How to enhance your home’s layout

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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As any homeowner (or renter) will agree: one’s living space should be much more than pretty colours and comfortable furniture. Your home (whether that is a two-storey house in the suburbs or a seventh-floor apartment in the city) should offer you flexibility, style and comfort, and allow you to move from one spot to the next as quickly and easily as possible. 

In today’s times, more people are flocking to the cities, carving out homes for themselves in the urban setting and doing what they can to make their floor plans (and space) work for them. Sometimes that entails dialling a contractor for some major renovations; and sometimes it is simpler, with some small installations and simple additions of new elements to transform a small and complicated space into a supple and free-flowing environment. 

Today, we share a few tips to help optimise your home layout to make your personal space work for you!

Some stylish screens

Room dividers (or screens) come in a collection of sizes, styles and designs perfect for any house – from Asian-style rice paper screens to sleek and gleaming folding screens. And not only do they add an excellent décor element to your room (and home), they also bring in other benefits: 

• Zone-creator: Want to use one room for multiple purposes (say, a study/work station in your bedroom)? Section off your office area by surrounding your desk with a divider screen. Blocking the view of your work space from your bed will make for more peaceful slumbering, and also minimizes the distractions for a more productive work area.  

• Privacy partner: Use a room divider to block off a particular area from view (for example, a concealed dressing space). This is a great element for that guest room, as it adds a feeling of security.  

• Clutter, be gone: Add a room divider that accents the look and style of your space, and place storage and organisation elements behind it (such as laundry hampers).  

• Decorative: Why not add a room divider as a pure décor element? Place one against a blank wall in your living room to add the look of unique texture, or unfold one behind your bed for a unique headboard. Be creative! 

For some modern lace screens and room dividers, see what the professionals of Lace Furniture have up their designer sleeves.

Slide for some space

modern Houses by McClean Design
McClean Design

Blue Jay Way

McClean Design

A sliding door presents bucket loads of benefits when installed in a house: 

• More natural light: The amount of natural light that enters a room is immediately increased. This is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also provides health benefits, such as higher energy levels and an improved mood.  

• Improved view: A clear glass sliding door brings the outside scenery into your house – whether you have a lush garden or a sea view, your visibility of the outdoors will improve dramatically.  

• Less electricity: More natural light during the day saves you energy costs.  

• Increased practical space: A sliding door doesn’t need room to swing open, saving you a bit of space when you don’t have any to spare.  

• Safety: A shatterproof glass finishing immediately increases your sliding door safety (especially if you have little ones running around).

Open wide

asian Living room by atelier137 ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN OFFICE
atelier137 ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN OFFICE

和室+リビング~037軽井沢 I さんの家

atelier137 ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN OFFICE

Why settle for rigid walls and work (or live) your way around them, when it can be the other way around? Opt for a movable partition instead, allowing you to free up space in an instant.  

Call them flexible walls, or call them movable partitions, but these dividers of zones help you to make the most out of any space, from a kitchen and dining area, to a spare bedroom and home gym. The Japanese have long ago discovered the benefits of movable partitions in their homes. They allow you to instantly create a new space within a single room to meet your housing needs. 

Simply open them to enhance your room and transform your area into an open-plan space, and close it again to regain some privacy.

Under the stairs

Do you really need to free up some space? It’s all about the stairs – shelves and storage space under a staircase is a divine trick, whether open and displayed proudly, or hidden inside a built-in cupboard. 

And if your staircase is wide enough, why not place a desk and your PC for your own little home office space. Or how about a mini library? Just place a comfy chair along with your bookcase for your own reading corner. 

As the staircase is usually placed in the hallway (which is the coming and going point of the entire house), this might be a good place to store your items you need when going out – such as coats, hats, umbrellas, etc. Or how about using this closed-off area to store your winter/summer clothes, freeing up some closet space? 

homify hint: Wishing your house had come with a wine cellar? While you save up for one, store your wine bottles in neat wine racks right under your stairs!

Embrace transparency

modern Dining room by Fables de murs
Fables de murs

Cheminée dans une salle à manger

Fables de murs

When it comes to see-through materials for the home, we have choices that stretch further than a mere window or sliding door. Furniture made from sheer, transparent materials (such as glass or clear acrylic) can be a perfect addition to any space-limited room. They offer functionality without visual clutter, and aids in making any room look more spacious (the same way that a mirror does). Plus, they exude one chic ambience! 

And ever thought about adding a skylight to really light up a room? Along with glass flooring (yes, it’s not just for nightclubs any more), glass ceiling elements can really bring nature inside, and allow you to enjoy beautiful views (blue skies by day, glittering stars by night). Gone are the days when you felt cramped in by a tiled floor and gypsum board ceiling. 

Whether it’s a skylight or glass walls, see these 5 Homes That Maximise Natural Light.

Where there’s a wall, there’s a way

The goal of any wall removal project is to connect rooms and create an open-floor plan. So how about breaking out an exterior wall to connect your external surroundings with your interior room? Turn that cramped room into a spacious patio perfect for some al fresco dining. This will bring in an abundance of light and space, and create a better flow for your interior. 

But be careful before you grab that sledgehammer. Taking down a wall means serious home remodelling and a complete transformation of your house’s layout. A licensed and experienced contractor / architect / structural engineer needs to be consulted before you take this step. 

And remember: removing a wall on the ground floor of a two-storey house is not the same as breaking out some space in a single-storey home. The costs can be much higher, and a structural engineer should definitely be consulted to see if your remaining walls will be enough to accommodate the stress from the second storey.

And there you have it – some steps to improve your home’s layout (some easier than others). What other tips can you add? 
modern Houses by Casas inHAUS

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