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Big ideas for small spaces

Cape Town - Small spaces

The high demand for accommodation in South Africa and especially in security estates, means high density housing solutions like apartment blocks or townhouse complexes have become increasingly popular.

“City living gives you the unmatched convenience of living close to work,” says Wendy Williams, Sales Director of Engel & Völkers South Africa. “And although the living spaces may be small, there are ways to make them appear and feel larger and more comfortable.”

The first rule of small spaces is to avoid clutter. One of the best ways to achieve this is not to introduce potential clutter in the first place. If this can't be helped, however, make sure you have more than enough storage space and make sure you can move around easily.

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Analyse the traffic flow in your apartment.A space will seem annoyingly small if you and your guests have to climb over furniture. Place furniture carefully to allow free access.

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To create a visual perception of space,consider armless chairs and couches – they can adapt to different positions more easily than those with arms and they seem to take up less space while allowing the eye to cross the room. It's also worth investing in a really well-built couch that is covered with good fabric, as this will last for years to come.

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Built-in cupboards offer much needed storage space. Install cupboards that reach to the ceiling to maximise space and avoid the dust traps found on the top. If a door gets in your way –consider taking it out. You can replace it with a sliding door or make the door space bigger, creating the illusion of one big space rather than two small ones.


While you're considering taking your built-in cupboards to the ceiling, look at dropping your curtains from ceiling height rather than from just above the window. The added height will draw the eye upwards and will allow your fabric to drape perfectly.

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While you're looking at the ceiling, it's worth investing in beautiful cornicing – the height of the detail will again draw the eye upwards, enhancing a spacious feel.

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Perhaps one of the best ways of expanding a space visually is by introducing light. Mirrors, glass and reflective ornaments (like silver and crystal) expand light, making an area appear more roomy

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Also consider your paint colours carefully, as lighter colours reflect light, while darker colours – perfect for accents – make a room seem small. Let as much sunshine in as possible – natural light will do you more favours than you realise!

However big your space – it's your home,and should bear your signature. Whatever the design experts say, there are always rules that are meant to be broken,so if your instinct wants to go against any of these tips – give it a try anyway. In the instances where the space you need can not be created, and you are considering a change of home, visit to locate your local Engel & Völkers shop for a free market valuation on your current property or view an extensive portfolio of properties available.

Engel & Völkers

Atlantic Seaboard
375 Main Road, Sea Point
8005 Cape Town
South Africa
+27 (0)21 434 4460

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