Intelligent planning, while building, renovation and even while making cosmetic changes to one’s home, is the best way to deal with a space crunch.
When it comes to real estate, space is a luxury. And one that not everybody can afford. Small apartments, although quite popular among buyers as well as builders, seem to be grappling with the issue of space.
Smaller apartments definitely have plenty of takers. Whether it is the increase in the floating population of Chennai, or the space crunch that is the bane of every big city; whether you picked a small house because it is your first real estate investment or simply because a small apartment fits your requirements, the bottom line is that a little more space is always welcome.
According to Vijay Rajan, an architect, making the most of the space available to all comes down to intelligent planning. Even the smallest of houses can be more spacious than they look, if planned intelligently. “Small homes are mostly part of apartment buildings where the home owner does not have much say in the basic frame of the house. But that should not deter one from making the best of the space available to them,” he says. For small houses, functionality of space is paramount and hence special attention needs to be given to various aspects of building to ensure this. Even when the overall area is not as much as one would like, there are quite a few ways the space crunch can be addressed at the time of construction itself. “For smaller houses, one needs to ensure that the flow of the house is compact and efficient. There can be absolutely no unutilised spaces in the house. One way to do this is to give functionality to all the odd spaces in the house. Also, thinner walls inside the house can add a precious few inches to the overall area,” he adds. The basic layout, the design, the reusability of space, use of lighter colours and maximising natural light, are some of the basic things to keep in mind.
Although the best way to go about increasing space efficiency is to work with the idea right from the planning stage, it might not always be possible. Today, the real estate sector is giving abundant thought to space efficiency. However, residential units constructed in the past continue to struggle with the minimal space they started out with. “In most existing homes, renovating can increase usable space to a great extent. Simple things like breaking down half the wall between the kitchen and dining area not only increases the open area but also brings into play an extra platform that can provide functional usage to both the segments,” says Nivetha B, principal architect. For a long time, the idea of renovating consisted mostly of covering up the balcony space so that it became part of the room, thereby increasing internal space. Although this does make sense, there are better ways to do it. “When you decide to cover up a balcony or verandah, you are reducing the outdoor space of the house which in turn actually reduces the feeling of space rather than increasing it. What one could do instead, is to take in the balcony but instead of c overing it up completely, install wall-to-wall windows. This ensures enough natural light and exposure to the outdoors in such a way that you don’t feel boxed in,” she adds.
Use of multi-purpose furniture is also a sure shot way to make your home accommodate more than it could. “Dual usage is a great idea for smaller homes since any space can be tweaked according to personal needs and requirements. There is a lot of variety in terms of space-saving furniture that is available these days. Intelligent use of such furniture can help the hall double up as a second bedroom and the bedroom could be used as a study or office during the day, increasing usable space,” says Arun Nagappan S, a senior designer.
Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai