Renovating Living Spaces

It’s where you entertain, relax and spend time the most time with your loved ones – so it makes sense to give your living areas some extra special attention when renovating!

Atmosphere, function and clever use of space is crucial when renovating a living space – here are some tips on how to get it right and add valuable resale value to your home…

Use glazed doors to let in more light

An option is to have glazed doors between zones so rooms are not closed in and light restricted. This is a good idea for doors leading from a passage to a family room. Or if you have a period home, they could have a striking leadlight design. This looks attractive it they’re lined up with the front door. Clear glass can give a leafy view of the back garden from the front door, yet still serves to stop that wind-tunnel effect if the front and back doors are aligned.

How to dress up a humble hallway

Emphasise the floor if the ceiling is low and draws the eye to a high ceiling with a knockout light fitting, which should always match the period of the house. Break up a long hall, which is often typical of period homes, with curtains, fancy mouldings or fretwork, a chair, hallstand or mirror. Don’t put the mirror opposite the front door though, or the first thing guests will see will be a reflection of themselves. A large hall can take sideboards, cabinets, a table and a lamp and delicate pieces of furniture that won’t stand up to everyday use in the rest of the house.

Use a focal point to engage the eye

Whatever look you choose, it helps if the room has a focal point or something to draw the eye. A fireplace is ideal. Or you can build around a special painting, a table topped by a fancy mirror, a much-loved sideboard or even a view of the garden. Move furniture from room to room if you can’t find something you like. Many of us don’t realise we have collections of china, glass or even photographs that can make a stunning display until we bring them together.

Surround sound for a superior result

You’ll need a top-quality surround-sound system for your home theatre. Again, issues of layout come into play and there’s a lot to consider: your couch should sit in the middle of the two rear speakers; speakers should always be placed in front of a flat wall; you need carpeting or a non-slip rug under the subwoofer to reduce vibrations. All around, it’s best to consult the professionals so you get it right.

Sound systems, DVD players, etc. come in sleek, space-maximising configurations and
a variety of finishes, so integrating your new equipment into your decorating theme shouldn’t be all that hard.

Mismatch furniture to create interest

Don’t feel that a co-ordinated modular lounge or three-piece suite is the only way to successful decorating. Furniture doesn’t have to match. In fact, the look of a room can be lightened with a small carver or tub chair in place of a bulky armchair. If you hate the cover, disguise it with a throw rug or a ready-made loose cover. And if you plan to re-cover but can’t decide on a fabric, see if you can borrow a length and drape it over the furniture in the room. That way you can see it against your walls, floor and the rest of the furniture, and in different lights.

Get the picture and try being creative

Whether the room is for formal or informal living, when it comes to hanging paintings (or prints and framed photos) don’t put them up around the ceiling. The experts say the centre of a painting should be at eye level.
They don’t have to be lined up in rows, either. Hang them in groups or mount them over a table or sideboard. You can cover a wall with them if you like; just stick to a common theme. Another option is to span a wall with narrow shelves ‘styled’ with framed photos or prints. For a more casual effect, overlap the frames.

And here are a few design tips.

A vertical display will make a room seem a little taller; a horizontal display will make a room appear a tad wider. Irregular-sized pictures displayed within an imaginary shape (square or rectangular) will create the same effect as a single artwork of that same shape.

Article published with the permission of Universal Magazines Complete Home

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