Planning a renovation?

If you’ve got a small space to work with, getting the design right can help you create something truly functional and beautiful that’s also long-lasting.

We see a lot of big, beautiful homes in Sydney’s East that are not short on space at all. But we also sell a lot of properties in inner city suburbs like Paddington, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst, where space can be at a premium, both inside and outside. But small terraces, apartments and houses can all be made to feel bigger.

Thoughtful design is the key to making the most of a small space. And in a small space one of the key things buyers look for – and ask us about – is storage. Here are some ideas we’ve seen that help to make the most of every centimetre.

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Embrace those awkward spaces

Most of us have an area in our homes that is either a dumping ground for ‘stuff’ or completely forgotten about. But those awkward spaces can be functional if you give them a purpose. Could the space beneath a staircase be transformed into a cosy reading nook, a powder room or a hidden laundry with sliding doors you can close when guests pop round? Or could you have a joiner build custom-made pull-out shelves to hide clutter?

Similarly, a tight area between two walls or a fireplace and a wall can make the perfect home office space – or a deep, built-in cupboard for extra storage, or custom-built open shelving. 1 Belmore Place Paddington has a good example of this.

Create a smart, clutter-free kitchen

The trick to keeping a kitchen clutter-free is a good design and the right storage above and below the benchtop. Open shelving can make it easy to grab plates and cups you use all the time – or, you could install cupboards right up to the ceiling and use the top cupboards to store appliances you don’t use all that often (and you won’t ever have to dust the tops of the cupboards – like the kitchen in 6/313A Edgecliff Road).

Similarly, use your wall space to hang beautiful pots and pans (easy to grab when cooking) or install a rail with hooks on the splashback to keep things off the bench. Under the bench, generous sliding drawers are better for maximising space and being able to see and access everything at a glance. And don’t forget to hide away the bin – a slide-out waste bin hidden under the bench in a cabinet ensures a clean, streamlined look.

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Utilise high ceilings

One feature of many older inner-city terraces is the beautiful high ceilings – and you’d do well to maximise this space. An architect-designed loft space for sleeping or reading can add another versatile room or private nook, freeing up the area below for another purpose. High ceilings can also be a boon when creating inspiring kids rooms – think floor to ceiling built-in bunk-beds that keep the floors clear for playing.

Similarly, wall to wall bookshelves that stretch right up to the top of your high ceilings will make the room look larger, create an instant home library vibe – and provide oodles of storage, eliminating the need for bulky furniture taking up your precious floor space.

Choose space-saving doors

Traditional bedroom and bathroom ‘hinge’ doors can take up a lot of space when opening, so be smart about the doors you choose when renovating. ‘Pocket’ doors which slide into a hidden wall compartment save on swinging space, as do compact bifold doors which fold neatly to one side.

Similarly, rustic barn doors on iron rails are also a fantastic space saver, especially for small bedrooms – and can make a striking statement in an otherwise bland hallway.

Don’t ignore the entrance

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Marie Kondo, it’s that everything in your home (especially a small home) should have its designated space. And that’s never truer than in the entryway, which can easily become cluttered with bags, coats, umbrellas and shoes. To avoid this, plan out exactly what goes on in this space and how you’d like it to function.

Do you have space for a practical bench-seat with custom storage for shoes? What kind of hooks do you need to hold coats and bags? Can you include a mirror and some shelving, perhaps with smaller hooks for keys? Creating the right entry-level area that fits in your space can go a long way in keeping the rest of the home uncluttered.

Creating an urban alfresco paradise

Inner city properties rarely have very large gardens but good design can result in a multi-functional area you can use all year round. For example, those skinny outdoor spaces down the side of the house can be perfect for lap pools like the one at 44 Goodhope Street – while small plunge pools or built-in jacuzzis can also fit in a small area.

Embracing the vertical gardens trend can also bring lush greenery to your backyard without the clutter of pot plans. You can be smart with your outdoor storage, too, with custom-built BBQ areas and decking that features seating with storage underneath.

If you’re looking to renovate your home, contact our team for advice on which renovations may add the most value.

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