By Elisha Wadick
In Australia’s big cities, more of us than ever carve out our lives within the confines of small spaces. From the much-loved, character-packed but slightly cramped homes that typify our period architecture, to the cosiness of modern high-density apartments, urban living can present some unique interior decorating challenges.
The good news? Comfort, functionality and a sense of space are all possible in the smallest of rooms. Truly! You can achieve bright, open proportions and great workability via a couple of clever tricks that I’ll explore downpage. And it’s worth remembering that a modest budget is no impediment to a practical, beautiful room; just a few tweaks can make a huge difference to the way you live.
It’s said that people tend not to look up beyond eye height – and that’s easy to believe, when you consider the way we decorate our walls. Artworks are positioned for the bare minimum of eyeball exertion; top shelves of bookcases accommodate even the shortest members of our families (not that they shouldn’t!). And high ceilings? Well, you may as well forget that the last metre or so of wall space exists, so rarely is that gorgeously lofty canvas used to its full potential.
When you put your vertical surfaces to work, not only are you increasing your clear floor area, you’re also maximising the amount of stuff you can fit into the room. This is excellent if you’re a reader, or a collector, or if you simply like the warmth of a home that puts your personality on full display. (Hey, just because we live in tiny spaces doesn’t mean we’re all minimalists!) The sleekest and most dramatic way to achieve the most surface for the least impact on your room’s footprint is to take your shelving right to the top. And don’t forget a ladder for the shorties!