One owner of a small London flat tackles the big space challenge

Ten ways to make the smallest of city flats feel bigger using concealed lighting, flexible furniture and clever use of colour.

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

1 Lighting
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.

2 Windows
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

 

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.

7 Reflections
“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.

9 Ladders
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

 

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