Turning those underused or never used spaces into welcoming areas in your home

3 May 2021

We’ve become more attuned to our homes than ever before and we want to make better use of the available space.

That means we are all looking at how we can make the most of every nook and cranny in our home. How we can turn those underused spaces, such as under the stairs, into an area the family, or the kids want to spend time in.

Celebrated architect Tina Engelen suggests homeowners look for cheap, sustainable ways of turning an underutilised space into a comfy, sought-after, even luxurious part of your abode.

“For me, luxury is not all about marble and bronze, it’s about feeling comfortable in the space, about living in proportion,” she said.

“Having a little bit of an area to yourself can be a luxury.

“Think about it from a human perspective, not a design perspective. How would you like the space to be? What would you like to sit in it?

“How would you like to feel in it?”

This might mean repurposing an old couch for that spot under the stair for a bit of Netflix or to read a good book, with a good footrest handy to help you really feel at home.

A rug, large or small, can give any space a cosy, welcoming feel and help to create it as a separate, distinctive area.

A table or a floor lamp can also create a different mood and give a smaller area a different feel to other parts of the house.

If you’re thinking of creating a new home for your in-house movies, you might even want to paint the wall a dark colour. (If it fits in with the rest of the house of course, however abstract)

With the incredible growth of the home office, different areas allow us to designate them for different activities, including for work and learning such as the kids’ homework or relaxing.

Modern technology has allowed us to make the most of space we might once have shunned or left old sporting equipment to die in.

This includes reverse cycling air conditioning that might warm a once rather cool or draughty corner of the home. Or smart speakers that can pipe music into one corner of one room which the rest of the home remains quiet.

If you are thinking of making a larger investment, you could consider creating a bespoke space.

“Lockdown saw Australians relishing their personal spaces and actively seeking to make them more comfortable, more functional and more beautiful,” says Selma Rajah, editor at homeware and furniture retailer Temple & Webster.

This can add to your lifestyle enjoyment and also the capital value of your home. It might take the form of a bay window or extending your living space out onto an unused courtyard or patio. Or even turning the patio into another room or office.

Creating a new space can be a seasonalist pursuit too. That draughty space that might be unused in winter, might be a cool and refreshing place to hang in the warmer months.

Your view from that newly created space can also be important.

“Sightlines are important, Ms Engelen says.

“A long corridor can cut off a sense of wellbeing but we are drawn to light, we are drawn to windows and we also like having a sightline to the front or back door.”





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