Tips and Guides

Designer Q and A for October 29 (Part 2)

Find out how to create a home office in a limited space, give your bedroom a makeover, and more tips and tricks for your ideal space


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Read the original article ("Ask It”) in the August 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

Hey Jalousie

Q: I hate jalousies because they give my parents this notion that people can't see you from the outside even if the windows are wide open and the curtains fully drawn. Yes, jalousies are cheap and let in plenty of sunlight but they don't really provide much privacy. And in the issue of safety, the glass slats are easy to break! Oh, and I don't like my mom's sheer, floral curtains that much. What alternatives to jalousies do I have? - Luwi Infante

A: You're right; jalousies don't really provide as much privacy as your parents would like to think. But what's more disturbing is that they don't really provide much security either. In fact, some building codes don't allow jalousie windows anymore. The best alternatives are casement windows because they open fully to give maximum light and ventilation and they can be cleaned even from the inside. As for privacy, a nice screen can provide this during mornings. In the evenings, layering a light sheer curtain underneath a heavier fabric drape will give you the option to choose the amount of privacy and ventilation you want. And by the way, sheer curtains are available in various designs. Head down to the mall-I'm sure you and your mom can find a style that suits both your tastes.


Minimalist Magic

Q: I am in the process of renovating my bedroom. I want my room to be organized yet still cozy and stress-free. My room is not so big. I have a bed, a cabinet for my clothes, a computer and a little shelving unit to accommodate my telephone and other things. Do you have any suggestions on how I can arrange my room so it would look minimalist? Could you also suggest a color palette and style of accessories that would also make it comfortable? - Hazel

A: The beauty of a small space is that it's easy to clean and you'll be forced to reduce clutter. You need to do away with rarely used items, worn-out clothes, unwanted and unnecessary trinkets, and old papers. (You can even make money by selling your old, unused stuff. Have a garage sale!) The key to a minimalist look: minimal clutter. After you've made these changes, make sure the layout of your room maximizes the area. Don't arrange your bed in an angle - this will only take up space. If possible, create an open area in the middle of the room so that it will appear bigger than it actually is. A full-length mirror will also be a great addition to widen up the space. Avoid using big patterns in big doses in the room. A good storage system is also a must - it's best to keep things hidden than displayed in a minimalist room. A primrose yellow color is a soft pastel shade that is relaxing enough to lull you to sleep and bright enough to perk you up in the morning. Combined with soft blues and contrasted with violet, this color will make your room seem bigger. Decorate with big, neutral colored candles and white flowers to create a peaceful yet cozy bedroom.   

Home Office in a 16sqm Area

Q: We have a family den that is now functioning as our computer area. It has a floor area of approximately 16sqm. The problem is that on every side, there is either a door or a staircase. We find it hard to arrange furniture pieces and placing cabinets along the sides creates an obstruction. Do you have any suggestion on how to layout this space? - Tommy Bautista,  Marikina City

A: You then have to maximize the center space. The best way to do this is to use furniture pieces that are light but multi-functional. A couple of freestanding cabinets placed at the sides of your computer desk will give you much needed storage space. If you need more storage, desk space and a spot to put your printer, scanner, etc., position a long desk, with cabinets underneath, parallel and at the back of your computer desk. This way, you have two work surfaces in one area and everything is within reach. A swivel chair with castors will work best with this layout. If there's still space, at one of the corners of the room, place a comfortable armchair for a guest or for those times when you just need to relax. 



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