Most student HMOs are larger properties – they must be to house 4, 5, or even 6 students. Sometimes though, a property is small – size alone can turn off a group of students. There likely isn’t much you can do about that besides build an extension, but these are costly. There are cheaper ways to make use of that space.
Knock Down Interior Walls
One of the most common ways of making more space inside a student HMO is to physically do so. Knocking down a (non-load bearing) interior wall opens a space and allows more light to access darker rooms. The more a property opens, the more space it appears to have – even though the amount of actual space will have increased only minimally.
These are rare and usually in properties with high ceilings (usually much older properties, sometimes seen in more traditional university cities). A mezzanine creates space upwards; the general rule is that the ceiling must be a minimum 14ft above the floor. A spiral staircase will save more space than a standard staircase too. However, a linear staircase provides opportunity for storage beneath.
Paint the Walls in Lighter Colours
Lighter colours reflect while darker colours refract. Therefore, walls painted in magnolia will seem lighter and airier; darker rooms seem smaller and more claustrophobic. The problem is that lighter coloured walls will get dirtier and need repainting more often. However, your aim is to get students through the door and sign up – the illusion of space is part of the enticing atmosphere.
This kind of goes back to the point about knocking down interior walls. There are other ways you can maximise lighting even when the student HMO’s orientation doesn’t permit it. Firstly, reconsider where you place interior lighting. If a spot gets little natural light, it’s worth moving the lights a few feet. Also consider secondary lights, especially small LEDs in those darker spots.
Choose Furniture Carefully
The best way to maximise space is not to overstuff rooms with too much furniture, or pieces that are simply too large. Nothing makes a room seem smaller than it is and when you’re limited for space, it’s going to look cramped. One trick to make space seem less limited is to go for low rise furniture in properties where the ceiling is lower. This creates a more spacious ambience.
Also, use mirrors to good effect. These can make a room seem much larger than they are. Place them in strategic places and they can also reflect light, making a room seem not just larger, but lighter too. Us a mix of full-length and smaller mirrors.