George Clarke gives his renovation tips for small spaces

If you have a tiny but potentially amazing space you want to transform, how can you keep costs down - and still add as much value as possible? George Clarke gives his tips

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George Clarke

The best things come in small packages - or so the TV presenter George Clarke would have us believe.

The architect presents Amazing Spaces on Channel 4, which features an eye-popping array of small spaces that have been transformed into beautiful and bizarre homes.

The budgets vary wildly, but the challenge for each project is the same: how to ensure the small space is big enough to meet the owners' amazing - aka 'eccentric' - requirements.

Obviously, 'Eccentric Spaces' just didn't have the same ring to it.

Still, this challenge is what makes the series such fascinating viewing. It made us wonder: if you have a tiny but potentially amazing space you want to transform, how can you keep costs down - and still add as much value as possible?

Get creative

It's all about getting creative and being inspired at the design stage, according to George. "The design time is the most important thing," he told AOL. "When you've got a small space, you've got to really think about every single square inch of it. You need to plan it in 3D - you need to get in there with measuring tape, some masking tape and a lump of chalk and mark out how the space can be reconfigured."

You need to let your imagination run wild to make every inch of space count, he says. "If you get design right, then it makes the build easier, quicker and cheaper to do. If you're still designing it and changing it as you go along, it will cost you more money and take you much longer."

Don't be afraid that making a space multi-functional will add a lot of expense. "Making a space multi-functional definitely doesn't need to make it more expensive," says George. "It's just the creative thinking that takes the time. The technology behind it can be very simple. It doesn't have be clever machinery and hydraulics - it could just be dropping a shelf into a different position."

On the contrary, he says, it's the multi-functionality and the clever use of space that will add value. "If you can make one space do five different things, that's going to make it a more valuable space."

Recycling and upcycling materials can also dramatically cut your costs, as well as adding character, he says. "Go to salvage yards and vintage fairs - it will mean that as well as keeping costs low, all your things will have a story to them."

Finally, he recommends you try and do as much as you can yourself. "The great thing about a small space is that you can just give it a go. It's a different mindset when you're doing a small space retreat - it's not as scary as when it's a big property and you're worried you might cock it up and reduce the value. There's less pressure so you can just have fun."

George Clarke: renovation tips for small spaces

George Clarke: renovation tips for small spaces


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