Anyone who has ever shopped for a home will know that there’s no such thing as the perfect property. Perhaps you come across one that has a beautiful new kitchen and bathroom but no backyard, for example. Or maybe there is a garden, and it’s manicured and landscaped to perfection, but there are simply not enough bedrooms for your needs.
Often, these issues stem from bad layouts. In an ideal world, layout changes would be simple enough – but with experts estimating that a two-story home extension costs a minimum of $50,000, it’s clear that this isn’t always possible. Here’s how to approach this problem and rearrange your home – without breaking the bank or spending a fortune in the process.
Screens and shutters
One of the most common tricks for people on a budget who want to rearrange the layout of an individual room is to go for a portable screen or shutter. Say you’re short of one bedroom, and you have two children who are willing to share. By placing a screen or shutter in between their beds, they’ll each have some privacy – without you having to take a more expensive route, such as installing a wall.
Often, these devices fold away easily in a concertina-style fashion for easy storage – meaning that you can adjust the layout of a room on a daily or even hourly basis! They can also be incorporated into your home’s décor: some screens can be painted or otherwise decorated, while others come with ornate decorations already included.
Play with light
It may seem like an off-the-wall suggestion, but adjusting light levels in your property can often lead to a much improved layout. The way that light falls – or fails to fall – can often have a subtle yet profound effect on the perceived size of a room, or at least which parts of the room are emphasized and which ones aren’t. If your main living area is devoid of natural light, for example, then it may seem dingy and like a waste of space – but you can use that to your advantage by turning that room into a cozy den with lots of soft blankets and deep sofas.
If the room is flooded with natural light, meanwhile, then a set of affordable shutters can help you make the room’s layout a little more customizable and essentially give you several rooms in one. Leaving the shutters open can create the illusion of space, making it ideal for when guests are visiting – but closing them can make a room cozier, giving it a familyroom vibe. While light controls or light-related customization isn’t quite as powerful as building an extension or knocking down a wall, it’s a great solution for those who are looking to change their home’s layout on a shoestring.
Creative furniture placements
Furniture can have a real impact on the layout of a space. When it comes to the living room, for example, you’re limited in where you place your couch. You could put it across the middle of the room, but that might impede walkthrough access. Or you could lay it across a wall, but that might not suit where your television socket is located or where your electricity plug points are.
As a result of conundrums like these, being a bit creative with furniture placements is essential. Sometimes, the answer is to simply scale back the amount of furniture you have in the room altogether: if you’ve got a couch and an armchair, for example, then getting rid of the armchair may be the only way to open up space and prevent cluttering. In bedrooms, meanwhile, bulky, fixed-place wardrobes can often be replaced with wall-mounted clothes hangers to open up space and allow you to be more flexible with where other furniture items such as beds can go.
A home’s layout can have a strong effect on your enjoyment of living in it. If you feel that your home is cluttered and cramped, for example, then you may start to crave more space – while a cavernous room could leave you cold. However, while many prominent layout alteration options – for instance, extensions for kitchen-diners or structural changes such as wall removals – are expensive, there are some cheaper options. By being creative with furniture placements, investing in some screens and shutters, or even adjusting light inflow, it’s possible to craft that amazing layout of your dreams even if you’re on a budget.