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Turning a squeeze into space – ideas for maximising your apartment

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With innovative use of sliding “rooms”, light and mirrors, architect Gary Chang transformed a 344sqft apartment into 24 rooms.Built in appliances save more space and can fit unobtrusively into a home, creating more space for its inhabitants.

Where are you accessing this article? If you live in a major Asian city, chances are high the answer is “from an apartment”. Considering that nine of the top 10 cities with the highest population density are from Asia, chances are also good that space is at a premium in that apartment.

But limited space doesn’t mean you can’t live large. Just look at Hong Kong architect Gary Chang for inspiration. This video shows how he turned his 344sqft apartment into 24 different rooms, including a bar, kitchen, guest bedroom and a bathroom with a bathtub.

Gary Chang home

Photo credit: youtube

His is not the only reimagining of the way we utilise and live in spaces. Europe has long led the charge in innovative furniture design, and companies like Resource Furniture uses Italian designed furniture to create extra utility within the same spaces. Sofas fold down into beds, stackable stools turn into a stylish shelving unit and coffee tables can be pulled up into dining tables, making each space in a small apartment multifunctional.

This is what the Matroshka does. Named after the Russian term for nesting dolls, it combines a living room, study, dining room and bedroom into a space that measures no more than 2 by 3.5 meters. A space of 15sqft is all it needs to be used optimally, with its various components nested within each other.

These innovative space savers essentially use the same design principles to make the most of a compact area:

–        Making each space multifunctional: If you live alone in a studio or one bedroom apartment, a dining table can also serve as a work table, while sofa beds can turn an entertainment area into a bedroom.

–        Maximise hidden storage areas: Areas under a bed or table can serve as hidden storage spaces. Sliding shelves and bookcases can give you extra storage space without the extra clutter. Get appliances like the Electrolux UltraActive vacuum, which is designed to fold into a compact package and slide easily into small spaces.

–        Use of the vertical: High shelving, wall cabinets and shelving over doorways can help maximise potential storage spaces. Wall mounted appliances like flat screen TVs or shelves, can free up extra space on floor and table surfaces.

–        Build in: A big advantage of built-in appliances and furniture is that they save space and give rooms a more sleek and elegant look. Built in ovens like the Electrolux EOB305X have all the functions of the latest ovens while slotting neatly into any space in a modern kitchen.

built in oven

–        Use of light and colour: With enough furniture, any apartment can still look crowded even with multifunctional spaces. Designing your spaces to allow maximum light into your home will make it look and feel bigger. Light, neutral and muted colours also help to create a bigger space visually. If your apartment is small, use a unifying colour rather than different colours for each room or space.

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