NTS Round-Ups

Creating a Space in Flux with the Magic of Curtains

Small-footprint homes rarely have space to create dedicated room for every activity. In fact, multi-purpose rooms pretty much come with the territory and are even, for many, part of the appeal. Any NTS aficionado will have probably noticed that many of our renovation episodes begin with wall removals toward creating more open-concept, multifunctional rooms. Yet, there’s no doubt that clustering all your activities into a single space can sometimes lead to a lack of privacy or the need to work in the same place where you relax. In these instances, curtains emerge as unsung heroes.

Living Room by Day, Bedroom by Night

One of the primary roles curtains play in small-space design is their knack for camouflaging and concealing. In this vibrant Seville apartment, The team at Studio Noju used a track curtain to wrap around the living area, allowing the room to serve different purposes throughout the day and to be transformed into a convenient, fully enclosed guest bedroom when needed.

“My favourite part of the apartment is the theatricality of the blue curtain, it just makes it much more fun”, architect Eduardo Tazon told Never Too Small. “You’re constantly changing the appearance of the apartment with a very easy gesture”.

Zoning Out

Curtains also act as boundary-defining tools, enabling the creation of distinct zones within a small footprint space. In this compact family home in Osaka, architect Kazuteru Matsumura used simple white curtains to create a dynamic space that can be incrementally opened up or zoned off.

“They wanted a house where they could gather together in an open space instead of being in separate rooms”, Matsumura told NTS. Curtains abound — using a velcro closure where appropriate — to open up and close off bedrooms, closets, and appliances for a fresh and clean feel.

In this mid-century Melbourne apartment, the curtain serves a couple of different purposes. It naturally sits next to the couch, creating a division between the living room and entry area, but it can also be opened to shield the kitchen appliances from the living and sitting rooms.

Privacy at the Draw of a Curtain

Privacy is a precious commodity in small living spaces, where the boundaries between personal and shared areas can get blurred. At the same time, keeping a degree of openness can be essential to ensuring the space doesn’t feel too cramped and to let natural light reach all rooms. For this vibrant Paris apartment, architect Anthony Authié had the unique solution of using glass walls to create a “window” into the loft bedroom that easily closes it off with a track curtain.

This inner-city apartment in London began as a completely open-concept space. In addition to a built-in storage unit, architect Melanie Schubert added a large semi-sheer curtain that divides the bedroom from the living room. This creates a sense of division between the two spaces and adds some extra privacy in the case of guests while still allowing some natural light to flow through.

Magic Curtains

Less permanent than a wall and more versatile than a door, curtains offer a plethora of solutions that extend beyond mere window coverings. These versatile fabric panels possess the remarkable ability to transform and optimise cramped quarters, turning limitations into an opportunity for creativity and functionality. Whether they are acting as guardians of seclusion, concealment doctors, or zoning engineers, curtains can help to instantly tidy up the space and create a more streamlined and cohesive look.

Looking for even more curtain inspiration?
Check out this
micro apartment in Melbourne by Michael Roper.