Now regular readers will know that I’m not really one for DIY. I’m more of a ASETDI (ask someone else to do it) but that’s not to say that I don’t come across clever ideas for maximising small spaces or improving the look of the ones you have with a neat idea, so today I thought I would share five of these with you. The next five will come just as soon as I have thought of them! That’s not quite true but I wanted to split them into two (or possibly even more posts as I hope you may all get involved).
So the first one came about yesterday when my builder came round to paint the bedroom – yes the pale grey is going. We will have only one grey room left and that’s Down Pipe in the bathroom which I still adore and won’t be going anywhere…. famous last words.
We were talking to him about redoing the shower room – which we always talk about as it needs redoing – and he was extolling the virtues of microcement which, like last week’s waterproof wallpaper, can go over the top of existing tiles. Now that room is very, very small so in addition to installing a wall-mounted loo (which we should have done in the first place) he mentioned that another space-saving trick is to stick a panel of underfloor heating on the wall, plaster (or microcement) over it and then simply add hooks for your towels.
That way you have a clean look, no heated towel rail to clean and warm, dry towels. You can, of course do this behind tiles or even plaster over the top if your wall is painted and it would still take up less room.
This, I thought, was such a clever idea as I have never loved the look of those heated towel rails and if you’re hanging your towels you don’t get that much heat from them anyway.
And so I got to thinking – what other clever ideas have I come across that might be worth sharing?
Here’s another. This came courtesy of Sophie Robinson (and talking of which have you listened to episode three of our podcast which is where she first mentioned it?). Staying in the bathroom, she knew someone who installed a wall of mirrored cabinets which made the space look much bigger as there was so much reflection and also gave them masses of hidden storage – something that is always at a premium in bathrooms. We have one cabinet in the downstairs loo that is 10cm so you would bring the room in by that much. This isn’t quite the right picture but I couldn’t find one that completely illustrated the point. And I think this totally works in a bathroom in a way that a wall of mirrored wardrobes in the bedroom doesn’t as it can all be a bit much.
Next up make use of Washi tape as a decorative tool. This works if you don’t want to commit to paint but is also a good idea for rentals as you can add decoration to a space that won’t damage the paintwork. It has the advantage of being temporary so that also means you can change the colour as often as you like. Below is the bedroom of Andrew Jonathan Design and you can see that it just adds a splash of colour which he can change as he changes his cushions.
In addition to that I was also sent, earlier this summer, a box of Haru tape which is wide removable tape in a range of colours. You can choose from eight colour families, two patterns, three materials and four different widths. It’s a very clever idea and one that is perfect for playrooms and teen rooms as well.
Now, a question that I am asked all the time is not only how to hide the television but how to hide all the attendant wires that seem to result from the speakers, the boxes and, in our case, the modem which also lives there. It’s fine if you have a cabinet on which the tv stands but we don’t. Our television is in a narrow alcove and, for a while it was wall mounted to keep the space looking less cluttered but all the wires hung down the wall. Now this solution won’t be right for everyone but this is what we have done – aside from painting the walls dark.
There are two shelves in the alcove – one for the tv and sound box and one for all the other stuff. The electrician moved all the plugs to a row above the bottom shelf and cut a piece of ply to sit in front that you can pull out if you need access. This looks like it’s part of the wall but keeps everything tidy.
You can see below how it looks behind the panel – that is because we recently got a new sky box which is smaller than the old one so we need to cut a new piece of plywood. In the second picture I stuck a book there to cover the hole so you get a better idea of how it looks. And yes I wish the modem was black not white… but that’s another story.
Lastly, I mentioned this in passing a few weeks ago but I think it’s a good idea that bears repeating. Coloured curtain linings. Abigail Ahern has done this in her collaboration with Hillarys and it does make the curtains work outside as well as in. I know you aren’t decorating for the neighbours (unless your name is Jones) or for the street but it does look prettier and more considered so for that reason I include it here.
So there you have it – five decorating hacks that might be helpful to you. Let me know what you think, send over your own and I will do part two soon.