Carefully chosen furniture and accessories can free up space and transform the smallest of city homes. Even your choice of colours is important. Pale winter neutrals, from soft blues to dove greys, have been striding off the catwalk and into our high-street homeware stores for a reason — these are the colours that help to create a cool and uncluttered look, with interest added by texture, from cosy knits to shimmering velvets.
TOP 10 BIG IDEAS FOR SMALL SPACES
Concealed lighting and uplighters will illuminate a room without adding to clutter. “Lighting should be one of your main considerations. Use a selection of lamps to bounce light off the walls and provide extra brightness. Placing candles around your room will create a relaxed atmosphere with soft, flattering light,” says Matalan’s homeware design manager, Mags Milliken.
Blue devon floor lamp (living room) £69, tesco.com; metal-rim lanterns (living room shelves), £12, matalan.co.uk.
A blind that rolls from the bottom of the window upwards offers privacy when you want it without completely blocking out natural light.
Silver Atlantex solar blind (living rom), from £18.90, on 0845 421 3561 or visit directblinds.co.uk.
GET THE LOOK: SPACE SAVING IDEAS FOR COMPACT CITY LIVING
Twenty-one space-saving ideas for compact city living
Twenty-one space-saving ideas for compact city living
1/22 Space and ladders
Ladders make an inexpensive and instant shelving solution that can be moved around the house. Match colours to walls where possible as blocks of colour can box in space. These ladders, £35 from matalan.co.uk, will be available from the end of October.
2/22 Making a case for storage
3/22 Think tall
Buy a bed with the maximum storage underneath and keep bed linen to two colours for simplicity. Mix white with soft blues and dove greys to create a cool and uncluttered look. This velvet throw, £50, is from matalan.co.uk and feather cushion
4/22 Get reflective
Glass and metallic accessories are the ultimate trick for reflecting light and creating the illusion of space. A mirrored wardrobe appears to double the size of a room, Ikea stocks this PAX wardrobe from £183. Glass jars, such as this one used to store jewellery, help to create a sense of depth; £12, matalan.co.uk.
5/22 Create extra living zones
Removing a base unit in the kitchen creates an instant breakfast bar. A supporting leg will ensure the worktop is extra-secure, they start from just £2.58, at diy.com.
6/22 Sit pretty, sleep soundly
A sofabed makes for a great space-saver in the lounge or a studio flat, and can be dressed with throws and knitted-cushions for a co-ordinated and cosy look. These cushions, from £6 are a mix from Matalan, Littlewoods and Tesco. The chunky knitted pouffe is £40, also from Tesco.
7/22 More space-saving ideas...
From £76.50: use blinds to divide up space, not just to dress windows. Panel blinds are inexpensive and can be pulled up and down, or across, as your needs for privacy or extra-floor space require.
Magic: the butterfly effect
£199: This butterfly table and chairs from Very, looks smart and fits four people comfortably for dinner. But the best part is that the chairs fold away under the table when you've finished entertaining.
Tea for two, dinner for eight
£1,136: this clever table is extendable and height-adjustable, doubling as a coffee-table and dining-table for up to eight people.
Turn gardening upside-down
From £25.50: defy gravity and grow your kitchen herbs inside, without sacrificing floor or coutner space. The Boskke™ Sky Planter™ features an irrigation and locking disc system that secures the soil and water, allowing the plant to grow upside down without any mess.
£7: This foldable fabric storage box is both space saving and an attractive addition to the home.
From £12.99: solve your storage needs with this modular, magnetic grid of wall-mounted steel plates and pots from Urbio that you can build-up the wall and customise as necessary.
From £403: floating storage units allow you to create a unique and stylish shelving system, and create the illusion of depth and space in your home.
£25: These storage stools from Matalan come in a variety of colours and solve your problems of seating and storage in one hit - dot them around the house and bring them out to play when you have guests.
PAX a punch
From £217: These PAX wardrobes from Ikea are only 38cm deep, taking up minimal floor space without compromising storage needs.
Choosing long and thin items in your bathroom maximises floorspace while still being practical. This Pathway Illuminated-double-mirror cabinet, £399, and Freeform basin, £159, are both from the Bathstore.
More than a compact home office...
From £2,300: we found this Allegra Desk Bed at the Ideal Homes Show earlier this year. Constructed of solid woods and veneers, and hand finished with a matte white lacquer, it opens with a simple pull (scroll right)...
And more than just a bed
The double-bed can be pre-made and the desk always maintains it's orientation, so you don't have to remove your items before opening. Made to order from Techcraft.
Easy access storage-bed
£529: a double storage-bed with plenty of space for large items, arranged in a way that means you don't have to shuffle everything around to get to that one item at the bottom/back.
Your own pop-up diner
This bistro dining set is perfect for small city terraces, thanks to the space-saving table that hooks over the balcony edge and folds down flat when not in use. The two matching chairs can also be stored flat. Genius.
3 Think tall
Buy a bed with the maximum storage underneath. Choose bed linen with a maximum of two colours to keep the look simple. Declutter by using a whole wall for hidden storage — the highest shelves for the least-used items.
In the bedroom: velvet throw, £50, matalan.co.uk; shelf, £19, ikea.com.
4 Flexible friends
Choose a sofabed with storage and dress it with throws and cushions. “Go for cosy but not overwhelming by mixing textures in similar shades to create a co-ordinated look,” advises interiors stylist Ali Lovett.
In the living room: faux-mohair stripe throw, £20, matalan.co.uk; cushions from £6, Matalan, George and Tesco.
5 Create extra living zones
Remove a base unit in the kitchen to create extra space under the worktop for seating and a breakfast bar. You can support the work surface with easy-to-fit adjustable leg supports.
Metal leg, from £2.58, diy.com.
6 Feature walls
Add interest to a feature wall by putting up a picture rail and hanging framed pictures and prints.
Picture rail, £3.54; hooks, £1.88, both diy.com; metal-rim frames, £6 each, matalan.com.
“Glass and metallic accessories are the ultimate trick for creating light,” says Milliken. Glass is relatively cheap and you can get it cut to size and installed. A mirrored wardrobe appears to double the size of a room. Consider covering an entire wall with mirror.
Rather than hanging a mirror over a fireplace, cover the whole firebreast with mirror and bevel the edges for a neat finish. Metallic wallpaper, fabric and cushions work too.
PAX wardrobe, from £183, ikea.com; round copper mirror (living room), £35, oliverbonas.com.
8 Super-slim wardrobes
Maximise floor space with super-slim, floor-to-ceiling wardrobes. PAX wardrobes, as mentioned above, are only 38cm deep and can be customised with pull-out rails to hang clothes.
Ladders are an inexpensive and instant shelving solution. “Opt for the same colour shelving as the walls,” says Lovett. Storage ladders can be moved around the house.
Living room ladders, £35 each; bathroom towel ladder, £25, both matalan.co.uk.
10 Portable storage
Choose stylish storage items that can double as tables or be whisked away easily.
Foldable fabric boxes (bedroom), £7, matalan.co.uk; suitcases (living room), from £30, oliverbonas.com.
Stylist: Ali Lovett