Life can be busy, with various commitments like work, family and social life leaving little time for housework. As such, a low-maintenance living space is the ideal solution for creating a pleasant and practical home environment. Here are five tips on how to achieve it:
1. Opt for open-plan living
Open-plan living is a great way for all members of the household to engage in different activities concurrently while still being able to interact. It’s nice for someone to be busy in the kitchen whilst keeping an eye on the children or chatting with others in adjacent living spaces. It’s also much easier to maintain an open-plan living space than several different rooms. There could be constraints to creating an open-plan area, such as walls, but as long as these aren’t load-bearing, it is relatively simple to move or remove partition walls. When it’s not possible to remove a wall, consider whether removing doors will help the flow between the living rooms. The trick is to create a living space that is as open as possible while maintaining distinction in each area through décor and furnishing.
2. Practical flooring
The floor is the largest single area of the home that needs cleaning on a regular basis. Therefore, it is important to make it as low-maintenance as possible by installing flooring that not only meets your budget but is practical and hardwearing. There are many options including carpet, tiles, hardwood, laminate and vinyl. Hard flooring requires the least maintenance, and of these, laminate and vinyl are the most cost-effective. When changing an existing floor covering, remember to inspect the floor beneath as, particularly in older properties, you may find there are attractive floorboards that can simply be sanded and varnished.
3. Choose the right furniture
Furniture in the living space of the home needs to be practical, comfortable and attractive, so it can be difficult to find suitable pieces that are also low-maintenance. A sofa is often the main item of furniture in the living room, but certain designs can be hard to keep clean. In households with pets or young children, a leather settee can be a great solution as it has a wipe-clean surface that doesn’t stain or hold odours. Avoid bulky furniture like bookshelves as they have lots of surfaces that collect dust. Instead, add storage space via wall-mounted shelving and built-in cupboards. Invest in an extendable dining table so that it doesn’t take up too much room on a daily basis but can accommodate more people when entertaining. Pick furniture with smooth surfaces for easy cleaning and protect wooden tables with a good quality table protector.
4. Easy-care soft furnishings
Soft furnishings like curtains, rugs and cushions are a fantastic way to put your own stamp on a house, and they are also an easy way to update the décor. However, as with furniture, it is important to choose fabrics and finishes that are easy to look after to achieve a low-maintenance living space. Opt for machine washable curtains and avoid shag-pile rugs as they cling onto dirt particles. Look for cushions with anti-dust mite covers that are machine washable as they can be easily cleaned as necessary whilst retaining shape and plumpness.
5. Recessed lighting
Suspended light fittings can be practical, but they can also attract dust and require frequent cleaning. Where possible, install recessed spotlights. These are available in a variety of attractive finishes and can include features such as being dimmable or angled. Halogen and LED are the main choices for bulb types, but for low-maintenance use LED bulbs as these produce a natural-looking light and are much more energy efficient, meaning you won’t have to change them very often.