You're desperate for more space. Your home feels cramped and uncomfortable and you'd love a home that looks more like your pinterest board.
More space and more beautiful space is what the majority of our clients are looking for.
My favourite client brief from 2017 was “Please help me make my home more lovable”. This client didn't want to build more space, but wanted to reconfigure the space he had and incorporate better storage solutions so that his home both looked and felt better to be in.
Please help me make my home more lovable
Building more space is a dream for many. It's a big investment and getting finance in place doesn't exactly happen overnight for most of us. Big developers spend around £1,000 per square meter for big housing developments. Most of us can't achieve that price, without physically doing the labour ourselves, because we don't have their economies of scale.
Typically in the UK it costs about £1,500-2,000 per square meter of new-build space. This means that to build the space for a standard wardrobe, roughly W1.5m and D0.6m, this is likely to cost you between £1,500 and £2,000. Quite a lot of money for hanging some extra clothes especially since it's estimated that the average person only wears 20% of their clothes. So making the most of the space you already have is a good place to start when you're feeling like your home is bursting at the seams.
Follow these tips to make your home more spacious and beautiful without getting the builders in.
TIP#1 Gather Inspiration
Before you do anything else make yourself a nice cuppa and get comfy on your sofa. Then take a look through some home magazines, your Pinterest board, Google images or Houzz and find 2-3 photos of places or things that you love, as inspiration for how you want your home to be. Set these as wallpapers on your phone so you've got them as a reminder for your end goal. Come over to our facebook page and share your inspirational images.
TIP#2 Fresh Eyes
It can be hard to see how to improve your own home and to decide where to start. It helps to get a fresh pair of eyes on the job. One way to do this is to take a photo from every corner of each room that you'd like to work on. You'll often notice more when you look at the photos than you do looking around your space. You can take photos before and after as motivation to remind you of the improvements you've made. If you can, print these photos out and draw on them. Highlight anything you are happy with or don't like. Write a to do list for all the things you want to change and anything that you'd like to make more of. Maybe you need some better toy storage, or you'd like your windows to become more of an attractive feature. Use the photos to start your action plan.
TIP#3 Spark Joy
The Japanese home organisation guru Marie Kondo recommends gathering all your belongings of one type in one place and going through them, touching each one and asking yourself if it sparks joy. Doing this helps you to identify the things that you don't need or love and can get rid of. This reflects the golden rule of the designer William Morris who said, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This technique of decluttering doesn't stop at the small items but includes furniture. If you really want to create more space clearing out the large objects and pieces of furniture - that unused chair / cello - is where the biggest gains can be made. Have a look around your room. Is there a chair that nobody sits on because it is really uncomfortable? Clear out the large things that you don't use and you will instantly see your room transformed.
TIP#4 Minimalist Game
There are lots of minimalist challenges on the internet. The Minimalist Game, by The Minimalists, is a manageable way to have a clear out and over the course of a month get rid of 465 things. It's up to you what you get rid of, maybe its some paper clips or maybe its a table. If you want accountability you can tweet about it and tell your friends on Facebook, posting pictures of the things you're getting rid of. The game works like this: On day One, you get rid of one item. On day Two, you get rid of two items, On day Three, three items, and so on. If this is too difficult just get rid of one thing on each day of one month. You can make up your own rules. The idea is not to get rid of everything but to have a clear out and get rid of all those things that you never use and you don't love. We all know that if you're selling you need to have a declutter and the same applies if you want to create more space and make your home look more beautiful so that you can enjoy it.
Tip#5 The Clockwise Sweep
Once you've decluttered and got an action plan, the next thing is to take action and make everywhere look clean, tidy and stylish. You can do this for your whole home, plus the garden, or just one room. Starting at the door of the first room you're dealing with go around in a clockwise movement picking up out of place items and dusting down surfaces. Rearrange your pictures, etc, as you go and make your space look styled and well put together.
Now that you've completed your Spring Clean and have a fresh view of your home it's time to get the kettle on and enjoy your space. You've given your home a lovely refresh, and the chances are that you know your space better now than you did before. Come over to our Facebook page and show us your before and after photos.
If decluttering and restyling aren't enough for you and you know that you really do need to add more space then we have a free 'Design Your Vision' workbook for you. This will give you a series of exercises to go through on your own or with your partner. Once you've completed this you will have your list of needs and wants for your home clearly set out. This is the first step for any home project, and will make it easy for you to speak with designers and builders to let them know what you want.
Let us know in the comments below if you need more space and a more beautiful home and what you're doing to make it happen.
Jane Leach, principal architect at i-architect