10 clever tips for designing complicated spaces

Asha Bogenfuerst Asha Bogenfuerst
HIGH END BUNGALOW- LONAVALA, AIS Designs: eclectic by AIS Designs,Eclectic
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Certain spaces in a home can be very challenging to design, mainly because of how the space is distributed. For example long, narrow corridors can be tricky to design and so are small living rooms, tiny studio apartments, or even big open spaces with high ceilings. Sometimes it seems you've come to a dead end when you're left with problem spaces like that to design, with your mind throwing blanks and your head spinning trying to think of the best way to arrange furniture or even use the space in the first place. Don't worry, the homify team is here to save the day! We have summarized some simple guidelines which you can follow that will help you come up with an effective design solution for the problem areas in your home. 

Before you get started, make sure you take a good look at the room and do some visual planning. If it helps, empty out the whole room so that you can properly observe the amount of space and the shapes you have to work with. Moving furniture around can also help you get rid of your mental block, so that you start seeing things in a new way, which gives way for fresh ideas to pop up. 

Take a look at the possible problem areas in a home listed below and the design solutions for it, and then identify which category your problem area falls into before trying out the solution pointed out here. Remember, with some flexibility and patience, all design problems can be solved. 

1. Long, narrow corridor

Long, narrow corridors can be annoying because while you need the walkway, it seems like such a waste of space. However, corridors can function as more than a means of getting from one part of the house to another, corridors can function as an excellent storage space if it is properly furnished. The corridor is also a brilliant space for a little art gallery exhibition, and can add aesthetic value to your home.

2. Long open spaces

Small homes with long open spaces are very tricky to design because they require optimizing space to the maximum. Some solutions for this space are installing floating shelves and side tables in order to save floor space. The furniture you choose to use in this space is also very important, and should be as narrow or small as possible in order not to obstruct the walking path. Minimal decorations and clutter free shelves will also help make this problem area feel more spacious. 

3. No entryway

Some homes are so small, they hardly have enough space at the entryway, and you almost have to squeeze your way into the house. This can be annoying and certainly doesn't have a very welcoming feel to it. One solution for this problem area is to remove all unnecessary furniture and accessories near the entryway such as dressers, side tables or potted plants. You can replace these with wall hooks and wall mounted shelves if you like.   

4. Dining in the kitchen

Many modern families these days have shifted the dining area to the kitchen, as it is convenient and it saves space too. However, kitchens can be odd spaces and it can be tricky to know where exactly is the best spot for the dining table and chairs. Ultimately, this depends on the shape of your kitchen, whether it is more long or more wide. If it is long, we recommend a narrow table with stools, and if it is more wide, then perhaps a small round table in the middle of the kitchen with chairs or stools, depending on the space available. 

5. Living room surrounded by windows and doors

A living room surrounded by windows and doors can be tricky to design, but it's really not that complicated. The main problem is you can't lean any furniture against the windows or doors, but this problem can easily be solved by pulling in the furniture closer to the middle of the room, as we see pictured here. It also helps big spaces to feel more cosy and inviting. 

6. Very little wall space

A small living room with very little wall space can be challenging to decorate. Pictured here, we see an example of such a living room with large shelves lining one side of the wall and the other wall being taken up by a large opening. However, walls are not the only surfaces that can be decorated, you can decorate the ceiling and the floor instead, for example by installing a fake ceiling or wooden beams, or laying out a nice carpet on the floor. 

7. Tiny studio apartment

They look cool, but tiny studio apartments are definitely a proper design challenge. The solution lies in sourcing out clever multi-functional furniture and small-scale furniture which can help to save loads of space. For example, a sofa bed or a coffee table with storage facility. Keeping decorations to a minimum and mounting shelves on the wall can also keep the space clutter free and thus feel more open and spacious. 

For more inspiration, have a look at a tiny but amazing studio flat made for a bachelor's life.

8. Small living room

If you have a small living room, avoid using bulky sofas and armchairs or big coffee tables and cabinets. Keep the furniture small, light and simple. It's also best to avoid using too much wood or dark, warm colours in a small living room as this will make the space feel even more enclosed. Instead, use bright, cool colours like white or pale blue and sleek, shiny furniture that is compact and elegant for best results. 

Here are 13 inspirational ideas for decorating a small living room.

9. Narrow kitchen

Narrow kitchens can be challenging as the kitchen is a busy room that requires a lot of work space as well as storage space in order to function effectively. The solution is to make storage as space-efficient as possible so that there is sufficient space for the work areas of the kitchen. In order to optimize kitchen storage, hang up as many kitchen utensils, pots and pans as you can on the kitchen wall. You can also install fold-able multi-functional storage cabinets which save more space.  

For more ideas, you can check out 5 tips for a modern and functional kitchen (inspired by this Bangalore design).

10. Big open space with high ceiling

Big open spaces with high ceilings can be intimidating to design because you just don't know where to start and it can all seem quite overwhelming. If not designed properly, these spaces can feel cold and uninviting. However, one simple solution to this problem is to find a large accent piece which fits nicely vertically, for example like the green wall pictured here. You can also create various niches and cosy spots in a large area like this so that it doesn't feel so spread out. 

We hope you've enjoyed the ideas here and found them useful. For more inspiration, please have a look at 6 tips to design a spectacular staircase.

Which design solution was the most helpful for you? 

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