Interior Design 101: The Ultimate Guide To Maximizing Your Space
How do you make the most out of the space in your home? Even when there is barely any?
If there is one wish we all have about our homes is that we had more space.
The average American home is just under 2500 square feet, this is much bigger than most other countries around the world. Yet, we all seem to struggle with not having enough space.
Why? Because we don't design the inside of our homes well. We waste space, we hoard clutter, and we simply aren't efficient enough.
However, most of you will be shocked by how easily you change this. There are a few simple tweaks that you can make to your home that will drastically improve how roomy your home feels.
The main thing you can do to improve the amount of space in your home is to add more storage and use it properly - any Marie Kondo fans will tell you that much.
Today, we are going to help you set up the best storage system for your home and share a few other interior design tips with you that will change your life.
Keep reading to learn how to transform your home.
The Benefits Of Extra Storage Space In Your Home
According to the experts, at least 10% of the total square footage of your home should be dedicated to storage. And most of our homes are severely lacking in the stuff.
There are so many benefits to having more storage in your home, that we are surprised most people don't have more of it.
You will notice that your life significantly improves when you organize your home and install enough storage.
Most people think that more storage will mean that they collect more clutter, but it is actually the opposite.
Space For Items To Be Relocated
There are going to be some rooms in your house that had no room for extra storage, so you can use smart storage in other rooms to make up for this.
You will also notice that when you are reorganizing your home, you will declutter the surfaces of your home. If you do not have anywhere to store these items then they will just end up cluttering tabletops again.
Finding Things Easily
If you have enough storage in your home, you will be able to assign every item you own a home.
If you then keep all the items in their homes, you will be able to find what you need when you need it.
This will save you a lot of time and frustration on a day-to-day basis. It will also make it a lot easier for you to share spaces with other people.
If you have ever worked a job that didn't have any organization in its storage cupboard you will know exactly what we mean.
Helps With The Moving Process (Short And Long Distance)
If everything in your home is properly stored then moving is going to be a really easy experience. Or, a bit easier than before.
One of the things we love most about our storage space is that we can keep everything in its storage while we move.
Less of our things get damaged, we spend less time packing and unpacking, and we can hire a smaller van to move our things.
Space For Seasonal Items
If you are someone who likes to decorate your home, travels a lot, or lives in a part of the world that experiences big changes in the weather throughout the year - then you will need to devote a good amount of your storage space to seasonal items.
Adding extra storage to your home means that you can store these items without having to sacrifice space elsewhere in your home.
Space For Efficient Work
If you have had to work from home (which most of us have experienced in the last 2 years), then you will know how hard it is to work when you are surrounded by clutter. Or when you don't have all the tools you need to your job close at hand.
When you add extra storage to your home, you are able to build storage that suits you and your needs. You can make your rooms and your storage work for you not against you.
Easier To Clean Your Home
When you store things inefficiently, cleaning becomes nearly impossible and takes a lot longer than it should do.
If everything in your home has a place and you know where it is meant to live - putting it back will be no problem.
You will also have fewer things stored on the floor, collecting dust and grime. You won't have to constantly move things around your room while you clean.
Things Remain Protected From Criminals
The average house break-in lasts for less than 10 minutes. The criminals know that they don't have very long to find what they are looking for and the longer they stay the more likely they are to get caught.
If the majority of the things you own are in drawers and stored neatly away, then it will talk the robbers a lot longer to go through your things. They will either be more likely to get caught or they will end up leaving with less.
Either works in your favor.
Money Can Be Saved By ‘Clearing Clutter’
Have you ever brought an item only to find out you already have it? Or have you replaced an item because you thought it was lost, only to find it a few days later?
If you have everything stored simply and in its correct place, these situations will happen a lot less.
You will also find that when everything has its place, you will be less tempted to make impulse purchases because you will have to change your storage system to fit it in.
Belongings Will Be Protected In Case Of A Fire
Finally, having the majority of your important items stored away from the floor or inside a cupboard will make it less likely for them to be damaged if something happens to your home.
Storing items off the floor will help to protect them from any flooding. And storing things in drawers or cupboards makes it less likely that they will be damaged in a fire, as the fire will have to burn through the storage before it gets to the items.
Tips To Maximize Space In Your Home
Now that we have talked to you about the importance of storage, we want to share with you a few other ways that you can maximize the space you have in your home.
We are going to look at the 4 most used areas of all our homes - the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, and the bedroom.
Combining these tips with the storage that we have talked about above is a foolproof way to get the most out of your home. They will make you feel like you and your home are working together, rather than fighting each other.
Maximizing Space In The Living Room
Let's start by looking at the changes you can make to your living space.
Everything we are going to mention in this section is a small change that won't take you more than a few hours. But they will make a huge difference to your space.
The first step, move your TV.
Mount Your TV
Throughout this article, you are going to hear us suggesting that you move things off the floor and store them on shelves. We're starting as we mean to go on with this tip.
We recommend ditching your bulky TV stand and moving your TV set onto the wall. This will create a lot more floor space and if you put the TV at the right height it will also make the room look taller.
As a general rule of thumb, we wouldn't store anything on the floor that you can store on a wall.
Purchase Exposed-Leg Furniture
Exposed-leg furniture has been the range in Scandinavian interior design for a few decades now and it is something we have also come to associate with calming, airy, and spacious rooms.
Why not channel a little bit of this Scandinavian magic into your home by installing some furniture with exposed legs and feet. We particularly recommend doing this with your couch, your coffee table, and your dining table.
This is a tip that will work in nearly every room in your home. There are many things that we can earn from the Scandinavians about interior design.
Choose the Right Art
Many people hang art in their homes because it makes their homes feel more unique and it breaks up areas of empty space on their walls.
This is something that lots of interior designers recommend doing. However, it is possible for you to pick art that does not compliment the room and actually makes it look smaller.
If you want to make the room feel bigger, don't go for a collage of smaller frames. Instead, pick one large piece of art that takes up around two-thirds of one wall and hang that.
Keep It Neutral
There are many reasons to keep a neutral color pallet in your room.
It never goes out of style. It's easy to find matching pieces. It makes the room look bigger. It makes the room more relaxing. And neutral furniture tends to be easier to clean.
When you design your room, think carefully about the color pallet that you want to keep. Think about what you already own and how you can work those items into the color scheme.
We find neutral works so well for most homes because it is hassle-free and it doesn't age as bright colors do.
Build Strategic Storage
Strategic storage is the answer to so many of your home problems.
Need more space to store things? Install storage. Empty space under the stairs. Install storage. Got an odd-shaped room? Build a storage space that balances out the room.
With just a little bit of DIY and some strategic thinking, you can turn any bit of unused space in your home into storage if you want to.
Using space that would otherwise go to waste as storage is a great way to improve your home. You will be able to get more out of the space without having to sacrifice space.
Pick A Large Rug
Rugs help to add dimension and visual interest to a room. They help to break up the floor space and make it look like there is a lot more space down there.
You need to make sure that you pick a rug that compliments the rest of the room. You should also pick out an easy-to-clean rug if you have pets or little ones.
Maximizing Space In The Kitchen
Many people actually spend more time in their kitchen than they do in their living room. If this is you, then you may want to start your refurbishment in the kitchen.
We will talk a little bit later about combining your kitchen and your dining room to free up more space. If you want to do that, you may have to make space for a dining table in your kitchen.
Here are 4 tips that will help you to make space in your kitchen and to help it feel less cluttered when you are spending your time in it.
Consider Open Wall Space
If you have free space on the wall of your kitchen then have a think about how you can use it.
It is better to store something on the wall than it is to store it on the top of the counter. It is more hygienic and it looks nicer too.
You might have space to hang your spoons and other cooking utensils above your splashback. You may have space above your coffee machine to hang your mugs.
You can even make sure of a few more unexpected storage places in your kitchen…
Use Magnetic Stripes
In a small kitchen, magnetic strips, small hooks, and floating shelves are going to be your best friend.
These tools provide you with alternative ways to store your items - you no longer have to store everything in your cupboards and on your countertops.
You can add hooks to the bottom of your counters and store your mugs there. You could attach some magnetic strips to the wall and then store knives and other metal utensils on these strips. If you have kids in the house, you might want to avoid that last one.
You will also notice that when things aren't hidden away in cupboards, you will get more use out of them.
Choose The Right Colors
Did you know that the physiological effects colors have on us are heavily influenced by where we grew up? This is something to be aware of when reading up on what colors make rooms look bigger.
On the whole, in America, we find that bright rooms look bigger. So, you want to try and make all your rooms look as bright as possible. You can do this by painting the walls with pale and soft colors.
Whites, creams, and pastel shades work really well for this particular purpose.
We have touched on this already, but it is important, so we want to go over it again. Nothing makes your kitchen look smaller than cluttered countertops.
If you have used all the tips above and you are still struggling to keep your countertops clean then you may want to think about storing items in other parts of the house - or decluttering.
If you find yourself decluttering your countertops, make sure that you put everything back in its "spot". Chefs do this in their kitchen and they call it mise en place.
Mise en place is French for establishment or everything in its place.
Maximizing Space In The Bedroom
While we spend most of our time in our bedrooms asleep, studies show that most people sleep better in a clean and well-organized room. You will also find that you relax more in a clutter-free environment.
Here are a few things you can do to maximize the space in your bedroom.
Purchase Multifunctional Furniture
If you want to make your bedroom feel more relaxed and less overwhelming then you should try to reduce the amount of furniture that you have in the room.
This may seem like an impossible task, as most of us only buy the furniture that we think we need. However, there are some pieces of multifunctional furniture that could change the way you see your bedroom.
We always recommend that everyone gets a bed with built-in storage. This can help you keep clutter levels to a minimum. We also recommend getting floating shelves, and multifunctional laundry storage.
Buy A Mini-shelf
Why not swap your large nightstand for a floating shelf on the wall next to your bed. This will save on floor space and it will help you to keep only the essentials next to your bed.
Mini-shelves are cheap and are a great alternative to a few items of bedroom furniture.
Brighten Up The Room
Did you know that daylight will make it easier for you to wake up in the morning? It's true! You will find that you wake up feeling more refreshed if you sleep in a bright room.
Now, we're not saying you should replace one of your bedroom walls with a wall of windows. But you should think about a few ways to bring more light into your room.
Try swapping out your dark curtains for something lighter and brighter. Install a mirror in your room. And add smaller lights and lamps to add extra sources of light into the room.
Clean The Closet
Lots of you were probably hoping not to see this piece of advice. Some of you will think it's cliche - but this piece of advice is given over and over again because it is one of the best pieces of advice out there.
If your room is full of clothes that you no longer wear, clothes that don't fit, and clothes that you've forgotten you own because you can't get to - how can you expect this room to be relaxing.
If clothes are your passion then you might want to consider organizing your closet and moving it out of the bedroom.
Pick Light Window Treatments
If you want your bedroom to feel bigger then you are going to want to make sure that your window fittings are light and slim.
If you have dark window frames and a dark window sill then you might want to consider painting them white or another light color that complements your room. This will instantly make the room feel more modern and bigger.
You should also consider what you hand around your window. Shutters can be a great option, particularly if they are light. You will want to avoid dark curtains made out of heavy-looking material like velvet.
Maximizing Space In The Bathroom
All of us have at least one bathroom in our homes and we ask these rooms to do a lot for us. We bathe and shower in them.
We go to the toilet in them. Some of us do our hair and makeup in them. Some of our pets even use them.
Despite how much time we spend in our bathrooms, many people don't put any time or effort into optimizing these rooms.
It is because spend so much time in them, that we will notice the biggest difference.
Here are 4 things you can do to make your bathroom work better.
Use Over-the-toilet Space
Take a look at your bathroom, is there anything on the wall above your toilet? No, well it's time to change that. That is wasted space.
Most people have storage space above their sink, but we should also be using the space above our toilet too. We can't use it for other purposes, so why not add some extra storage to the room.
We do, however, recommend that you place the storage high enough so no one hurts their heads as they are getting off the toilet. Otherwise, the sky is your limit.
Free Up Floor Space
If you want to make your bathroom feel bigger then you are going to want to make sure that you free up as much floor space as possible.
When our eyes look at a room, we tend to judge its size by the amount of space that we can see on the floor and how easy it is to move around that room.
The answer to making your bathroom look bigger and feel less cramped is floating shelves. These provide just as much storage as floor storage, but they trick the eye into thinking there is more space in the room.
Consider Adding A Mirror
Adding a mirror to a room is a trick all interior designers use at least once in every project - and why wouldn't they? It's effective and foolproof.
Designers add a mirror to a room for two reasons:
- It tricks the eye into thinking the room is bigger
- It brightens up the room, which in turn makes the room look bigger
The likelihood is that you already have a mirror in your bathroom. If this is the case, then you should consider swapping it out for a bigger mirror. This will bounce light around the room more effectively and will make it feel bigger.
Consider A Pocket Door
If you do not have enough space to fully open and close a door in a room then you should consider a pocket door. They feel a lot more glamorous than having your door slam against your toilet every time you walk into the room.
Pocket doors are doors that are built into the wall. When opened they slide into the wall rather than opening out into the wall.
These types of doors were very popular in the 1950-60s. However, they are a great way to make better use of your space and they will make a small bathroom feel bigger.
Using Dual-Purpose Rooms To Maximize Space
Before we leave you, we want to talk to you about making some of your rooms work harder for you by creating dual-purpose areas.
When you ask for a space to multitask for you - like having your home office double as a guest bedroom - you are making better use of that space, freeing up space elsewhere, and cutting down on the amount of cleaning you have to do.
While not all spaces can be combined - no one wants a bathroom kitchen combo - there are 3 dual-purpose rooms that we think all homes should have.
Laundry And Mudroom
If you have a separate laundry and mudroom then you are wasting space.
If you have a mudroom already in your home, then we recommend that you add as much extra storage to it as you can and move your laundry machines into that area.
Typically, mudrooms can be found by a home's back door furthest away from our sitting rooms. Why not move your laundry machines down there and enjoy the peace and quiet.
You will also find yourself dragging your laundry through your house less often, as you can take them straight outside to hang in the garden.
Check out this post for some more ideas about how to lay out a laundry and mudroom dual-purpose room.
Kitchen And Dining Room
Throughout history, having a separate kitchen and dining room has been a sign of wealth and power. However, they a really impractical unless you have a small army of servants to help you move the food back and forth.
There are a few benefits you will notice when combining your kitchen and dining room.
Firstly, you will save a lot of space in your home. If you have a dining room, you could free up a whole room and use it how you like. You will also be filling up any dead space in your kitchen.
Secondly, by putting seating in your kitchen, you will probably notice that your family or housemates start to hang out in there a lot more. Most people don't expect a social change when rearranging by we certainly did.
Just remember, don't put your dishwasher on until after everyone has finished eating.
Office And Guest Bedroom
The last two years have changed the way we all use our homes.
For many of us, before the pandemic, we would have considered a home office a waste of space.
But now, many of us aren't returning to the voice, or are working from home part-time.
You may be struggling to find space to build a working office in your home - we recommend turning your guest room into a dual-purpose space.
Swap the bed for a fold-out couch, install a comfy armchair, and set up your computer.
Most of us don't use our guest rooms often enough to justify having so much space dedicated to them in our homes. So, make better use of that space and make them a home office too.
In America, we live in some of the biggest homes in the world and we still feel like we don't have enough space.
While lots of us definitely have a few too many belongings, the majority of us feel like our home is too small because we don't know how to store what we own. In the article above, we will show you how to do just that.
We will also ask you to think about making some areas of your home multitask. Multitasking is a great way to get the most out of your space - and could even make you more productive and make cleaning easier for you.
If you feel like your home is too small then you are going to want to action some of the tips we have shared with you today. What are you waiting for?!