Lanzarote’s wide-open, outdoor lifestyle cries out for space – space to stretch, space to let your mind float free, space to let your imagination run riot. But the fact is that, for many of us, space is limited, and we need to make the most of every cubic centimetre. Here’s how:
You’ve probably already seen dozens of TV shows and articles on decluttering, so we won’t go into all that sparking joy stuff again. We prefer William Morris’s Golden Rule: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
Let that be your rule of thumb as you sort out your belongings and plan your storage options. Don’t take it too seriously, but be aware that you wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t feel a need to do it, so give it the time and planning it needs.
Cleaning, of course, isn’t the same as decluttering, but it can be every bit as effective. It’s the visible manifestation of the word “house-proud”, meaning that you get satisfaction and fulfillment from a home that is clean and tidy.
On Lanzarote, autumn cleaning is every bit as important as spring cleaning, because summer living can be dusty, sweaty and messy. Now’s the time to sort out your summer junk and make space for Christmas and the New Year.
But a scrub, a sweep, a wipe or even a lick of new paint are things that can really make your home seem open, clear and spacious.
Lighter colours give an illusion of greater space, but you probably knew that already and, on Lanzarote, there’s no shortage of white walls. More cleverly, you could use contrasting shades to bring out space where you want it- a white roof with pale blue walls will create the feeling of height, for example.
Ask any photographer or painter and they’ll agree that natural light is best. On Lanzarote, you get 12 hours of this good stuff every day – the only problem is that a lot of it is on the strong side, with sunshine and glare posing a real problem. Use blinds and curtains or think about shading your windows with awnings so that you can use natural light to its best advantage.
Mirrors multiply everything in front of them, so its no surprise that they’ll give an illusion of greater space. That’s because, apart from the immediate reflection, they also bounce light around a room, illuminating nooks and corners and opening it up. Invest in good mirrors, and experiment with angles to get the best effect.
OPEN FLOOR LAYOUTS
We’re gradually getting more and more open plan in our daily lives, as kitchens blend into dining rooms and even living rooms. That’s because, with modern laptops, headphones and tablets, we tend to take our rooms with us wherever we go these days and it’s not strange to find a family watching TV, studying, chatting with friends, cooking a meal and listening to music all within a couple of metres of each other.
Once you get rid of unwanted walls and compartments, you’ll immediately feel the difference. It’s a big job, and one that needs expert skills, but it can be so worth it.
Opaque materials that block light simply feel as though they occupy more space than those that let light pass through. It’s not necessarily true – glass bricks can be just as solid as stone ones – but you’ll feel like you have more room.
Work with transparent materials such as glass, plastic or perspex, or investigate diaphanous screens, blinds and curtains. Learn to appreciate how, with just a twist, a venetian blind can cut light out completely or let it all through. Get things clear in your head and your home.
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