Space Saving Tips


This was an article I had written for Zee Lifestyle Magazine in early 2012.  I thought of posting it on my blog as these are timeless tips for saving space.

I bagged this project after I had done a few model units in 2010 for The Persimmon, an Aboitizland Development in Mabolo, Cebu City.  This was a typical loft-style unit with a floor area of approximately 45 square meters.  That’s not very much to work with considering that you have to pack in a dining table for four, a 3-seater sofa, a 32” TV, laundry area, a working kitchen with all the appliances, a queen size bed, and ample closet and storage space, just a few of the basic requirements of a typical unit.  The loft on the second floor serves as the bedroom, and it is also where the bathroom is located.  The plan is laid out in such a way that the hallway leading to the bathroom can also be a walk-in-closet, but I chose to do otherwise to give the bedroom a bigger feel. 

While there may be several ways to approach the design problem, together with my HL Designs team and a very trusted contractor, we managed to make it work.  Just like any project, it is not without delays.  The entire renovation took several months to finish, considering all the long holidays brought about by the Christmas season plus a few obstacles along the way.  But the result is something that made both client and us, designers, happy.  While I must hand it to the client for giving us free reign to work on the project, nothing beats a hard day’s (more like months) work than to get a text message from the client at the end of the day saying, “Great work by the way!” 

Allow me to share some of the techniques we applied in designing this loft-style unit to maximize space and make it look bigger:

1.  Use furniture to scale.  Simply put, the size of the furniture should be proportional to the room.  Don’t be afraid to customize furniture if need be.     

2.  Mirrors give an illusion of space.  This always does the trick!  It is an optical illusion that would make viewers think the area extends further when it really does not.  Also, it reflects more light, making a small space look brighter.  When a room is brighter, it instantly looks bigger.    

3.  Lighter colors make a room look bigger.  Use whites and neutral colors on walls and ceilings.  But don’t be afraid to add a splash of color here and there. Accent colors applied to one side of the walls have become a trend these days.  Printed or bright-colored throw pillows on a neutral sofa can give that playful look.  Colors can also be incorporated in soft furnishing like curtains and accessories.          

4. Make things float.  Cantilevered ledges can be used to hold books or even an entertainment unit without occupying precious floor space.  It’s stylish and functional! 

5.  Keep an open floor plan.  By eliminating dividers, more square footage is actually added to the living space, in addition to a more spacious feel. 

Pardon the unhung frame.  We were in the middle of setting up this unit when this picture was taken.  

The mirror makes the space look bigger, while the cantilevered ledge used to mount the TV adds more floor area to the room.  

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