I’m back after a bit of a break and hope you’ve all had a lovely, peaceful and relaxing start to the month of May! We had lots of time together as a family over May Day weekend, just the five of us, not trying to fit too much in and not trying to see everyone humanly possible in the space of three days… and do you know what, it was really soul-soothing!
Anyway, after lots of time to think about the blog (of course), I am back and ready to throw some new ideas and thoughts around for you.
Recently with the kids getting bigger I have often struggled trying to make the most out of the space available to us (and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this)! Friends and family have marvelled at how we’ve “done so well” in our wee house with three little ones and how the place doesn’t feel cluttered. I suppose it’s partly been because I’m a naturally pretty tidy person and like to have everything organised. I get sadly excited at the prospect of filling a new bookcase (after the initial excitement of building it – yes I know, I need to get a life) and Ikea is a pure heaven for me with its wonderful array of boxes, shelving, memo boards, storage systems etc etc. (You get the picture). However, I do believe that to be well organised in your home you need to be creative in your approach too, so I’d like to share some of the ways I have utilised small corners and spaces in my own home to better practicalise the space as a whole.
Make Use of Wall Space…
Our galley kitchen is really narrow, yet it has plenty of wall space that I always felt was under-exploited. Having been inspired by an idea whereby children’s books had been arranged facing outwards on a nursery room wall, I decided to recreate the look on one of our own kitchen wall spaces to display our collection of cookery books. It makes fantastic use of an otherwise dead wall space, takes up very little room and acts as an ever-changeable, colourful display. It also reflects a little of our family’s personality as we are both keen cooks.
Firstly, I painted the entire wall in good quality blackboard paint (try this one), then I mounted three Ikea ‘Ribba’ picture ledges which are designed to hold frames but are the ideal depth for books, too. The use of blackboard paint transforms it into a multi-functional space – book storage and a handy wee place for noting down all those daily tasks and shopping lists. The kids have loved having a free space to scribble of course too – and it makes learning sums a LOT more fun :-)
It can be difficult to find storage space for all those lotions and potions (the husband’s, obviously!!) in a small bathroom. Again, wall space shouldn’t be overlooked. In our bathroom, I used very inexpensive floating shelves from B&Q (find similar here) above the bath to house hand towels and bath products, in order to keep areas such as the windowsill and bath-surround clean and free of excess clutter.
Make Use of Empty Corners…
For tight bathroom corners, the design classic Componibile unit by Kartell is a neat space-saving solution which boasts decent storage capacity. It can also be used as a less bulky and more contemporary alternative to a bedside table and comes with either two or three tiers and in a range of basic colour ways.
Making the most of corner spaces can add the illusion of width to an otherwise long and narrow room. An interesting display or piece of furniture can help draw the eye outwards as opposed to down the length of a room. I used the space created at the end of a wall of kitchen units to create a craft corner for the children to work at where I could still supervise them in their own designated area of the room. I attached a short rail to the wall at a child’s eye level and hung little pots along it filled with crayons and pencils to keep them within easy reach. I also hung above this some of their own mini works of art in cheap Ikea frames to make it a bright, inspiring area.
Remember the Little Details…
Remember you do not have to spend a fortune making use of the space in your home with the likes of expensive purpose-built storage combinations. A little imagination goes a long way. Look at the spaces in your home and think of ways to add purpose to them whilst maintaining a sense of balance. Obviously filling every corner and piece of wall space in a room is going to overwhelm it and make it feel claustrophobic. Consider how the space is best used and what you can do to capitalise on it.
The alcoves resulting from the projection of a chimney breast in many period properties are commonly used to house book shelves. Further enrich this space by placing a comfy armchair and lamp alongside to create a cosy reading nook. It’s a simple idea but an effective one that will bring you enjoyment. Similarly, you can use the wall space above doors for books. This makes creative use of a space that wouldn’t otherwise be fully utilised.
Choose that spot in your home beside the bay window which gets the morning sun as your little coffee corner and make sure you have a good selection of monthly glossies to hand and a gorgeous array of plump cushions to snuggle against for that Sunday morning cuppa. Ok, that opportunity for a quiet coffee isn’t always a reality but the point is, it’s another way of making the most of your home’s many nooks and crannies. They are there for the taking so use them!
So in what interesting ways have you brought new life to spaces in your own home?