If you wonder how families can live in living spaces as small as 30 or 40 square meters, remember that in Japan, where space is at premium, this would be considered as a luxury. In third world countries entire families live in a room that is not more than 10 square meters in area. 40 square meters, in comparison to Japan or Asia, is generous. It can appear even more roomy and spacious by smart use of space. Most people are used to viewing space in two dimensions: length and width. By considering the vertical dimension too, you can optimize use of space and pack in a lot more without the interior seeming crowded and cluttered. Here we show you how you can make use of the right materials and make the right use of space that will help a family live in comfort in a space as small as 40 square meters and never feel uncomfortable.
Using the walls in a small apartment makes the interiors look roomy and spacious. Make sure your walls are white or a light shade of tan, ivory or beige. Use white for the furniture. If it is wooden furniture, lacquer them or paint the wood in a white shade. Pure white may seem dazzling so ivory is just perfect. Of course, if you are using stainless steel furniture it will also look trim and slim, enhancing as well as optimizing spaces. Glass complements steel and gives a modern look to compact living spaces.
It is easy to optimise spaces when you use folding furniture. Again, stainless steel furniture is better due to its slim profile, strength and durability. It makes good sense to select folding steel tables and folding steel chairs. If stainless steel does not appeal to you, there is an option in powder coated or painted steel furniture. A sofa is a must for living rooms. You can pick a sofa that will draw out and extend into a bed. By day it is a sofa.
Your apartment or house probably has some open space in the shape of a verandah or a balcony in the front or some open space at the back. Consider ways to cover this open space in your balcony and use it as a sleeping or study area for a family member, possibly your teenage son. Open space at the back can have a simple overhead cover. You can store less used items in a cupboard under this covered space at the back.
Look around in your house. There is plenty of open space. Any space above head height can be considered open space. You can line walls with cupboards running the entire length of the wall above head height.
You can create a temporary loft with a pull down staircase. The loft can serve as sleeping quarters. Or better still; create a mezzanine floor if the ceiling of your house is high enough. The extended balcony space shown in the picture above has been designed by Leivars, interior designers and decorators from UK.
A loft can partition vertical space but, it also gives a rather closed look. A mezzanine floor extends only part way across the room and lets it retain the open look. Wood is certainly a good material for homes but it needs to be thick to have strength. Stainless steel tubing can be thin yet it is strong enough to support weight. Besides, the gleaming or dull finished stainless finish adds to the décor, especially when married with glass. The floor of the mezzanine partition can be hollow PVC profiles or wood. Curtaining off the mezzanine portion can transform the portion into a cosy bedroom that a family member can retire to when others are busy working or studying in the regular space below.
Making maximum use of natural light gives a cheerful, open impression to your interiors. For instance, when you build a mezzanine floor, build it across the room facing the window or along side one wall but never across the wall that has the window. If you must use curtains, then use a pair. One could be the light gauze type curtains that lets in plenty of light. Heavier drapes are the other option, allowing you completely shut out light when required. Enhance the natural light by the use of light colored vitreous mirror tiling on the floor. The reflections create interesting light and shadow patterns in the room. If you are partitioning off the balcony or the verandah, do so using steel channels and translucent glass or translucent fiberglass, possibly with bold colours. It will have the look of stained glass and will create a wonderful colourful lit area inside with a charm, perfectly offsetting the use of white for furniture.
You would have selected folding furniture to maximize use of space. In that case, glass for use as table top does require some care in design and execution but the effect is just magnificent. Glass and metal are made for each other. It is easy to get fabricated metal folding table frame with an arrangement to hold the glass securely. However, glass plays a more important role elsewhere and that is in the shelves. You could have wooden shelves but making more use of glass endows living spaces with a transparent, open look. Besides, you can use thinner glass. Where you would use 15 mm of wood, just 8 mm of glass is sufficient. Fixtures for glass are also available in a slim, trim contour. Your kitchen and living room can do with a couple of glass shelves that will look absolutely gorgeous and add to the feeling of space inside.
40 square meters may not seem much but, if you make use of your mind to create and optimise spaces, you will find that it is sufficient for a family. Here's an architecture ideabook you wouldn't like to miss : A sublime modern family home!