Living Room: Furniture & Small Spaces

Storage
Almost 90 percent of us are stressed out by clutter, according to research by Australian retailer Howards Storage World. Clear out your home and mind by using different types of storage to maximise the amount you can pack away.   Be creative: dual-purpose furniture such as ottomans and sofas can be used to store spare towels and linen. A rattan basket under a coffee table is handy for books, magazines and toys. Drawers are the most efficient form of storage as you can pull the contents towards you rather than having to dig through them. Look for drawers that light up automatically when opened to make life eve easier.   Make a feature of clutter – asymmetrical box shelving can be used to show off neatly folded stationery, your best china and trinkets. Shelves don’t have to be conventional – wall hangings are a fun option – have a look on online homewares retailer everythingbegins.com.   If you aren’t on a budget, consider having custom-made, built-in joinery. It provides a much larger volume for storage, adds to the value of your home and can make use of an awkward space. Alternatively, a modular storage system that is attached to and hangs from the ceiling can house everything from a TV to a desk – plus it can be moved.

Small Spaces
For accessibly priced, practical and smart solutions for compact spaces, look to stores like G. O. D., BoConcept, JMStyle and Ikea. “In a small living space, think altitude,
says Ben Ng, a designer for Ikea. “There is infinite storage space on a wall – shelves are an ideal choice. By adjusting the height of shelf intervals, all the items can be stored in a good order.
Ben also recommends buying furniture with wheels. “Coffee tables, wardrobes and other pieces can be moved easily, increasing the flexibility in tidying up your home.”   Walk-through rooms make the most of space and light, so it might be worth considering making your living and dining room open plan.   Another way to save space is with technology – svelte soundbars replace bulky speakers and wires; smart televisions that connect to the internet allow you to watch programmes and films plus surf the web and Skype; and consoles such as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 or 4 are single boxes that play games, download and store music as well as show TV and movies.

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Furniture
The essence of creating a living room is allowing space to breathe. There is nothing more luxurious than that, especially in Hong Kong,” says Nathalie Edwards, creative director of Life Styling interior design studio.   She suggests using furniture to create an illusion of space, with materials such as Perspex or glass. “It’s a great material as it is diaphanous,” says Nathalie, believing that you should invest as much as you can in basic living room furniture. “A sofa should be as comfortable as possible.”   For an informal feel, David suggests mixing symmetry with asymmetry. Large long sofas combined with tub armchairs and a combination of different side tables mixes things up and adds a cosy feel.   “Eco-wood furniture is naturally beautiful and makes stunning statement pieces that, with a little love and care, will last forever. The lovingly handcrafted one will also add a touch of sophistication to your interior, and can easily be mixed and matched with other materials for a modern twist as well as with different colours,” says Kate Babington, managing director of Tree.