Maximising your homes potential

Whether it's a country cottage or a luxury penthouse, you probably know what your dream home looks like on the outside. But you might not have such a clear picture of the inside. When you sit down to design it, however, that's where you’ll need to start. The space and house layout you need should have the structure designed it, not the other way around. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Size and placement of rooms

Think about where you want the rooms to be, both individually and in relation to each other, and how big you want each one to be. For example, if you work from home, you may want an office in a quiet part of the house; if you have a lovely view, you may want your living room to overlook it. In that case, having your bedrooms on the lower floor and your living space on the upper floor can work beautifully.

Most people find their ideal room sizes won’t all fit into the space they have; if this is the case, you can either compromise or think about adding another floor, which could be a basement, an upper storey or loft space.

Dimensions and light

Generally, a room should be at least half as wide as it is long, or it will feel narrow and could be more difficult to fit furniture into. High ceilings will generally make rooms feel bigger, since low ceilings can have an oppressive effect, even on larger spaces. A room that has plenty of natural light will always feel more pleasant, bigger and less oppressive than a darker room, and will be warmer on sunny days. You can use rooflights or double aspect windows to let extra light in. The less fuel your home needs for heating and lighting the better, for your comfort, your bills and the environment.

Opening up

Open-plan layouts are great for keeping an eye on young children, and they allow you more flexibility with the space, as you can use internal bifold or sliding doors to switch between one big room and several smaller rooms as required. You can use different floor, wall and ceiling decors to delineate different areas.

The spaces between

Think about hallways, landings and staircases too – your hall will probably be the first room visitors come into, so it's actually really important, and a staircase can be made into a really impressive feature. Make sure you think about practicality too though – spiral staircases may look amazing, but they can be easy to trip on. Hallways can also be very useful for incorporating storage, either as freestanding or built-in units.

With 13 years' experience in home renovations and house designs, Kent and south east London architects Bluelime Home Design can help you create your perfect home inside and out. We have offices based in DartfordBromleyErithBexley and Croydon – call 01322 517632 for an informal chat about how we can help.

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