Saturday, April 20

Big on ideas

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Start making the most of living in a small space by clearing out all the clutter

Tips for living in a small

* Keep visual clutter to a minimum. I decided to stick with mainly a black and white colour scheme to keep things calm in the small space, with pops of colour to make it feel warm.

* Don’t underestimate the power of essential oils in your apartment. It creates another layer of “decoration” and adds to the sense of a welcoming and homely space.

* I love plants in a small space. They create warmth and add life.

* The bad news is a small space gets messy quickly. The good news is it can be quickly tidied again.

The most valuable tidying advice I ever got was to look for things that are not where they should be when you move between rooms.

For example, when I get up from the couch to go to the kitchen, I always check for cups, plates and so on that I can take with me.

* I like the Marie Kondo philosophy: if something does not bring you joy, it is time to let go of it. As I clean my flat and notice things are looking old and tired, chipped or outdated, I consider whether it is time to let go of them or fix them.

Renovation romance

* Painting a room is probably one of the cheapest ways to transform a room and is easy to change again if you don’t like the new look. For example, I had the window panes, which were a dull depressing grey, painted black. This also helped to change the look and feel of the rooms.

* I created boards on Pinterest for the different rooms and pinned lots of pictures.

I realised after a while that I kept posting pictures of black and white kitchens and bathrooms, which really helped me to decide, for example, on which tiles to buy for the bathroom.

Don’t feel that you only have to pin pictures of small spaces. Incorporate “big home” ideas into your small space.

I also follow Apartment Therapy on Facebook which offers case studies on renovations and before and after pictures. You will draw a lot of inspiration from other people’s experiences.

* See how you can re-use existing furniture and fittings in the new space. My kitchen had an old wall-mounted plywood cupboard unit with about 70 years worth of grease and grime and bubble glass sliding doors.

The builder carefully removed it and a handyman removed the bubble glass doors, sanded the unit, gave it a fresh coat of white paint, and attached castor wheels.

Now it is next to my front door, providing storage space for my shoes, handbags and odds and ends.

* Keep an eye out for Facebook groups such as Freecycle Cape Town CBD and Surrounds. You will be amazed at what other people are letting go of. I found my chandelier on Freecycle. It was dirty and missing the crystals, so I had it cleaned, bought crystals from a bead shop and had fun re-beading it myself. Now it looks beautiful in my renovated flat and helps to lift the look.

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