Space matters

Morning, overslept big time this morning went to bed at 8.30 can you believe and slept a solid 11 hours, pretty unusual for me and probably would have slept a thousand hours more if I hadn’t been woken up. Thank goodness I was otherwise this could be lunchtime already!

Something I talked about alot last week in Australia was space. Whenever you move into a property somewhere along the line there is always a problem with space, rooms might be to big, to small, an awkward shape, facing the wrong direction there is always a little something.  In bijou teeny tiny pads in cities like NYC, Paris and London I’ve seen some ingenious use of small spaces; passageways and hallways double dutying as home offices, wardrobes you name it, to open plan massive spaces found in places like Australia and the States again I’ve seen some cool ways of cozying them up. So whether you live in a shoebox or a manor hourse my trick is to utilise rooms to the max.  You won’t be able to change the physical dimensions but you absolutely can change the perception. Here is how:

Number 1 top top top tip, paint the ceilings the same colour as the walls this applies to any size room. It will make the space grander, edgier and way more sophisticated especially in small rooms.

Number 2 Add visual interest through dazzling colour, this doesn’t have to be applied to walls so think accessories, the odd rug, bunch of flowers etc.

Number 3 Layer your lighting. If your space is large then you will want to cosy it up as it might feel a tad sterile and lighting is the way to go. Lots of little pockets of soft lighting will work a treat and take the space to a whole other level; the same of course goes with small rooms.

Number 4 Get the furniture placement right.  Crucial !. If all your stuff is up one end the room will feel unbalanced, if all the furniture is placed around the perimeter it will feel like a doctors waiting room and your space will feel uptight and dull. Move it in and angle it I say!

Number 5 Add Layers. The more layers you add the more interesting a room reads. The plan as I say a zillion times is to walk into a room and not know where to look because your eye is pulled in every which way. Subconsciously our senses are activated and we feel more excited. It’s an easy peasy trick.

My sister’s pad below (as seen in my latest book Decorating with Style, out here end of March). See how amazing Gem and her boyfriend Russ have made their hallway look. It’s not large but its sooo welcoming. You come in and you want to linger, hang out swig a martini whilst leaning against the banister looking at all the art. That is what its all about, decorating that makes you happy!

Photography Graham Atkins Hughes

Photography Graham Atkins Hughes

Right then that’s me done, I need coffee!

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21 thoughts on “Space matters

    • Seriously thats worrying. Can you just give me a little more info so I can pass it onto my publisher. Kinokuniya a bookstore in Sydney had quite a few copies when I left do you mind telling me where you tried. Big thank you

      • I tried Gleebooks in Glebe, Shearer’s in Leichhardt, Brays Books in Balmain and booktopia.com.au. None of them had any copies. The helpful person at Brays contacted Hardie Grant and was told that there would be a 6-8 week wait for new stock. Thank you for letting me know about Kinokuniya, I’ll try them …

      • Thank you for this I know Kinokuniya have a few left as I just directed someone that way yesterday and they got a copy x

  1. Hi Abi, I’m helping out at my friends interior store today and am having the most fun ever working with 2 young photography students who have gone completely off brief and instead of just photographing the store have created an animation of objects moving around having a riot of a time. I remembered you wrote something about having a YouTube channel. I think it would be hilarious to get set designers, stylists and photography and interiors students to create quirky animations. All you need is a digital camera and access to photoshop. No need for a film crew. Takes status space into the next dimension.

  2. Your advices are great! Could you write something about decorating bathrooms? Would you advice painting boxes around windows the same color as walls in the room? I think mine are some kind of plastic (often used on new buildings in my area) and I’m not sure how that would work.
    Best regards from Montenegro.

    • Its quite hard to paint plastic so I would leave as is and take the attention away from the frames by acccessorizing the bathroom with some really cool finds

  3. I have just ordered a copy and kinokuniya still have stock. Soooo excited about receiving it now, as wasn’t able to make book signing.

  4. Hi Abigail,
    Appreciate your work and how it has helped me to move away from the attitude of ‘the lighter the room the better’. I truly believed white was right for small rooms, but after read your girls guide book and then frantically stalking pinterest, I’m fully converted to dark walls and same colour ceiling. You can’t believe how excited I am now after finally persuaded my husband to join me on this dark ‘venture. He was rather reluctant and remains a tad sceptical, but I know he’s going to love it and therefore fall in love with my dark ideas for the hall stairs and landing ;-)
    However I do have a question. Our home is a 1968 semi, and so came with the fetching popcorn ceiling common to that time. At present we don’t have the funds to replaster the ceiling, and actually part of me is secretly fond of it as I kind of find it cute, and nowadays, ‘proper’ retro. I’m sure that’s just in my head only and not shared widely. But as the professional Abigail, do you think it would work with downpipe walls AND downpipe ‘popcorn’ ceiling?
    Be good to get your opinion on this. Very giddy for the future of my living room (and hopefully stairs and landing) & looking forward to the new book.
    Have a happy day
    Fran Mitchell

    • You can totally paint a textured ceiling the same colour as the walls. I have in the my studio and it just goes away. Infact when it was white I hated it but now its dark you notice it less and the texture looks kind of cool, so I’m reckoning you won’t want to plaster over it.

  5. Hi Abigail
    Just wanted to know the colour of the walls in the picture it’s beautiful and you are so right about everything being one colour just stunning
    Kelly xx

  6. Pingback: Dark rooms – Bringing an essence of excitement and sense of drama | Hannah In The House

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