Posted on 13th September 2023

Room for Manoeuvre: How Can You Add Function Into Your Underutilised Space?

Interior Design

Article by Paul Jacob, CEO of Clever Closet

Since the 1950s, we have seen a drastic reduction in the size of our homes in the UK. The average size of new-builds reduced by 20% from 1950 to 2020. This has been coupled with rising inflation and interest rates, meaning that it is more difficult to move house or even to make any major changes to existing homes. As a result, more and more of us are looking to create more utility in the spaces that we already have in our homes. 

The question for a lot of people, however, is, how can they improve the utility of their home without breaking the bank?


Make sure your furniture is appropriately sized 

One easy way to make sure that you aren’t inadvertently reducing the functionality of a room in your home is to make sure that your furniture is the right size. Furniture that is too large makes a room feel cluttered and can make the space feel less relaxed. One of the most common pieces of furniture that dominates a room is the sofa

When choosing your sofa there are three main things to consider: length, depth and function. The length of a sofa ideally should not exceed ⅔ of the wall that is behind it. This helps to make sure that it doesn’t dominate the room. The depth of the sofa is also important to consider, as a sofa that is the right length but too deep can also protrude into the room too much and begin to take over the room. The function of the sofa is also important. Is the sofa for exclusively relaxing and watching television or is it for socialising? Having this in mind will help you to choose the shape and position of the sofa in the room. 


Have different lighting settings

Another way to improve the way that a living space works for you in your home is to have multiple lighting settings within one room. Multiple different light settings will drastically change the feel of a room and allow you to utilise the space for different purposes without feeling constrained by the space. For example, a bright whiter light will allow you to use a room as a workspace in the day, but switching to a softer yellow light will help you to use that same space to relax in the evening, maximising its versatility. 


Create specific zones

Using a room for multiple different functions can feel like the room is bleeding from one space into another. Having designated zones for each function helps to create a feeling that the space is being utilised to its full potential without becoming crowded. Using the example from the previous point, if you are using a room for both work and relaxation, having a section in which you work and then another distinct section for relaxation is key to maintaining a sense of separation. Create specific zones within a room for each function and try to keep them apart. Don’t, for example, be tempted to work from the sofa or stream a show from your work laptop. This blurs the boundaries between them and makes the room feel smaller as a result. 


Add storage 

One of the best ways to improve the functionality of rooms in your home is to improve the amount of storage space you can access. Many people feel that they do not have enough storage with 1 in 4 of us losing an entire room just to store miscellaneous items. 

Creating more storage capacity also helps you to maintain the separation between the zones in your home. Being able to put away items from one activity before you begin another has a transformative effect on the room and heightens the feeling of difference in the space. When choosing storage units, a great way of maximising the benefits is to install a storage solution that uses unused space. For example, a built-in unit under the stairs can maximise how much of this empty space can be used for storage. This means that you can improve the amount of storage space in a home without reducing the amount of space that you can actually use. 


Reduce clutter

As well as improving the amount of storage space that you have, it is also key to try and reduce clutter. Once you have created an environment that can store the items that you need, it is important to try and keep on top of the clutter by utilising the space effectively and removing unnecessary items. This helps to reduce the feeling of stress within a room and allow you to use it more freely. 

While it can seem impossible to make a difference to the space that you have in your home without spending large amounts of money, there are a number of ways that you can change your perception of a space without breaking the bank. Looking at how you can innovate to maximise the space you are using and finding new ways to use the spaces you aren’t enjoying to their full potential can create whole new uses for rooms and breathe new life into your home.