2 property predicaments – and how to overcome them!

From a room that's so dim it feels like a dungeon to an open-plan living area so expansive you feel as though you're living in a warehouse, there are numerous property predicaments that you may face when redecorating your home. 

Rather than packing up your things and moving, you can adopt some clever decorating techniques or completely renovation to improve these difficult spaces.

Here are two common predicaments that homeowners face, and ways to improve on them!

A dim bathroom

If you're living in a home with a bathroom lacking windows, there are solutions. 

You could add a skylight, whether a fixed variety or one that opens (either automatically or manually). Of course, this is a fairly significant renovation to make, so if you're not quite ready for this there are other options to explore. 

Start with the walls – choose a clean, light shade such as Resene Sea Fog or Resene Pearl Lusta. The former is a white with a gentle tint of grey, which pairs well with muted shades. Meanwhile, the latter is a pale cream with the gentlest touch of yellow to it, making it an ideal pick if you want a slightly warm neutral, while retaining a sense of freshness.

Once you've revamped the colour of the walls, focus on other areas. For instance, there's no point having busy patterned floors – this will only complicate the visual impression of the room further. Opt for light or mid grey tiles or perhaps fresh white floorboards. The former lends a more industrial feel, while white will contribute to a more Scandinavian aesthetic. Try and pick a design that has some texture or pattern to it – this will help hide the dust.

If you want to add splashes of colour, keep this for small items, such as a stepping stool, vase or indoor plant. Mint green adds a bit of character, but it's still a colour that evokes freshness. Likewise, shades like aqua and turquoise also work a treat.

You'll need to have carefully placed artificial light before adding a mirror (or three!) to help create the impression of a larger, brighter space. Vanity mirrors are practical, while a square mirror hung on a free wall can look striking as well.

An extra-large living room

Open-plan living is all the rage, but it doesn't work for everyone.

Perhaps you enjoy being able to entertain friends or keep an eye on the kids – open-plan living can certainly facilitate this. For instance, if you're preparing food in the kitchen, you can easily see what's going on where the sofas are placed or how guests are getting along at the dining table.

But perhaps you feel like your open-plan living space is just a little too large. It might feel like it's not quite as homely as it could be, or feels a little stark.

There are ways to make this space inviting, without compromising on the unique benefits open-planning living offers. 

Start by creating areas that are centred around certain activities, such as reading, watching television, dining and preparing food. You may find that the layout of your kitchen – particularly if you have an island-style bench – keeps this area separate, but the rest of your living area blends into one oversize area.

You can use a sectional, chaise longue or bench seat to divide the space. This is a more practical solution than adding a wall – the items used to divide your living space also have another function (specifically, for relaxing!).

Don't hesitate to plonk a sofa in the middle of your living area to create a divide. While it's traditional to place key pieces of furniture such as this against a wall, floating it in the middle of the room can also be very effective.

Open bookshelves are another novel solution – you won't block gorgeous sunlight as it streams through the space, but you will help create different zones. Try a bookshelf painted with Resene Half Masala, plus cream and deep red accents throughout the room for a contemporary vibe.

You can even create different zones by mixing up the lighting – choose different styles of hanging pendant lights and hang one above the dining table and the other above a coffee table or in the entertainment area.

If these decorating ideas aren't quite enough, you could go all out by installing sliding doors! Just make sure that you can slide them away and use the whole room for large family gatherings if you need to.

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