Intelligent planning can incorporate different utilities in smaller homes

Space craft


Smaller homes need not necessarily be devoid of the many roles a home plays. Intelligent planning can incorporate different utilities in the same space.

When it comes to real estate, everybody wants a little more space. Especially those of us who live in houses that are at the beginner’s level equivalent of the real estate industry.

Of late, smaller apartments in the city have been getting a lot of attention from builders as well as buyers. Whether it is the increasing floating population that Chennai is playing host to, 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 Navin, director, Navin’s Housing, even the smallest of houses can be more spacious than they look, if planned intelligently. “For any residential unit, every inch needs to be efficiently planned. But when it comes to small houses, functionality of space is paramount and so special attention needs to be given to various aspects of building to ensure this,” he says. 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 small 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, he feels.

Although the best way to go about increasing space efficiency is to work with the idea right from the planning stage, it is not always 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 Nikita Bharat, a senior architect, Framework Solutions. 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 covering 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, thereby increasing usable space,” says Rithika S, a senior designer.

Source Divya Menon, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai