Creative use of space

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 March, 2011, 12:00am

How do you maximise space to accommodate a home theatre and cosy couches while maintaining an airy feel without compromising privacy? Kelly Chow, design associate of Krispace, warns that 'if you fill your home with all the comforts you can think of, it will stop being comfy'.

To strike a balance, Chow says it is important to learn how to use and reorganise space.

Chow showed how he did that with his design for a family of five who live in a three-bedroom flat. The owners want the family to be able to share quality time together while having space of their own.

In order to optimise the use of space, Chow began by eliminating the barriers. He removed the unused corner of the living room by moving the wall separating the living room forward and straightening it. Then he replaced the dining table with a three-metre long one. That opened the space in the living room, giving the children more area to play, and making the room more cosy.

To make the best of the space, Chow shares a few more ideas.

Extending the indoors to outdoors: An extension can be made through the balcony, windows or garden. Chow integrated the balcony with the living room by introducing natural light and wind to the room.

The harmony of lines: The blend of simple lines can widen the perspective. For example, the frame of the balcony door, cabinets in the living room and kitchen were placed on the same level and in harmony. Chow also redecorated the glass pane of the balcony with a chic touch.

The choice of materials and colours: Different materials and colours do not always work well with each other. That is why Chow picked a tone and stayed with it throughout the design of the furniture. He also chose materials to make sure they go with the colour tone.

Playing with proportion: Space is tricky. You have to take in everything as a whole, instead of considering the furniture as individual pieces. In this design Chow chose a much larger dining table to go with the couch because he wanted it to serve as an island in the space.

Space can bring your family closer and help protect the environment. The island design and home theatre, for example, can draw children out of their rooms to the living area.

Anthony Wong, director of design at ACM Landscape Design Development, believes design can play a part in bringing more harmony to the family. 'Space can bring the family closer and give them something to share.'

Wong is also concerned with the flow of air in the room. 'I can't help but wonder why we are always asked to tear down the walls and install air-conditioners. It's so mechanical. A decent designer should be able to take care of the air flow and environment at the same time,' he says. Homeowners should think twice before removing walls and hallways. Windows, doors and hallways can be useful in directing air flow.

'It's best to bring fresh air into the living room and let the static pressure drive the air out through the wash room. That way, you can dramatically reduce germs in the air,' Wong says.