Not many people like the idea of a small living space when talking about disasters. It just doesn’t sound ideal. Where will you keep a safety deposit box or a fire extinguisher? When there’s an earthquake, won’t you get buried in a pile of mess if everything you own is stacked vertically? What about when there’s a fire? Won’t the flames spread fast because of the clutter? While all these fears are rational, they’re also overrated. The truth is, a small living space is just as good as a wide space in every aspect. You just have to look at it in a certain way. If you’re not convinced, take a look at these 10 disaster-proof house or condo interior design ideas that will change your opinion about small spaces.
Let’s admit it, you can’t waste floor space in a small house or condominium. That’s why pieces of furniture that perform only their basic functions are not welcome in your abode. You need things that serve a dual purpose. Fire-retardant sofas would have been nice if they weren’t banned due to safety risks. You want something that doesn’t compromise your health for a few features. Why not try a sandbag sofa for your living room? It doesn’t combat fire, but it does solve another problem: flooding. This sofa is just what it sounds like—a stack of sandbags that form a couch. A Danish group called KiBiSi came up with this idea. What’s great about the sandbag sofa is that even though it’s highly tough and durable, it’s still cozy and cushiony. You can just lie on it in a stormy day, free from worries of flood water soaking up your stuff.
If you’re not already using LED lamps, here’s a good reason why you should. Of the different types of lights, LED lamps are the least likely to start a fire. They consume little power and they dissipate heat, so they are relatively cooler compared to incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lights. If you leave the front door lights and a few other lamps open at night, this should be a concern to you. Unless your bulbs are made of LED, they are prone to overheating, which makes them a fire hazard. So if you want to maximize fire prevention, include a provision for LED lighting when you brainstorm for house or condo design ideas.
If you’re reading this post, you either live in a small house, a cramped apartment or an undersized condo unit. There shouldn’t be a problem if you’re a house or apartment owner. You are (hopefully) more responsible because you know that you can’t count on anyone else to ensure your safety. But if you’re a condo owner, that’s an entirely different thing.
Condominiums usually have their own security features. Perimeter fences surround the area and guards roam around to make sure that there’s no intruder anywhere. The condo management is basically looking after you. As such, you may be more laidback when it comes to your safety. Well, here’s a reminder for you: accidents are always waiting to happen. That may sound a little pessimistic, but it’s true. For instance, you may fall and break your neck when your floor is too slippery. In fact, that’s a more probable disaster than a burglar breaking into your unit or an earthquake hitting the city. The point is simple: be prepared. Don’t use smooth-surfaced floor materials like marble, ceramic tile, and hardwood. It’s better to use textured linoleum in the bathroom and carpets in the other rooms. Be smart about your condo designs.
Where does a fire extinguisher belong? In the kitchen? The living room? The bedroom? Where can you store it so that it doesn’t look out of place? This may sound ridiculous, but some people don’t want to display their fire extinguisher because it clashes with their interior design. This shouldn’t be a problem anymore because some stores now sell fancy fire extinguishers that come in different styles and designs. You can now place your fire extinguisher wherever you want.
Let’s say your home security fails and a burglar manages to break into your house. If every valuable thing you own is exposed, you’ll be doing the burglar a big favor. If you store your valuables in secure places, the burglar will probably have a hard time looking for them. Of course, a wall safe hidden behind a painting is predictable. Burglars will most likely look behind every painting to search for any hidden treasure. But since the average burglar will spend only about 8 to 12 minutes inside your house, he will not tear every painting apart to look at its contents. This is why hiding a jewelry storage inside a painting isn’t such a bad idea. You’ll be adding a twist to something that is already common.
Another way to protect your home from fire is to use fire-retardant curtains in places like the kitchen. Fire-retardant curtains contain chemicals and materials that stop fire from spreading, so you don’t have to worry about the condo being consumed by flames. You can match the curtains to your condominium design so they won’t be too noticeable. With fire-retardant curtains, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone.
It’s okay if you still think about style when looking for ways to prevent catastrophes. Just make sure that classiness won’t get in the way when worse comes to worst. For example, you may be tempted to buy a fancy dining set. In a small space, that is problematic because it can be an obstruction in case of emergency. What you can do instead is to install a fold-down table to your wall. It’s easy to tuck away, and it’s a small space interior design that will make your home safe.
There will never be enough measures to prevent fire. It just simply can happen to anyone. To increase your protection, install double-paned windows with fully tempered outer pane in your home. Double-paned windows are less likely to shatter when exposed to scorching heat. The outer layer may burst, but the inner layer will remain intact. It will give you double protection in the event of a fire.
Again, this is another classic trick to fend off burglars. In a small space, this will only work in two conditions: first, if you have a considerable number of books that a burglar won’t bother to go over them one by one and second, if you keep the hollow book in a secure place like the kids’ room. A shelf full of books is a good condo design and also a good way to hide valuables. Just make sure that you’re using it cleverly.
The last item in this list is, without surprise, about fire prevention. We just can’t emphasize enough how important it is to prepare for fire incidents. When your house gets flooded, you can just dry your things under the sun and you’ll be fine. When you’re hit by an earthquake, you will probably turn out okay unless it’s a killer quake. But when a fire consumes your home, you can’t recover what has been turned into ashes. So here’s a final design tip for you: invest in heat-resistant countertops. It may sound like a small thing, but it will do well in keeping the dangers of fire at bay. Usually, heat-resistant countertops are made of stone, laminated sheets or concrete. Invest on these materials.
Throw away your biases against small living spaces. Your safety from danger isn’t measured by the size of your home but by the precautionary measures you take. Design is a crucial part of disaster prevention. Take advantage of it to turn your home into the safest place it can be.
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