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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad, when he is not relaxing in one of our best recliners, or by one of our baby bloggers and occasionally we accept guest posts. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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Décor and design for shared living spaces

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That''s it, Christmas is officially, the sales have started and the adverts tell us that you can buy a sofa for half the price it was last week! So now is the time that we all start thinking about the New Year, our lifestyle and our living spaces.

When it comes to home designs in Melbourne, the sky is basically the limit, subject to those council regulations. So when it comes to building, it can be tricky to know what will best suit your lifestyle and future needs. Dual occupancy? Single storey living? Multi-level townhouse? Open plan living? Much of this will also be determined by land size and site suitability, but today’s focus is on families or joint households, however, much of this is suitable for any people who have housemates or are co-living in various capacities as we’re focusing on the configuration of communal space.

One of the latest approaches is to create zones within your new home. This can extend to much of the house from kitchen, living areas, laundries, study spaces and outdoor areas. Although open plan designs are still common configurations, people are modifying this huge open box due to factors such as noise bleed and the need to incorporate varying activities in one single space.

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Sectioning is a good place to begin when you want to maintain some privacy within one larger space. You might opt to include partitions, screens or half walls to achieve the design that best appeals to you. Most commonly seen in a combined kitchen/living area, sectioning can define more discrete areas within the one space for cooking and reading on the couch for example, but still be within earshot. Small studios also incorporate this feature to section off the bed from the main living space without turning the sleeping quarters into a tiny, claustrophobic room. Other uses can include within an entryway to change the flow of a vast space, or even within a larger bedroom to designate a dressing or leisure area that is distinct from the sleeping space. Sectioning can range from the temporary (bamboo screens) to more permanent as in the case of a half wall. More permanent sectioning can also provide some storage options as well.

Designer home builders in Melbourne are also providing solutions for the more compact of houses by creating spaces that are multifunctional in purpose. Many families may not have the use for a stand alone study in the age of all things digital, but need a space to house a PC or laptop that is accessible for everyone in the home. Study nooks can be incorporated to alcoves or areas just off main living spaces in order to allow for online supervision of children that is not too invasive, for example. When not in use, a study chair is often removed and allows such spaces to be decorative – think recessed shelving for photos and other knick knacks. Others opt to make this space more functional as an area for housing keys, remotes and other high use items that are easily accessible. Convertible furniture is also regaining its popularity, from pull down beds to revolving shelving that hides away anything from cleaning supplies to books. Modular sofas, of course, are also popular for their flexibility of configuration as well and if you are lucky, you can find the perfect piece of furniture in the New Year sales!

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