This article originally appeared in our 32-page PROPERTY magazine which is free in this week's Southern Star. Get your copy in shops across West Cork or online via the Southern Star digital edition ➡️ http://bit.ly/2Z9T9Z1
Some of these suggestions may be a little aspirational depending on budget and available space, but we can always dream, and there is no shortage of options and advice out there if you really want to make your home a proper sanctuary from the outside world, writes Paul Burns.
Most of us aren’t blessed with the space or funds for a full-on Hollywood home cinema style but with a little imagination, your living room could rival the best of them.
The Smart TV is, dare we say it, the smart choice. With streaming services now being the main source of TV entertainment, going smart gives you an array of options. From Disney to Netflix to Apple TV, there is a streaming service to suit everyone from young kids to the 30 year-olds still living with the parents.
If you’re missing the unique cinema experience, why not invest in a projector? We’re not talking about the chunky ‘80s style ones that could go up in flames at any minute. These days a 4k projector can be easily paired with any of your devices. Don’t have a projector screen? Then beam it off a large white wall, allowing you to experience your favourite movies, cinema style. All you need now is the popcorn.
Working from home has become a reality for many in the past year. While it may have always been the dream we were not prepared for the overnight reality. As a result many kitchen tables or corners of the bedroom have become an office space. With working from home becoming more permanent a designated office space is a must.
If there is a spare bedroom in the house, this is ideal for a home office. Being on a separate floor from the kitchen and living area allows for a good divide between working and living space.
If you have money saved for a rainy day and space in the garden a Garden Room is ideal. It gives that important feeling of separating work from home, creating the illusion of working in an office without the commute.
Despite our unpredictable weather we have come to embrace the idea of bringing our indoor space outside. Patio areas and decking have become an extension of the home, making alfresco dining all the more appealing.
This is your chance to be more creative and to add some personality to the space. Patterned floor tiles are not just for indoors. The porcelain treats are just as durable for outdoor use allowing you to add a decorative touch.
A wooden pagoda is a beautiful way to define the area while creating shelter. Adorn the pagoda with fresh flowers and fairy lights to create an ambiance for evening dining.
Outdoor heating is also a must for those chilly summer nights. These no longer have to be ugly with stone fire pits and outdoor stoves making the outdoors the new staying in.
While making the most of getting outside for a walk in your 5km accounts for some form of exercise, many are missing a good sweat session at the gym.
Gyms typically have a deconstructed, industrial vibe making a garage or large shed the perfect space. If cardio is your thing but you don’t want a bulky treadmill, look to a smart walking machine as an alterative. These are slim and easy to put away.
If you’re missing the high intensity of a spin class but can’t stretch the wallet to a Peloton, a turbo trainer bike stand allows you to build up the resistance and the burn you have been missing.
Now the cardio is sorted you can start building a weights collection. Create a designated mat space. Just like a workout start slow with smaller kgs. As you build up your strength you can add more to the selection. Soon working out at home will beat going to any gym.
Kids need somewhere they can play and not worry about making a mess. Ideally a playroom should be off an area where you spend most of your time so they can be in earshot.
Playrooms are the one space you can have a lot of fun designing. Think about your children’s ages and how the space can evolve, as they grow older.
For younger kids, bright, colourful rooms help to spark their imaginations.
When factoring in storage think of fun ways you can add a secret cubbyhole or a designated dressing up area. Go with durable materials such as lino instead of tiles – it’s come a long way since the ‘80s. Choose smaller robust furniture that can be easily washed. Add an adult-free zone sign and you’re good to go.
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