10 Ways to Maximize Your Common Living Areas
Common living areas, such as living rooms and dining rooms, are gathering places for your whole family. If your family is like most families then a lot of your time will be spent enjoying common areas together. You may think that you need a large house in order to have the space your family needs for all of the activities you enjoy. However, you can create the common living space you need, even if you live in a small house or apartment. A little creativity will allow you to convert a common area that has a lot of wasted space into an area your family can utilize to its full potential. You must simply learn how to use the attributes of the space, such as high ceilings, large windows and alcoves, to your advantage.
Begin With a Clean Slate
Whether you are moving into a new home or trying to redesign a common area in your existing house or apartment, it is essential that you start with a clean slate. The room must be empty in order for you to figure out how much space you have and the best way to utilize that space to suit the needs of your family.
Identify Your Needs and Create Zones for Those Needs Within the Space
It is beneficial when redesigning a space to sit down with some paper and a pencil to sketch a plan detailing what you need. Home office areas, children’s play areas and dining areas may need to be incorporated into a plan for a single room, depending on the size and layout of your home or apartment. Creating zones to meet each of those needs on paper first will help you to keep your design process organized.
Purchase Furniture with Multiple Functions
Once you have a plan for the space in question you must start to furnish the space. If you have concerns about your common area being too small then you should be sure to purchase furniture pieces that can serve multiple purposes. Couches that convert into guest beds, coffee tables with cabinets or shelves and foot stools with internal storage areas are just a few examples of multi-purpose furniture pieces that can help you keep a space functional without making it look crowded.
Put Some Furniture on Wheels
If you have a very small apartment then you must make every effort to keep the space feeling open while having access to all the items you need. Putting your furniture on wheels will offer you the best of both worlds because you can roll furniture pieces such as your coffee table, couch or book shelf out of the way, as needed.
Use the Vertical Space in the Room
Your home probably has a lot of unused vertical space in the common living areas. Put up simple shelves on pillars or over doorways to create extra storage while also adding some decoration to the room. You can also hang artwork to make any living space feel larger and more inviting.
Use Area Rugs and Other Décor to Section off the Space
If you are using your common area for several purposes, such as a family room and a home office, you need to keep the spaces separate. An easy way to create and define borders within the room is to purchase area rugs. Use different colored rugs to give each zone in a large space its own unique style.
Create Custom Shelving Whenever Possible
If you feel like your common area has no space then you must create the space you need. Many rooms have alcoves or nooks with odd shapes, but those spaces can still be utilized. All you must do is create custom shelves for those areas. In some cases, you will find that custom cabinets or drawers are beneficial as well.
Remove Non-Load-Bearing Walls to Increase Space
If your home has very small rooms, you may be able to turn them into one larger space. However, you must only have walls removed by professionals, as they must be not be load-bearing walls. By removing unnecessary walls entirely, you will have a much easier space to work with.
Alternatively, you can create half-walls with window-like openings to give the illusion of one larger room. If you have children or plan to entertain guests then a half-wall between areas like the kitchen and living room may be beneficial because it will allow you to see and chat with your family members or guests.
Divide Your Space Using Curtains or Other Items When Necessary
If you already have a living area that seems too large then use curtains, room dividers or pocket doors to create two separate spaces. The advantage of any of those techniques is that the space can easily be opened again in seconds to create one larger area. Therefore, it will be like having several rooms in one.
Use Colors to Your Advantage
Color is a very valuable design tool in any space. To make one large area look like a single room, using similar colors throughout the entire space is necessary. Dividing a large open space into several smaller zones requires each zone to have its own color scheme. Therefore, how you choose to use colors in your home will depend on your personal design goals for your common living areas.