The Decade of Change 2003-2013

Time waits for no man (or woman) and in the ten years from 2003-13 there has been some quiet (and not so quiet) revolutions in how we design and fit our homes. In this period we have seen a recession and people tightening their belts for a dose of austerity, but the good thing is that interior design continues to evolve. For example, as more people worked from home, rather than devote a whole bedroom over to an office, the idea of a pocket office came about- a small space within a room, or perhaps even a former built-in wardrobe that could be used for a mini office with lap-top printer and Wi-Fi.

Over this period there was less formality and more ad hoc arrangements when it came to eating, cooking, watching the television. The move was away from having separate rooms for each “function” and having more open spaces, divided into areas that could be adapted as necessary. So for example the formal dining room, which probably gets a work-out four or five times a year, is just dead space for the remaining time. Why not knock it through into the lounge and have a fold down table in the corner with a lampshade on it that can be opened up with chairs from the loft if and when you’re having people over for dinner? Or better still join the kitchen and the dining room to make a larger kitchen with a breakfast bar?

Another trend that’s been seen in the last ten years is to create additional natural light. This could be a window created to give a room a double window aspect, or perhaps a skylight addition. Natural light is good! It’s not cheap, but to get additional sunlight into a room or area is priceless.

As fuel bills seem to be increasing another change that has come about is to drop ceilings and have recessed lighting. I live in a Victorian House and in winter it seems I am just heating the top three feet of the room- while I’m shivering on the sofa! So a suspended ceiling can be economical and also make a room seem cosier.

If you are lucky to have a laundry room at the back of the house, have you thought about adapting it and using it for your arts and crafts? They tend to be light and you have access to a sink for clearing up. I also find the sound of a washing machine’s cycle quite therapeutic when I’m painting, composing or just reading.

Finally, as we all seem to be busier, many changes are now made to rooms to make them easier to clean. Tiles instead of carpets with all their red wine spillages grief, and decking instead of grass in the garden. Easy-wipe clean work surfaces and cupboard doors can be a god-send, especially if you have children.

Finally many people during this period have tended to utilise their garage space for non-car storage purposes. So it might be a workshop, a mini-gym, a freezer centre or even a music studio. But blow the car- it can stand out there on the drive or in the road!