irish custom - especially in redbrick Victorian or Georgian homes - is to have a big front room that is never used. Period houses are designed on a grand scale with fine, high-ceilinged rooms that tend to become redundant if you build out a big extension to the rear. Instead, consider moving your kitchen into that room or another of the formal reception rooms. This Andrew Ryan kitchen takes advantage of the beautiful Georgian proportions and cornice work in one of the formal reception rooms to set off the units. Designer Dominic Ryan, says "Old houses tend to have their kitchens in the basement where it's dark, but nowadays we like to be more sociable and entertain in our kitchens and want to bring it up into the light." The clients for this kitchen wanted to use the Aga as the centrepiece and also a design that would sit respectfully with the period detailing. He warns against going too contemporary in these spaces. "Sometimes the units of ub
Bathromm glass panelling
Built-in storage - one of the biggest gripes I get from clients is their lack of space. Built-in storage is your saviour. Not only can you camouflage its depth by absorbing alcoves into its depths, but you can give a modern build character by adding panelling details. These clients wanted all the storage benefits of a wide sideboard but didn't want it to take up too much depth. So we built out bespoke wall-mounted units, by Michael Farrell Custom Furniture. Wall lights are by Buster & Punch.
Do you really need another en suite? In the heyday of the Celtic Tiger people put in as many en suites as possible. Often they weren't needed or are used only rarely, while storage space might be at a premium. In a smaller space, look at designing one well-functioning family bathroom and devoting the space you've saved to a walk-in wardrobe. In the long run, it will be more useful than another en suite in a guest room.
Use multifunctional furniture - it is a space saver that can add a style edge. Try IKEA for items like beds with built-in storage or this White Polar Bear piece for a quirky table-cum-shelf-cum-cocktail bar unit, by Ibride for madeindesign.co.uk. The yellow Womb Chair is by Knoll, at nest.co.uk.
A good lighting scheme is one of the few ways you can control and vary mood through the day and create a sense of space that might be lacking. Layer lighting with both downlights and pendants and then add lamps and/or wall lights. White light works really well behind shelving. Another lighting trick is to position lighting in the corner of a room - it creates the illusion of space by drawing your eye to the edges of the room. These copper pendants are by Plumen, marble Saarninen Dining Table by Knoll as above, Wishbone Chairs by Carl Hansen, as above.
Think broken plan not open plan - more and more I'm finding a push back against open plan. While wide open spaces can be wonderful for couples or in the early stages of parenthood, once children reach the age of reason, a family needs private spaces. Separation is important - I hate looking at dirty pots or pans when I'm sitting down to eat. Here different levels and a customised partition create a sense of broken plan, while the divider increases storage and offers a display area. Bonus? It works well in darker rooms as it allows light to shine through. The Wishbone chair is a classic Danish design by Carl Hansen. For a custom piece of shelving like this, try Newcastle Design.
Built-in seating in your kitchen - think about adding built-in seating around your dinner table. It looks tidier, takes up less space, means you don't have to splash out on so many chairs and you can extract even more value by adding pull-out drawers underneath the seat. In this Dublin 2 space, the clients wanted a space that would act as a both a dining area and somewhere to escape to with a magazine. For similar, try Michael Farrell Custom Furniture, grid pendant light by Britelux Lighting.
Suzie McAdam

8 Think about an attic conversion as a place of escape rather than a bedroom. It might make a good cinema or den, especially if you are limited in the amount of space you have on the ground floor.

Try Small Spaces architects for ideas. Furniture, left, by oxdenmarq.com.

9 Add a fanlight, because adding a window over an internal door lets light flood through without mucking about with proportions of a room. This technique works especially well in linking an extension to the existing house, or where there is a dark passageway or landing. You can use opaque glass or decal vinyl prints in a kid's room. Kitchens and fitting, above, by plainenglishdesign.co.uk

10A favourite space-enhancing trick is using glass and mirrors - and it still works a treat. In a bathroom, instead of hanging a small mirror, glaze the entire space. Alteratively use mirrored glass at the end of a corridor, or glaze the alcove either side of a fireplace in a dark room to add the impression of spaciousness. Antique mirrored glass, above, from £450 (ex VAT) per sqm; rupertbevan.com

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