Zone Your Space Like A Pro with These 8 Simple Tricks

If there is one thing we have learned during the pandemic – besides the importance of washing our hands – is how multi-functional our home space needs to be. We have been increasingly using our living rooms as a gym, a home office, a school, etc., resulting in many of us pushing our furniture around to accommodate all the new requirements.

Whether you have a large room that needs to be set up into practical zones, live in a studio, or have a small room that has to accommodate the many functionalities your lifestyle requires; everything starts with learning how to visually and practically zone your space.

A question we hear frequently is 'How do I zone my space without creating clutter?' For example, a family needs to create a play area for their children in the living room; or a studio flat needs to accommodate such functional areas as a lounge space, a bedroom, a kitchen, and a home office.

In this article, we reveal some neat and easy hacks that will allow you to zone your space like a pro – no matter how large or small it is...

Tip #1 Decide on the best location for each zone first

Start by making a list of all the functions you need to perform in the space. Then identify which spot in your space will work best for each function. For example, if you need to set up a home office, a spot by the window will allow you to take advantage of natural light. Your kids’ play area should probably be away from high-traffic spots, so keep it away from doorways.

If the space you are zoning is completely empty, you can even use painter’s tape to visually map out the floor plan. Otherwise, use a piece of paper and a pencil.

Tip #2 Provide each zone with its own source of light

One of the things that often make it obvious whether a home was designed by an interior design professional – or an amateur – is lighting. Or rather the intentionality of lighting. For most home DIY enthusiasts, lighting is an afterthought. That’s a mistake. Lighting is a powerful tool. It can help set the right mood in a space, strategically put a spotlight on specific areas, guide the flow of a space, reduce electricity costs, etc.

When creating zones in a space, think of your lighting needs beyond ambient lighting. Your workspace should have task lighting. Your lounge area will feel more relaxing with a floor lamp or dimmable sconces. Learn all the tricks of lighting design here.

Tip #3 Use area rugs

Area rugs are incredibly versatile and, when it comes to open floor or multi-functional spaces, they are a godsend. Use area rugs to visually separate different functional areas. Be strategic when selecting the design, size, and fabric of each rug. For example, a nice large soft rug will work great for the lounge area, but not so much for the home office area, which will better be served with a short-pile rug.

When it comes to picking out the size of a rug, make sure it covers most of the area. For example, the lounge area should have an area rug big enough to place either the entire sofa on with still plenty of rug space remaining or, at the bare minimum, to place the front legs of the sofa. Learning how to select area rugs in the right size will help you elevate your space from one that’s tastefully decorated to magazine-ready.

Tip #4 Get creative with wall art and wall colours

If your zones are rather permanent, an easy way to visually zone your space is by painting one wall or nook in a different colour. All it takes is a bucket of paint and one weekend to drastically transform the look and feel of your open floor space. For example, if your desk is in the corner of the living room, you can paint about 1-2 meters of each of the two walls behind your desk in a contrast colour. You can, of course, also use wallpaper to create the same effect. Plus, textured wallpaper will add another dimension to the aesthetic of the room.

Then, there’s wall art. There is no single right way to arrange wall art, so you can be creative. However, think of creating a balance. For example, you do not want one wall in your room to be completely blank, while another one is covered in a hundred picture frames. If you are not sure where to get started, then simply accentuate a larger area with a single large piece of art, and create picture galleries composed of smaller frames in smaller areas.

Tip #5 Partition your space with open shelves

It’s a common belief that partitioning small spaces with shelves or other pieces of furniture will make each area look tiny – not true... Open shelves will work for a space of any size, no matter how small. The trick is to pick out the right style and colour of the shelves, as well as its décor.

Your open shelving unit should fit seamlessly in your space (and no, that doesn’t mean it needs to be pushed up against a wall). Rather, think of the material and the colour of your shelving unit. The easiest way is to pick one that organically fits with the colour of your floor, the walls, or large pieces of furniture. If you are unsure, go for larger shelves. They will allow for a more spacious feel. Do not crowd each space with books and knick-knacks. One of our favourite decorative items for open shelving is plants. They add a cosy feel, help purify the air, and the plant pots are an extremely simple and versatile way to add a design touch.

Tip #6 Think through your storage needs for each area

We tend to underestimate both our storage needs and our capacity to accumulate stuff. Clutter doesn’t happen overnight. It slowly creeps in and eventually takes over, leaving us feeling anxious and generally uncomfortable in our own homes.

When zoning your space, think of not only how much storage to add, but where to add it to. For example, your children’s toys should have a spot for storage in their play area, not underneath your desk. That spot should, instead, have storage space for your work stuff – stationery supplies, documents, etc. Likewise, your lounge space should store those snuggly winter throw blankets, instead of your bedroom linens or items from the kitchen.

Tip #7 Add a platform if your space allows it

You can literally elevate certain areas of your room. For example, adding a small platform to your home office will allow you to create storage space underneath it. But – and this is a big ‘but’ – make sure the elevated space is not a safety hazard. You don’t want to be constantly tripping or stubbing your toe on the platform. That’s why it should be high enough to visually stand out.

Furthermore, if your home has higher-than-average ceilings, you can add a gallery. This will work better for a larger room, but, if you want to maximize the use of the vertical space in a small room, use lighter, more airy materials and design.

Tip #8 Partition your space with an L-shaped sofa

If you are planning to purchase a new sofa, consider an L-shaped one. It is perfect for creating a natural partition within a space, and no, it doesn’t have to be pushed into the corner of your room. You can place it in the middle of the room and create working space behind it, for example.

In fact, this tip applies to any sofa – don’t feel like you have to push it up against a wall. Even in smaller rooms, moving your furniture away from walls will make it feel more airy and spacious.

Do you have any tips on how to separate a space into functional areas? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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