How to make the most of large rooms…Published on 10th December 2014
‘Oh no, my house is too big! I’ve just got too much space!’ is not, admittedly, a common lament. However, many a home, even many a small home, boasts a big room. While an excess of space would usually be considered a good thing, working out how to make the most of the square footage, while creating a homely feel, can cause difficulties.
Fiona and her family have been living in an inherited house for the last six years. Although the layout is fairly traditional, the main reception room is, frankly huge. At 15 by 7 meters, it’s the sort of space that swallows furniture for breakfast. As such, Fiona has struggled to find a suitable set up; ‘Because the room’s so large you tend to try and cram a lot of functions in, so it never feels cohesive,’ she says.
‘This used to be my Nan’s house, so one of the biggest problems for me is trying to see it in a different light. It kind of worked with Nan’s big dark furniture, but I wanted a more modern look. It’s hard to visualise what you want to get in there though, so you end up copying the old layout with your new furniture. It just doesn’t feel right.’
Fiona’s not alone in her design dilemmas, so we thought we’d lend an Apropos hand, and answer some of the thorniest questions.
Q) How can I make a big room feel cosy?
A) Try to resist placing your furniture against the walls; you’ll end up with chairs awkwardly spaced and a dance floor in the centre. Drawing your furniture closer together makes things more comfortable and family interaction easier.
Q) I want to use my room for different functions, but I don’t want to build a wall, what are my options?
A) The obvious Apropos solution would be the installation of glazed folding-sliding doors. The bespoke doors let the light flow through, but allow you to partition off different areas as you need to. When not in use, they simply concertina to the side, taking up minimum space. For those who’d occasionally prefer more privacy, you could also use switch-glass in the panes, which can change from clear to opaque on demand.
Alternatively, you could try installing curtains from the ceiling, floating shelving that you can see through, or different paint schemes in the separate areas. You could also try using large, eye-catching rugs to define spaces.
Q) How can I use the spare capacity in my sitting room for storage without making it look untidy?
A) If you want to use the large space for storage you can either hide it well with inbuilt cupboards, or just make a feature of it by using eye-catching bookcases with colour-blocked contents, or clear-fronted cabinets to display your possessions.
Q) I want to create a focal point, but I don’t want it to be the television. What can I do?
A) A fireplace can make a fantastic focal point, so don’t be afraid to move furniture to face around it. If you don’t have a fireplace, try an attractive coffee table. If the television feels too conspicuous, consider having a pop up, swing out, or drop down configuration, so the screen doesn’t linger on a blank wall by itself.
Q) The room looks a little flat. How can I give it some personality?
A) Don’t try to match everything; use colours to define areas; contrast colours to brighten up bland parts and add points of interest. Buy furniture that you love, and things that have the right proportions for your room (take into account ceiling height when you shop), including prints for the walls.