The Designer’s Guidebook Part Three:

How to make the most of your space.

Below we have collected our top tips for making the most out of any space, no matter what size.

Save on Floor Space

By reducing the amount of furniture touching the floor, you not only physically create more space to walk, you also trick the eye into thinking a room is larger, whilst also creating the illusion that large pieces of furniture are ‘weightless’ and therefore less imposing.

Try these to make this tip work in your next project:


Wall Mounted/Hidden Desk

Foldaway desks can convert underutilised spaces into offices instantly, as well as save on floor space when not in use (similar to Murphy beds). Here in the Cheshire House, we incorporated twin writing desks into the large storage unit, allowing the client’s daughters to keep their homework space tidy, whilst still allowing for plenty of floor space to play!





Wall Mounted TV

Adding a wall mounted TV instantly negates the need for a TV stand, freeing up floor space. You can further this by incorporating it into its own wall unit, adding storage and allowing it to seamlessly blend into the aesthetic of the room.


Floating Furniture

Large pieces of furniture such as kitchen islands can often dominate a room, making it seem overcrowded. By creating the illusion of space underneath the unit, you prevent these large items from seeming overbearing. We love these scandinavian ‘floating’ kitchen units by Garde Hvalsøe.

Image credit: Garde Hvalsøe.

Build Up Not Out

Make sure to take full advantage of the height of each room, and maximise storage by building floor to ceiling, rather than letting clutter spread out, taking up precious floor space and detracting from the clean lines and overall aesthetic of the space.

Lemon Tree



By adding sconces or wall-mounted lights, you’re saving on table space and creating a more considered finished aesthetic. Custom furniture allows you to double up purposes in a space, such as in the Lemon Tree House, where we created a headboard and floor-to-ceiling storage, with integrated bedside lights and tables.





JPDA added plenty of storage via the addition of a mezzanine level in this New York apartment. Not only are there drawers incorporated into the rise of each step, they also added high-level storage above part of the kitchen, retaining the full height elsewhere so as not to confine the space.



Design matters

Smart design can take a space from unusable to inspirational. Adding to the previous point, we love these clever transformations of studio apartments, who take build up not out to new heights, by adding various levels and mezzanines to maximise the use of all the space, from floor to ceiling.





We love the clever use of cost-effective materials that really maximise the use of space in this tiny 29m² apartment, design by 3XA CAANdesign Architecture!

Image credit: 3XA CAANdesign


Studio Verve add extra space above the kitchen and bathroom in this modern apartment, utilising timber slats that clearly define each room whilst still allowing light to filter through.


Image credit: Studio Verve




Craft Design cleverly converted an unlivable office loft space into a contemporary apartment, by adding central white ‘cube’ that houses the bathroom, creates a mezzanine bedroom space, and also separates the kitchen/dining and living rooms.

Image credit: Craft Design


Multi-use furniture

Whilst many items of furniture that are purchased off-the-shelf serve one purpose, bespoke items can be customised to perfectly suit you or your client’s needs & requirements.




Not only does this media unit, in the Ladder living room, house a hidden TV and allows for plenty of storage, it also incorporates a reading nook on one side.


Signal House




Customised furniture also means that you can always maximise storage. These bench seats have hidden storage underneath, ensuring a clutter free, tranquil environment.






Mirrored cabinets in the bathroom can be installed to utilise the wall void, allowing them to sit flush with the wall and look like a simple mirror when shut. In the Decca Radar station, we used this principle to convert a tiny window ledge into a unique piece of bathroom storage.






If you want a kitchen island, but don’t have space for this and a dining area, double the purpose of the island and use it as a table with bar stools, as we did in the Lemon Tree House, it makes an excellent entertaining space!


Utilise overlooked areas

Make sure to use every space that might otherwise be forgotten about – this includes hanging space on the back of doors, space under chairs and beds, and under-stair storage.




We added hidden pull-out shoe storage beneath the staircase in the Lantern House, keeping messy shoes tidy and out of sight.







We added hidden pull-out shoe storage beneath the staircase in the Lantern House, keeping messy shoes tidy and out of sight.


Bespoke furniture

Another plus for procuring custom furniture for a space is the ability to maximise the use of every inch of it. Bespoke cabinetry can be designed and made to perfectly fit even the most awkward of nooks, crannies or cubbies, to provide additional storage whilst also utilising otherwise dead floor space.




In the children’s bedroom of the Courtyard House, we added a custom wardrobe under the sloping roof, transforming this awkward bit of loft space into a beautiful, fit-to-purpose child’s bedroom.






In the Cheshire House the central brick pier conceals services and houses recessed mirrored cabinets, custom bookcases in the niches either side store some of the client’s extensive book collection.

Signal house






In the Signal House, we ensured every opportunity to maximise storage was explored and implemented, including the design and fabrication of custom bed frames to include storage beneath, as well as incorporating pull-out drawers in the space under the stairs.


Choose your colour palette with purpose

Using a light colour palette is another classical architectural trick to open up a room and make it feel more airy by tricking the eye into thinking that the space is bigger than it is. This works as lighter paint colours reflect more light, bouncing it around the space whereas darker colours absorb it.

You can use this to your advantage in awkward shaped rooms. For example, in a long rectangular room painting the two shorter end walls in a marginally darker shade than the longer walls, you can make them feel closer together, and therefore the room feel squarer. Similarly, you can make a low-ceiling seem higher by painting it a slightly lighter shade than your walls or trim.



When choosing a paint colour, consider its Light reflective value (LRV). This scale goes from 0-100, 100 being the most reflective bright white. The higher LRV the bigger, brighter and airier a space will feel. Be careful not to go too high however, as a room painted with 100 LRV paint will feel like an art gallery and will not be a relaxing space to occupy. Little Greene helpfully includes their paint’s LRV on their website, and have a beautiful range of shades & colours.




Whilst it may seem counter-intuitive to the above tip, zoning your spaces with colour can make each room more readable to the eye and therefore bigger. Colour coordinating cabinetry adds to this effect, creating a clean aesthetic with a big impact.





Embracing a space’s size by painting it a dark colour can also make a beautiful statement, and creating a welcoming, cosy room. This is a good choice in rooms with little to no natural light for a white paint to reflect (think light in south-facing rooms and dark in north-facing spaces). Painting the trim and even the ceiling the same colour can add to the impact of this.



Curate your possessions

Everything on display should complement your interior and joinery, not detract from it. By ensuring every item has a home and keeping everything in its place, even the busiest of shelves can look curated.




This allows you to cherish the items that you love most, by admiring them everyday (from the KonMari method)!

Pier House





If you prefer a super clean aesthetic, then choose storage that conceals almost everything, thus preventing over-cluttering and maintaining the designer’s vision. The addition of just a few feature shelves can again allow you to display only your most precious belongings and break up large expanses of spray work.

Keep it at the door

Shoes and coats are some of the bulkiest items of clothing, and can often creep into our wardrobes and living spaces, taking up precious space. By adding coat and shoe racks at the door, you can leave the wardrobes free for other items.









Custom storage can transform awkward hallways into functional organised boot rooms, like we did in the Etch House.













In the Canopy House, we added a narrow bench with storage for shoes underneath, and the flexible peg board wall allows the client to alter the space and height of the hooks to suit their needs.












In the Cheshire House, bespoke joinery fits this nook perfectly, creating a boot room with purpose-built spaces for each pair of shoes and each member of the family!







Customise your space

If something is not useful or it doesn’t spark joy (as Marie Kondo would say) why is it there?









If something combines these, like this decorative towel rail we installed in the Cheshire House, then you have the best of both worlds.







Don’t be afraid of big pieces

It’s surprising to see that rooms look bigger furnished as opposed to unfurnished, and a few curated pieces of large furniture can make a space look roomier than one cluttered with multiple miniature pieces.




The Decca Radar station is built on a small footprint of land, however due to a few, carefully selected, pieces of furniture (including large 4 person sofa, lounge chair and in-built fireplace surround and bench seat), this pint-sized property feels luxuriously spacious.



Implement mirrors

Lastly, it’s the oldest trick in the architectural book, but adding mirrors is the easiest way to quickly increase the impression of space within a room. Not only do they reflect any natural light that is entering the space (place near to windows to maximise this effect) but they also trick the eye into thinking the walls are further apart than they are. When incorporated into the design of a space, mirrors can have the maximum impact, as opposed to being added as an afterthought.






X-living demonstrate this excellently in their stunning psychedelic renovation of this public swimming pool.


Image credit: design boom


Have we missed any of your favourite tips for maximising space? Get in touch via the buttons below to let us know! If you want more insider tips from us, head over to our previous post, ‘Choosing environmentally friendly materials’.

If you’ve found some of our tips on maximising space interesting, and you would like to get in contact to see how we could help you apply these to a project, please click the button below and fill out the contact form. Alternatively, do not hesitate to give us a call on 020 7252 1560, or drop us a line at We look forward to hearing from you!

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