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As Australian houses continue getting smaller, homeowners are looking for new and creative ways to maximise space.
While property prices remain high and the cost of living increases, the average home size has shrunk to a 22-year low.
Skilled homeowners are now working with architects, designers and builders to make the most of what little space they have. The trend has also been inspired by the minimalist movement increasing the appeal of spaciousness and open-plan design.
If you’re feeling cramped and crowded, this article explores eight ways to maximise space at your place.
1. Embrace Open-Plan Living
An open-plan layout effortlessly creates space and the feeling of spaciousness in your home.
The most common open-plan layout combines the kitchen, living and dining areas into a single zone. This can be achieved at the initial design stage, or by removing non load-bearing walls in a renovation.
Open plan living can extend to other areas of the home too, such as resort-inspired bedrooms with open ensuites and sunken spas, or external kitchens to increase indoor-outdoor flow.
2. Build Up with a Loft
Rooms with high ceilings allow for building vertically – and adding a loft is an effective space-saving solution for expanding floor space, without the cost of extending the entire house.
You could choose to add another bedroom, or create a dedicated office space floating above the living area.
The integration of a loft pairs perfectly with the industrial look, maximising the space you have, while creating aesthetic architectural appeal.
3. Replace Doors with Sliding Walls
While the look of open-plan living might be popular, wide open spaces are not always practical.
Family homes and shared households often require a greater level of privacy than lofts and apartments, creating the need for a different construction technique.
Sliding walls or ceiling to floor doors provide the privacy of permanent walls, with the flexibility to open them up, creating space, natural light and air-flow throughout the home.
Further decorative features can be added through the selection of materials, which can range from timber and glass through to textured room dividers.
4. Get Crafty with Shelving & Storage
Even the smallest of homes can feel airy and bright with the right storage solutions.
When everything has its place, there is a sense of order and cleanliness, which makes a home more inviting and comfortable to live in.
But even the largest of homes can feel cramped if they become cluttered and wardrobes and drawers start spilling over.
If your biggest space challenge is finding room to put belongings, you might first want to start with decluttering your home.
Using floor to ceiling shelving is a great way to show off those prized possessions and book collections, while a hidden storage solution, such as under-staircase cabinetry, provides the perfect space for storing bulky items.
5. Smooth Lines with Minimalist Flooring
The eye is naturally drawn to the smooth and straight lines of minimalist style.
The shiny and sleek finish of polished concrete floors creates a lengthening and unifying effect which has made it a popular option for flooring in modern and minimalist-style homes.
Polished concrete reflects light, creating a more airy and lively ambience in the home.
And it is suitable for every room of the house, including wet areas, meaning the polished concrete floor can be extended throughout the property to tie the look together.
6. Let the Light Shine In
You can almost feel the walls close in around you inside dark homes with limited natural light.
Large windows and external glass doors allow sunlight into the home, while providing views and improved air flow to create the feeling of more space.
Ensuring adequate natural light can also provide the practical benefits of preventing mould and mildew, and is crucial to the thermal mass effects of polished concrete floors.
Polished concrete floors help to keep homes comfortable all year round with the storage and release of heat, or thermal energy. This process is most efficient when the concrete receives maximum sunlight exposure during the cooler months, not obstructed by curtains or rugs.
7. Living & Dining Outside
A traditional house extension usually involves knocking out walls and increasing the square footage. But your outdoor space provides room for growth, without heavy construction.
Creating an outdoor room is an increasingly popular way to make the most of your outdoor area, while encouraging occupants and visitors to spend time outside, too.
Outdoor kitchens are a great way to extend the living and dining area of your home, creating an open-plan design that seamlessly extends from the indoors.
Combining polished concrete floors with decorative concrete foundations for patios and outdoor areas is the perfect way to increase indoor-outdoor flow and maximise the space available in your home.
8. Create Outdoor Areas with Landscaping
Looking out over an open backyard can make your property feel smaller and less visually appealing.
A popular landscaping approach is to create multiple outdoor areas or zones with the use of landscaping techniques to create split levels, structure and guided form.
Decorative concrete can be used to create functional landscape elements from driveways and retaining walls to polished concrete benchtops. Concrete garden beds and pathways can help tame your garden, while concrete pool decks create a seamless contemporary finish and transform your backyard pool into a statement piece.
For more design inspiration using decorative concrete in your home and backyard, explore the other articles in the Geostone Blog.
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