Monday 20 November 2017

Think outside the box to use the space in your home to its potential

Eva Byrne

We are cracking up in our house. We can't move house and extending doesn't seem worth the money. What can we do?

Architects know that a good house is one that meets your needs with regard to space, light and storage so address each of these in turn.

With regards to space, think in terms of making the most of the space you have and of how you use it. Your needs will change over the years.

With children the focus is on toy storage and play areas. With teenagers the need is for private space and when retired, people appreciate room to relax in the sun.

For all life stages, the kitchen/dining/family room is the heart of the home today. Perhaps you may need to explore the potential to create such a room by joining two rooms or by creating a large opening between them.

Toys and play could then be accommodated to the front of the house, with this room later earmarked as a teenage den.

To maximise your space, assess your furniture layouts. Explore if rooms are best matched to their use. Make each room work as hard as possible.

When seeking to maximise light, think in terms of getting light in and of reflecting this light to its full. Lighter, unified colour schemes, including finishes, furniture and accessories, will make any space feel bigger.

Don't hesitate to paint natural timber where this will improve light reflection. And do not assume that first-floor rooms are always brighter than those at ground level and yet can only function as bedrooms.

Assess where it might be possible to provide a rooflight which, if located correctly, could allow direct sunlight in.

Assess your storage needs. Identify what is to be stored and provide appropriate, convenient storage throughout the house.

Adjustable shelving can change with your needs. Use every centimetre of space by providing built-in storage where appropriate.

Painted mdf is a cheap, bright solution here.

Pull-out storage under the stairs will make this area fully accessible.

If you have a query for our architects contact: soconnell@riai.ie

Eva Byrne is an architect and design consultant who advises home owners on how to make the most of space, light and storage in their homes. Her website is www.houseology.ie

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