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Aug. 14, 2019 | Mario Toneguzzi

Thinking big: Large living spaces pose unique design challenges

When it comes to homeowner preference these days, one thing is clear: bigger is definitely better.

The size of the average Canadian home today is about twice as large as it was back in the 1960s. Our living spaces have been expanding rapidly, and not because of necessity.

"I don't think it has anything to do with the size of families, because when you think about it, the size of the family has actually shrunk. It's gotten smaller from the '60s. So that's counter-intuitive," said Ana Cummings, owner and principal designer at ANA Interiors.

"I don't know if it has to do with the fact that people are more affluent and want to build bigger. People just associate that with success now – having a bigger house, moving up. Everything seems to have gotten bigger – portion sizes, houses, clothing sizes."

Here is a top-10 list Cummings has devised of popular big-home design trends:

  1. Over-the-top, large/oversized pieces of "statement art," which sometimes cover entire walls

  2. Larger-than-life coffee tables, double coffee tables and clusters of coffee tables at different heights

  3. Tables embedded into sectionals, as well as oversized sectionals with portions that include backless seats to break up the length

  4. Upholstered headboards that stretch all the way up to the ceiling

  5. Mirrors floor to ceiling, as well as mirrors grouped together to amplify the perceived size of a room

  6. Double chandeliers hung over the dining table

  7. Large indoor sculptures

  8. Indoor "play" rooms, including spas, pools, bowling alleys, gyms, basketball courts and ice rinks

  9. Double kitchen islands

  10. Two level garages with car lifts

"The thing is, when you have such a big house or a big space or a big room, you need to make it proportional to the rest of the things you're putting into it.

So, oftentimes, people who have big houses don't really know how to furnish them or don't even have enough money to furnish them properly," said Cummings.

"This is where you get into the double island in the kitchen, the double coffee tables, the double set sofas, because it really plays into that whole balance and scale and proportion. It makes the large room look put together."

Tagged: ANA Interiors | Calgary | Calgary Real Estate | Calgary Real Estate News | Calgary Real Estate News | Design | Design | Guest Column | House & Home | house and home | Opinion

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