Although owning a detached house with land was considered the Australian dream, many households are now moving towards apartment living and therefore experiencing smaller living spaces.
Across Australia, detached houses still account for 71 percent of residential dwellings but the proportion has been slowly falling with higher density housing rising. This trend is particularly apparent in urban areas, especially in Sydney and Melbourne where medium and high density housing accounts for 44 percent and 33 percent respectively.
The majority of the high density apartments are located in and around the central business districts, aimed at young professionals who seek convenience and a better work/life balance by living closer to work.
So if you find yourself living in a smaller apartment, here are some simple tips and tricks to maximise your space. We find that the key is to use minimalistic styles to make the most out of your space.
#Tip one: Let there be light. Select light-coloured cabinets, open shelves and glass-fronted doors. Dark materials and closed shelves may make the space seem much smaller than it actually is. You can even eliminate some doors or any walls that aren’t load-bearing in favour of open spaces and remove other visual obstructions. Be mindful about keeping clear lines of view across the apartment.
#Tip two: Don’t waste space. Storage can be placed on the wall (by hanging it up or constructing a small bench) or in harder to reach areas (particularly if those items are not used much). You can also hang utensils, pots and pans in the kitchen, or find some clever storage solutions so you can hide away bulky items when they’re not in use. Consider storage areas under beds as well, and think about how to use window spaces, outdoor areas and awkward corners to your advantage.
#Tip three: Get creative with fixtures. Consider dining tables, counters, seats, beds and desks that fold into the wall and leave a room clear when they are needed – these extra elements are certainly worth it in the long run. For example, the West Village development has the dining room table integrated with the kitchen bench as a space saving initiative.
#Tip four: Be smart with furniture. Small spaces call for furniture that is streamlined, compact, and has linear lines – it’s like Tetris for your home. For example, a flat screen TV that hangs on your wall will free up valuable space, and coffee tables that double up with storage inside can be moved to make more space. You could also consider fold out chairs for when guests come, instead of additional permanent seats. In the Lennox development, the designers have aimed to maximise space by creating a moveable island bench on wheels that allows the resident to move it around the rooms depending on the situation, making it extra handy for entertaining.
#Tip five: Don’t reinvent the wheel. It’s highly unlikely that your move is going to drastically change the way you live. It’s best to think about what activities you normally carry out in your daily life before you start designing a new space. For example, if you like entertaining, why not install an extendable dining table that can be used when guests come around, and shortened for everyday use?
#Tip six: Arrange your home items into those that are for daily use and others that are taken out once in a while, or perhaps rarely. You can set up an easy to reach drawer for everyday things, while the rest can be stored away.
#Tip Seven: Declutter! Look to Japan for inspiration to declutter your home using the Marie Kondo method. It’s all about surrounding yourself with items that spark joy. When tidying the home, some of her lessons include tackling categories rather than rooms, not getting bogged down in nostalgia while cleaning and only keeping the items that bring you joy.