Open up your living room

Modern homes are getting more compact and while small kitchens, bathrooms and even bedrooms do not seem to bother most people, a spacious living area is highly desirable.

“The living area is usually the hub of a home and takes a lot of traffic. It therefore makes sense to put available space to good use or, if possible, enlarge the room,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.

“It is even worth considering structural changes if available space is perhaps taken up by a finicky little entrance hall, as was the fashion a couple of decades ago.

“Alternatively, combining an adjoining dining room and living room by knocking out an internal wall can make it easier to arrange furniture and create an illusion of more space. And installing a buffet bar or large counter between the dining area and kitchen may further enhance the feeling of spaciousness.”

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says a second option is to incorporate a patio or deck into the living space by installing French windows or wide sliding doors leading outside.

“And thirdly, it might be possible to raise the ceiling, enhancing the feeling of spaciousness by creating more volume vertically.”

But even if your structural options are limited, Everitt notes that there are several tricks to create an illusion of space, including the use of lightweight, versatile furniture that can easily be moved around to adapt the space to different needs.

“Clutter looks worse in small rooms, and storage chests that can double up as seating or table space are a good idea. Simple window treatments with clean lines also work better than elaborate swags or heavy drapes.

“Lighter colours for walls and furniture will reflect light, making the room appear larger, while reflective surfaces such as large mirrors can visually double the size of a room. And to visually enlarge a room at night, you can use several light sources that create pools of light, instead of a single central light fitting.”

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