DIY · Home · Interiors

How to Make the Most of the Space in Your Home

Photo by Tina Witherspoon on Unsplash

If your current property is starting to feel a little too small for your needs, but you don’t have the budget to extend it or even move, that doesn’t mean that you have to just carry on as you are. Taking a look around your current space and working out if there is anything that can be adapted to increase the area that you’re working with could uncover a wealth of potential. With this in mind I thought I would share with you five places that don’t always occur to people to be used as a functional living space, but actually can offer a number of different options.

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How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger

As much as we would all love to have huge mansions, with enormous rooms, it’s not necessarily the reality for most of us, and oftentimes, the rooms in our home can end up looking even smaller than they actually are, due to some of our own decorating mistakes. Here is how you can make a small room look bigger.

Let the Light In

Natural light is a really great way to make a room look bigger, but of course, besides creating a new window, there isn’t much you can do if there isn’t much natural light. That said, artificial light is the next best thing and if you invest in some good G9 LED bulbs, add more lamps, and reassess the light fixtures to ensure you are getting the most amount of light for the space, you will notice things really start to open up.

Declutter

Having too much stuff in a room can really make it feel closed in and small. You can go the KonMari method and get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy, or you can get creative with storage solutions to really make the most of the space that you do have, and hide any mess and clutter away, seamlessly.

Think of Your Colours

Although dark colours and dark wood can create a really cosy feel in large spaces, if it’s not used right in a smaller space, you will notice that it’s starting to feel cramped and a little claustrophobic. Opt for lighter colours to open up the space and make it feel airy, but don’t feel as though you have to stick with white or grey – look for a soft blue or green to keep some personality while adding space. When it comes to the colour of your furniture or your accessories, stick to small prints or plain colours. If you keep things in a unified pallet, it can expand a room visually.

Use Glass

If you are able to use glass for things like tabletops, you will notice that it gives the illusion of having more space. Another example of this is using a clear frameless shower enclosure, rather than a frosted version, which will allow you to feel as though there is more room in the space. Another way in which glass is fantastic is if it is in the form of a mirror. A large mirror on the wall can open out the space and make it look so much larger, as well as providing more reflected light and a practical piece of decor too.

As you can see, you don’t need an extension to make a room seem larger, just a few subtle changes in decor and accessories along with a few tricks of the eye can make the world of difference to a cramped room. So until we can afford that enormous mansion, these tricks and tips will have to do.

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Storage Ideas For Small Kitchen

Source: Pixabay.com

No kitchen is too big to run out of storage space or be overwhelmed with clutter. But this problem is far more likely to affect tiny kitchens than large ones. If you have a small kitchen, you’ll inevitably find yourself struggling to find space to keep even the most essential items.

Yet, having a small kitchen doesn’t have to mean you have to live with chaos. There’s actually plenty of space in your kitchen that is unused or underutilized. Here are some practical ideas on maximizing your small kitchen’s storage space.

1.    Harness the Space Between the Refrigerator and the Wall
The kitchen refrigerator won’t always fit snugly into its assigned space. That’s sometimes because refrigerators may be replaced and the space originally intended for it when the kitchen was built may end up being much larger than the fridge.

There’s no need to let this space go to waste, especially in a small kitchen. You could for instance slide a folding step stool between the fridge and the wall. Or if the gap is big enough, you could explore the possibility of fitting a free standing shelf that will form or extend your pantry.

2.    Use the Sides of Cabinets
Like refrigerator space, chances are that not all your cabinets (or at least not all sides of your cabinets) are butted against a wall or another cabinet. Whether your kitchen cabinets are shaker style (see https://www.bestonlinecabinets.com/rta-kitchen-cabinets-shaker-style) or any other design, this is bonus square feet of storage space you can make use of. Add shelves, hang a pot rail and do more.

3.    Use the Space Above Your Stove
This is one of the more overlooked spaces, perhaps because of a legitimate concern about placing anything above the place where you cook your meals. You certainly wouldn’t want anything up there that could ignite easily.

However, it’s space that you can use if your kitchen doesn’t have a hood. You can exploit this space via a pot rail or shelf. This will create room for fire-resistant cooking utensils as well as larger cookware.

4.    Add Shelves All Over

Source: Pixabay.com

Speaking of free standing shelves, shelves in general are in fact the dirty little secret of extending storage space in small kitchens. Unlike storage cabinets, you can actually fit shelves in all kinds of places in the room without making the small space feel cramped.

Fit shelves on walls and above your kitchen counter. Fit shelf risers in your kitchen cabinets to further increase the space you have.

5.    Add Toekick Drawers
The toekick is the space between your cabinet and the floor that provides a recess for your feet when you are doing something on the kitchen countertop. It certainly provides comfort but it’s a luxury you can easily do without if you have a small kitchen.

Instead, you should consider installing toekick drawers in this space. It’s a great way to transform a rarely or never used space into somewhere that can hold your linens, pans, cutlery or pantry items.

6.    Use the Inside of All Doors
That plain interior of your pantry or cabinet door is really not living up to its storage potential. The kitchen is teeming with plenty of items that could find a home here. Hang your cutlery, small appliances, measuring cups and bulletin boards. And if there’s sufficient space for it especially in your pantry, you could even fit shelves on the inside of the door.

7.    Use the Undersides of the Cabinets

Source: Pixabay.com

This is probably not one of those places that will immediately come to mind when you are thinking about extending storage space but if you have a tiny kitchen, every available opportunity will make a difference.

Just when you thought your cabinets can’t take any more stuff, the underside of them will surprise you. Add hooks to the cabinet bottoms that will hold your small tools and mugs. A magnetic strip could convert the underside into a floating spice rack.

8.    Magnetic Knife Rack
A magnetic knife rack is a handy tool you can use to squeeze out more storage space from thin spaces on your kitchen walls. And it doesn’t have to be horizontal as per assumed convention. A knife rack can run vertically as well proving that no wall space is off limits when it comes to where you can place it.

Maximizing small kitchen storage comes down to a shift in your mindset. You have to stop planning your storage around conventional, big kitchen thinking and start to explore the creative ways you can make the most of the space you have.

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Alternatives to Toys for Christmas

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it feels like we’re drowning in toys. Sausage is older now, so her interests are changing but Sausage is still firmly in the “circle every toy in the Christmas cataogue” stage. This year, I’ve been trying to think of things that they would love for Christmas which won’t take up much (if any) space in the house, and I’ve had some decent ideas so far, which I thought I’d share with you today:

Swimming Lessons

BB has a pool at her school, but it’s outdoor which means they only swim between Easter and October and the rest of the year they don’t use the pool at all. I was thinking that BB would probably love to have swimming lessons and that her grandparents could club together and pay for her to have lessons for a year. There are some Seriously Fun swimming lessons for babies and children out there and I think it would make a great gift.

Zoo Experience

A couple of years back, Husband arranged for me to go to Wingham Wildlife park to have an up-close experience with the raccoons and coatis and it was genuinely one of the best presents I’ve ever received. I’ve been in love with raccoons for years and getting to feed them was just phenomenal. Both of our girls are animal mad and I think they’d be just as thrilled with a keeper experience as part of their Christmas present.

Subscription Box

One of the (very small) things that bugs me about Christmas is that you spend silly amounts of time and money buying specially selected gifts and by January, a lot of it has been used up or forgotten. A subscription box would last all year long, giving monthly surprises and you can get lots of different types, to suit every kid. Some of them even have experiements inside, making them low-key educational without the kids even realising that they’re learning as they go!

Magazine Subscription

Like a subscription box, a magazine subscription is the gift that keeps on giving. BB is a MASSIVE fan of magazines (usually for the plastic rubbish attached to the front!) but I think she’d be so happy to get her favourite magazine in the post every month. Magazines are also good because they help to give kids in interest in reading. Sausage is old enough to enjoy a much wider array of magazines now, too, like nature photography, crafting, colouring and even music.

Vouchers

My kids are both at an age now where they love getting cash or vouchers for Christmas and birthdays because it means that they can go to the shops and choose stuff for themselves. Sausage even has her own contactless debit card now, and she LOVES having mney in her account so she can use her card. There are a few shops that the kids love, where they can buy things like books and stationery so getting them vouchers would definitely be a hit – plus, I don’t mind finding space for books!

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THE PURGE (AKA, Don’t Stand Still or Mum Will Throw You in the Bin)

Before Christmas, we were lucky enough to be given a brand new sofa, and in preparation for this, I cleared every stick of furniture out of our living room and cleaned the carpet the day before it was delivered. As it turned out, I quite like having a lounge which isn’t stacked high with toys and other clutter, so much of what we moved has sat in the dining room since the beginning of December, making the room look like a huge version of Monica’s secret closet.

THE PURGE

Last week, I decided that enough was enough; we couldn’t live with one room that looked like one of those storage units, but the rest of the house was by no means ready to receive all of the stuff from my Room of Shame.

And so began…THE PURGE!

I started with the airing cupboard, taking out all of the duvet sets and sheets, and storing them in under-bed boxes, giving us a huge empty cupboard to use for other things. Then I moved on to the girls room, where I managed to clear out SIX black bags of clothes and two massive IKEA bags full of toys for charity, as well as four bags of rubbish, which gave us a whole bunch of empty storage in which to put all of the new things they got for Christmas. Next, I moved on to that dead space at the bottom of the wardrobes that I tend to fill up with things like old pairs of curtains and blankets which don’t really have another home, and managed to fill up two more bin bags of stuff for the charity shop.

My next job is to tackle The Room of Shame, but now that the rest of the house is so much clearer and we have plenty of space to tidy INTO, it doesn’t feel nearly as daunting – I don’t feel the need to start Googling ‘storage near me‘ anymore so that I can just move half of our belongings elsewhere!

The nice thing I’ve noticed is that the decluttering has had a really positive knock-on effect for my mental state, and our lives as a family. I’m taking more interest in other housework because the house looks nice and I want to KEEP it looking nice, and Sausage has a clear desk to do her homework on, rather than perching up at the coffee table each evening. BB has also taken an interest in helping me (in exchange for pocket money, of course!) to put washing away and do other little jobs, which is a habit I’m more than happy for her to get into. I think I’ll make The Purge a six-monthly thing so that we stay on top of it and don’t feel like we’re perpetually drowning in old clothes and toys!

Do you have a purge every now and again, or are you a bit of a hoarder? Do leave me a comment below.