Most of our homes consist of the usual: kitchen, dining area, bedrooms and bathroom which leave little room for the designer extras like sculleries, reading nooks and bars. Or so you might think until you consider the question, is your home optimising its third spaces?
In order to prevent the challenging spaces in your home from becoming cluttered or perhaps just as bad – unused, van der Berg says that it doesn’t matter what the size or shape of your space is, all you need is a little creativity. “We often use empty spaces as studies, bars, daybeds or reading areas but the possibilities stretch as far as your creativity allows,” he adds.
This is not an endeavour that should be taken on head first though, analyse your space and the opportunities your home offers and then let your imagination run wild with ideas and creativity.
“Look for dead corners or areas that take up a lot of floor space but serve only one function,” suggest van der Berg. “Often circulation areas such as entrance lobbies, passages and staircase landings which are usually only used to get you from space a to b could easily be used for another purpose as well.”
When identifying these spaces and allowing the ideas to flow, always keep current trends front of mind.
As an example van der Berg shares the case of people hanging their bicycle in an entrance lobby, almost as a piece of interest instead of trying to hide it away in a room. People are moving away from hiding practical objects, increasing the use of dormant opportunities as third spaces.
When you have budget constraints the easiest way to create a perfect space is by optimising the overlapping or layering functions of spaces. Keep the design simple, the simpler the design, the more function you can apply to the space. Designing with simplicity as the key component will cost less and probably look better. “Simple design should, however, not be confused with ill-considered design. The simpler the design, the more thought you should put into it,” warns van der Berg.
According to van der Berg a good example of overlapping or layering functions of a space is found in one of the most unconventional spaces he’s seen. In this case a third space was beautifully created by extending the staircase treads to turn the dead space under the stairs into a bar area, allowing for the dining area to be connected to the bar area.
Van der Berg says that the best way to judge if you’ve successfully created a unique, beautiful third space is to determine if the space serves its original function and other purposes while simultaneously adding to the character and design aesthetic of your home. If you can tick those boxes, you have a winner.