How to make the most of the corners of your hοuse.

Every house has corners and while corners have more potential than you think, they are often underutilized. Most residents tend to either fill them with decorative items, random objects that have nowhere else to go or leave them empty and disregarded. Every corner is an opportunity to refresh the aesthetic vibe of your house by creating useful and cozy spaces for your favorite habits.  

This article features corner ideas intended to optimize your space and give extra depth to your house while focussing on what is important to you, in your daily life.

Read on to discover 7 corner ideas intended to optimize your living space...

1. The Coffee Break
coffee break corner

Coffee is a ritual for many, consciously or unconsciously. A corner can easily be converted into an ideal place to savour your morning coffee before starting the day. Furthermore, you can also decide to dedicate a corner to preparing your perfect cup.

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2. The Bar

At the end of the day, you might enjoy having your own evening activity or routine to come home to. A corner can be easily converted into a perfect place for house parties as well as quiet nights in. This can also be a perfect spot for a catch up conversation with your friend, a heart to heart with your partner, or even an alone moment of reflection, at the end of the day. 

bar house corner idea

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3. The Reading Corner
reading house corner idea

Whether you are a devoted bookworm or you simply enjoy flicking through magazines on Sunday morning, some corners are perfect to house a little library and a cozy seat to dive into your favorite readings. This is not only great to have a little moment to enjoy your reading, it is also a great solution to display your favorite books effectively and with style. Remember to make sure that you have appropriate lighting for reading without overworking your eyes.

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4. The Home Office

Creating a home office doesn’t need much. Sometimes, a small desk and a comfortable chair are all you need to create your own personal working space. A private corner can be the perfect spot to focus on your work or academic commitments, uninterrupted and without being completely isolated from the rest of the house.

home office house corner idea

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5. The Green Corner

If you are in an apartment and have no garden, don’t despair! Creating a mini garden in a well-lit corner of your living space is an easy effective and beautiful solution. Having plants inside your living space can only bring positive energy and of course a refreshing atmosphere. In addition, placing a collection of plants in one corner, can encourage you to create a routine to take care of your beloved plants which works magic on your health and mental wellbeing.

green corner house idea

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6. The Playroom

Creating a defined area for children to play, will not only help them, but also help you keep shared spaces such as you living room under control and easy to use for adults and young children alike. A corner can easily be converted into a special place for children to spend quality playtime. The play corner does not need to be a literal construction or physically closed off, just a defined area would help children feel safe in a space of their own.

playroom house corner idea

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7. The Memory Lane

If you have even less space, and your corner is only wall surfaces, without much floor space, there is one more solution! A 2D corner can easily be converted into a heartwarming place where all of your great memories are displayed and cherished. Friends and family portraits, photos of significant events, vacation memories or even spontaneously captured moments, can all be displayed here to turn your house into a real home.

picture corner house idea

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To sum up, no matter how big or small your house is, all houses have corners. By look around at the corners you have, you can decide, based on the space available, natural lighting coming through or not, size of the corner, and of course your own lifestyle needs – among others – what is the best idea to convert each of your corners into. You can always make the best out of corners and create more spaces with style to spend your and your family’s quality time.

 If you are considering buying or renovating your home, and you are wondering how to make the most out of the corners of your house, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have and even recommend further unique ideas specially tailored to your own lifestyle.

How to optimize the benefits of windows and the use of space around them.

It begins with light, as it often does. In real estate, natural light is considered to be one of the greatest price-determining factors. Nobody could ever imagine inhabiting a house without windows and today, small windows are considered non–existent. Maximising natural light and fresh air is an essential component in every house.  Large windows are not only an aesthetic solution but also a practical solution to numerous problems that affect not only the real estate value of space itself but the inhabitants’ physical and mental well-being as well as their economy and our ecology. In this article, after exploring the benefits of windows and the natural light and fresh air they provide, we will share a few tips to optimize the use of our spaces in relation to windows. 

Mental and Physical Health

The aesthetic benefits of a sunny house full of natural light are evident. Natural light communicates a vibe of never-ending summer (no matter the season), a refreshing energy and a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing. However, the effect of natural light as well as fresh clean air on the physical and mental health is often taken for granted. Exposure to natural light helps the body synthesize the very valuable vitamin D, which is essential for the proper functioning of many vital organs. It is no coincidence that whenever there is Vitamin D deficiency, people seem tired, listless and their psychology is affected significantly. Unfortunately, this could lead to neurological diseases, autoimmune diseases and also psychiatric diseases and clinical depression.

At the same time, natural light and fresh air create the ideal environment for plants that in turn help with creating a cleaner and livelier atmosphere. Fresh air helps avoid mold and humidity – both of which can cause allergies, can radically destroy a property and are difficult and costly to eliminate. Furthermore, fresh air guarantees better sleep and natural light stimulates an easier and more energetic wake up.  

Last but not least on fresh air, are the positive effects on our concentration abilities. Concentration is not only crucial for school kids and college students, but also for most adults as most now work from home frequently.

Economy and Ecology

Apart from mold and the high expense of its removal process, another important issue is the ever-worsening climate crisis and its aftermath on the economy which deeply affect households. Large windows in the main rooms provide lots of light but also a natural warmth during the day and inhabitants are able to reduce their electricity use, the extent of which depends on the region of the world of course.  



Optimizing the use of space around windows

Another major aspect that is often overlooked, is the way we interact with windows, the way we use the space around them and the furniture we choose to place in front and under them. Low arrangements, such as console tables and small buffets, can be placed in the spot under a window. A cozy sofa, along with books and newspapers in small storage furniture can also be placed against the window. Reading next to windows – especially if north oriented – can be very beneficial because of the light as well as the view to the outside. Another possibility is to have the desk next to the window. Alternatively, you can consider a custom built bench that would fit perfectly under your windows and allow you to sit on a few soft cushions, put your feet up and lean your side against the window. This would be a perfect spot for your morning coffee, you afternoon reading or daydreaming, any time of day. This configuration for the area under windows can be a simple wood construction made of a simple bench with open of closed shelves under it. It is a type of configuration that is aesthetically pleasing and at the same time utilizes the space very functionally. It can be used not only in the living room but also in bedrooms or even in the kitchen area if windows allow.


To sum up, the health, aesthetic and economic benefits of having large windows that provide fresh air and natural light are undisputed. When you are looking for a new house, make sure to take that into consideration. Every house has its unique potential and windows combined with clever design solutions can bring out the best in each one, adding a unique feel of light, air and space.

If you are considering buying a new house or optimizing the windows or the space around them in your current house, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.


Why working with contractors only (no architect) may not end up saving you money on your renovation project.

When exploring solutions to make your renovation project as cost-efficient as possible, you may find yourself inclined towards hiring a general contractor directly, and doing without an architect. Surely cutting the expense of an architect would significantly reduce the overall cost of the project, right? Although we cannot dismiss our evident bias towards the benefits of architects, in this article we aim to disclose a reality based on years of experience in the industry. This is not to discredit the contractors’ profession in any way, instead it is to illustrate the crucial aspects in which the work of architects and contractors are highly complementary. This article explores the potential risks of pursing a renovation project without the foundational support of this complementary relationship.

The following two testimonials come from clients who approached AKKA Architects after having initially opted to work with contractors only on their home renovation projects.

We bought a house around 3-years ago and there were many things that needed fixing. We went ahead fixing but only working with contractors since we had a limited budget. However, the thing got out of control and there are multiple problems surfacing in need of attention. We found your approach to architecture pretty interesting and would love to see if you can help us fix this mess. However, I think it’s important to highlight that we already spent a lot of money and energy on all these problems, so we are considering either fixing things properly (hence why we are contacting you) or selling the house.

After our chat last year and after months of delays, we have finally started with the renovation. I decided to do everything myself – with a contactor, and I regret that most days. It’s a lot of work and you were completely right that an architect would be a huge asset. But here we are…I am now contacting you as I really need your advice.


How are architects and general contractors complementary?

Firstly it is important to understand the role of contractors. They are responsible for the construction work on site, overseeing and coordinating the crew of builders who are physically executing the construction of the project. An architect on the other hand is responsible for creating the design plans which the contractor traditionally follows for the build. Creating the design plans includes planning, looking for the most suitable solutions and evaluating alternatives before taking a hammer to the walls. Architects are also usually the point of communication between the contractor and the client.

It is important to note that if you only need to have a simple procedure carried out in your home (such as moving a boiler, or opening up one partition) it may be perfectly ok to work with a contractor only. When it comes to standard home improvements, general contractors are a great option for fast and cost-efficient results.

3 reasons why working with contractors only (without an architect) may not actually end up saving you money on your renovation project.

1. Contractors tend to work without drawings

One major disadvantage of working with a contractor only is that some do not use plans or drawings, preferring to do the work directly on ground. An architect would usually be responsible for creating the detailed, thoroughly-checked drawings that a contractor would work from. There are three main issues with this scenario of working with no drawings. No drawings means that:

  1. contractors can only see the things obvious to the naked eye, it is probable they will miss hidden but critical elements.
  2. the best solution may not be reached. Drawings encourage creativity and innovation, revisions and refinements in an iterative process. Working without drawings may lead not to the best solution, but instead to the most obvious solution, or the first one that came to mind.
  3. The contractor’s intentions and thinking may not be easily communicated to the client. With a lack of visual aid, misunderstandings and potentially unexpected or undesirable results are likely.
2. Deviations in the renovation budget

Although they may start from a budget, or a cost estimate, contractors tend to operate by carrying out the work first and sending you an invoice afterwards. Therefore clients are likely to be faced with an element of financial surprise.

Generally, contractors work with a budget that includes their labour and the cost of materials. It is then their responsibility to acquire said materials and carry out the work. When the material and labour estimates fall short of reality, and contactors need to do more work than expected or materials are more expensive, they will likely ask the clients for additional budget. However, if materials can be acquired cheaper than anticipated, few contractors would revise their budget to reduce them and give the difference back to clients. While there are many honest contractors that may not subscribe to this practice, there may be a tendency towards pocketing the difference in opting for cheaper materials and cutting corners. Architects on the other hand have no incentive to cut corners, their interest is in seeing a beautifully finished long-lasting project. Therefore architects be incredibly useful for keeping an eye on the actual materials purchased and their quality in relation to the price that clients are willing to pay.

contractors cost
3. Client not consulted on technical matters

One the biggest issues when it comes to working with contractors alone is the lack of communication between the client and the contractors themselves. The client is usually not knowledgeable about building technicalities, therefore contractors tend to make technical decisions without consulting the client beforehand, or without even informing the client of the potential consequences of such decisions. Acting upon their own accord in this manner may result in significant mistakes or unwanted choices that the client will later have to pay additional costs to amend.

The scenarios described above are most relevant to renovations or new builds which are more holistic; involving elaborate designs, new materials and structural changes. If you are undertaking a more elaborate project, the potential mistakes described in this article may be highly undesirable. As a client, you want to be well-informed about cost and design decisions. Architects are an ideal partner to have in order to plan well, search for the best solutions before beginning, and coordinate between clients and contractors. Architects understand the ins-and-outs of your design vision, therefore they can actively participate in the decision-making processes to ensure the effects are achieved whilst adhering as closely to the budget as possible.

If you are still unsure about whether working with a contractor only is the right choice for your renovation project or not, we recommend reading our article Do I Really Need To Hire An Architect?

If you need advice on working with contractors or you are planning on designing or renovating your home and would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Top 5 trendy interior design styles for apartments.

Spring is just around the corner. In just over two weeks we will be entering a season characterised by new life and change. An impactful way to materialise this yearly shift into your own life is by simulating a new beginning in your own house, simply by switching up the interior design style of your home environment. The effect of interior design goes far beyond aesthetic value. The atmosphere created through the specific ways colour scheme, furniture design and lighting choices interact with one another has been proven to directly influence our mood and demeanour. Our previous article, 2022 Colour Trends, explores how specific colours and hues can directly evoke certain emotions. In this way, changing the current design style of your interior may not only be a fun spring activity, but also a great way to nurture the mindset you wish to embody when transitioning into this new chapter of 2022.

Although interior design is important in all home environments, it can have a significant impact and be particularly effective in apartment spaces with less square footage. Interior styles can be designed to transform a space, for example to make it appear larger or to establish different ‘sections’ within an open plan layout. Mixing styles in different areas can also create a very exciting dynamic and help avoid monotony as you move throughout the space.

Top 5 trendy interior design styles perfect for apartments.

The following 5 interior design styles are of course not an exhaustive list, but they do undoubtably make up some the trendiest design styles of the moment. At the end of this article you will find AKKA’s Interior Design Style Guide, which you can download , our spring gift to you! The guide features 9 iconic design styles, only some of which are mentioned here.

art deco interior design style

Image source: MODSY

The Art-deco style originated in France 100 years ago and became iconic when it arrived in America in the 1920s. It is characterised by the use of plush material like velvet as well as gorgeous marbles and brass finishes which create an undeniably luxurious atmosphere. This ornate style is based on symmetry and is composed using strong geometric patterns and shapes. This could be the perfect style for you if you are drawn to rich dark colours such as deep greens, blues, purples and blacks. If you enjoy these darker hues but have concerns about the space becoming too heavy, you may wish to opt for a more modern approach to the art deco style, where bright light palettes are accented with pops of bold colour instead.

industrial interior design style

Image source: Home Designing

If you live in a city like Amsterdam, where a lot of old industrial heritage buildings have been converted into residential apartments, you could embrace that with an industrial style. You could choose to highlight this aspect even more by choosing warm tones and wood, exposed brick and steel to convey an unfinished yet put together raw look to your space. You could even choose to not conceal cabling and wiring. Often this can be used as an eclectic theme for your home. Abstract art on the walls, further enhances this style. Dark furniture, black grills for your windows and Edison bulbs are other elements you could choose if this is the style that calls out to you.

rustic interior design style

Image source: Homedit

There are several variations of the rustic style, including Tuscan, costal, cottage and modern rustic1. Whichever you lean toward depends on the desired atmosphere you wish to achieve in your home, but what they all share in common is the feeling of natural beauty. This style is ideal for lovers of nature who wish to bring the outdoors in. A strongly characteristic material of the rustic style is raw wood which features well as ceiling beams and/or as trim around windows and fireplaces. If you wish to incorporate metal features into your rustic interior, opt for non-shiny, potentially repurposed materials. Incorporating lots of rugs and limiting the access of natural light will create a cosier ‘log-cabin’ atmosphere whereas exposed floors and large windows will provide an airy, outdoor feeling.

scandinavian interior design style

Image source: InteriorZine

The Scandinavian interior style includes a lot of natural light, minimalist yet modern furniture and basic colour palettes, including a lot of blacks and whites and accent colours. If this is your style, choose cozy muted colours such as off whites, sepias, deep maroons and browns, and materials such as wood and leather. Since this style focuses mainly on creating cozy and comfortable interiors with small pops of colours. Mix soft rugs, linen sheets, wool blankets, and accent cushions in your space. Multiples of graphic paintings on the walls, abstract bedside lights and candle stands, metal finishes and ceramic vases help throw the whole look together.

mid century modern interior design style

If you are inspired by the styles of the 1950-60s, Mid Century Modern could be the style for your home. Opt for easy-to-use contemporary de- signs that mainly focus on functionality. Abstract and organic shapes both works well with this style, so you could choose to go for clean lines and/or curved forms. You could pick asymmetrical geometric patterns for the decorative items in your space such as rugs, paintings, and wallpaper. Metals, plywood and medium toned colours such as browns are good choices for this style. Experiment with round globe lights, pendant lights, or even brass fixtures, to have a perfect mid-century modern space.

As mentioned earlier mixing interior design styles can prove incredibly useful for creating a desired effect without making any significant structural changes in the space, such as constructing or demolishing walls for example. However when curated without design sensitivity, the space does then run the risk of appearing fragmented or chaotic, or too rigid, or even impersonal like something out of a magazine but that lacks your personal touch. This is why we would always recommend to only use known interior design styles as a starting point to then find your own unique take or combinations.

Some of the styles featured in our 2022 interior design style guide, such as Traditional and Scandinavian for example, would prove challenging to make coherent in proximity to one another. If you are someone who is drawn to the unique possibilities of combining design styles to craft an exciting living experience, but you are unsure how to create the perfect balance in combining different styles, we highly recommend you get an architect or interior designer on board for your project. They will provide the expertise you need to design a space which is unique but still well-designed, functional and aesthetically coherent.

If you need advice on interior design styles or are planning on building or renovating your home and would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

AKKA Interior Design Guide

Explore all nine interior design styles for your home.

Renovation Permits: Which application is right for you?

Home renovation permits are not necessary for all renovation projects. Whether the project in question requires a permit or not depends on certain aspects, such as location or the need for structural changes for example. Relevant alterations may include things like the demolishing of a load-bearing wall or building a skylight which requires a new opening1. If you are undertaking a project which you know is going to require these types of structural changes, you will need to submit a permit application to your local municipality. The purpose of doing so is to ensure that your renovation plans are in accordance with local building codes and ordinances, a process which helps guarantee that all structures are safe and consistent.2

There are two different approaches to gaining permit approval: a final application or a draft application, which is then followed by a final one. Which you opt for should take into account your unique circumstances as well as personal preferences and priorities. In this article we outline the process of both and highlight the main pros and cons of each. By the end of this read, you should have a better idea about which permit application is best to pursue for your project.

By the end of this read, you should have a better idea about which permit application is best to pursue for your project.

renovation permits
Final Application vs. Draft Application

A draft application involves submitting a proposal which will receive feedback from the municipality, based on which you would then submit your final application. On the other hand a final application is either approved or rejected. Rejection results in having to submit another application, therefore doubling the cost. It is important to know that these applications cost money, a price which tends to increase with the price of the construction project.

The Pros: Final vs. Draft Applications
  • Final: If the final application gets approved, it means you can get to work right away. Even if the final application is ‘rejected’ but only due to minor changes, the municipality will usually provide a deadline of a couple of weeks to fix the drawings and send them back with the changes incorporated. This process does not involve the need for a new application. Final applications usually take less time to get approved so can save a great deal of time.
  • Draft: If you are considering changes that are not straight-forward, a draft application is very useful to test what the municipality’s flexibility is towards the interventions you would want to make with the project. Different municipalities judge certain interventions in different ways, and vary in strictness about the ways to implement them. Importantly, a draft application approach guarantees one overall payment, even if the municipality’s advice is very different from what you submit in the first draft application.
permit application
The Cons: Final vs. Draft Applications
  • Final: If the municipality’s feedback is major, the final permit can get rejected, this is obviously not ideal. In this case the design needs to be reviewed, reassessed and changed in ways to incorporate the feedback. Usually these kinds of changes cannot be completed within 2 weeks, meaning a second permit application would need to be submitted. This would require more time and double the cost. This is when the draft application would have been useful.
  • Draft: Starting with a draft application can be a longer process in total, as it suggests more than one application will have to be drawn up, submitted and approved. The review process of the municipality can take 6 to 8 weeks, which can cause undesirable delays. Also, a draft application may not be as flexible as it sounds. Despite being a draft, this application must show everything you intend to do right away and in details. If you wish to add significant changes later down the line, they will require their own permit application.

In conclusion, with all factors considered, the type of permit application you opt for depends mostly on the scale of the intervention you are intending on. The main risk with the final application is that if rejected, or requires too many changes, there will be a need to apply for a second permit, therefore doubling the cost and taking as long as the draft application procedure. Therefore, roughly speaking, a final permit application is recommended for standard interventions, and a draft permit application is recommended for unusual or major interventions.

It is very important to keep in mind that municipalities have different regulations to determine whether you need a permit for a certain intervention or not. They are not always consistent between cities, or even between projects. Therefore it is critical to be well informed on the specific localities of your project. The legal requirements of remodelling are important for avoiding complications, and ensuring the process doesn’t become overwhelming. Acquiring the advice of a professional architect usually helps provide a sense confidence and reassurance throughout the all aspects of the project process, from start to finish, not to mention that an architect will have to take care of creating all the drawings and documents required by the municipality in a permit application.

If you need advice on renovation permits or are planning on constructing or renovating your home would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Navigating a renovation project whilst construction costs are high.

If over the last two years you have contemplated undertaking a renovation project, you will be fully aware of the dramatic shifts experienced within the construction market. Unfortunately, there is no avoiding the reality that construction costs are higher right now. In this article we provide a brief overview explaining why quotes being issued by construction companies in Europe are exceeding expectations. And more importantly, we will be sharing tips on how to effectively navigate your way around these issues in a way that helps to ensure your renovation stays within budget. 

Construction Cost Increases: What, Why and How to Overcome them?

What? The costs in question

As indicated by graph 1, there has been a considerable increase in the price of construction materials. This has put construction company’s profit margins under pressure. In response to this, contractor prices have also been forced to rise to defend this margin, see graph 2.

Why? 3 key reasons
  1. Inflation: As of now, the eurozone’s headline inflation rate is running at 5 percent. As supply gradually catches up with demand over the course of 2022, inflation is predicted to go down, but currently products like construction materials are particularly expensive.2
  2. Supply Chain Disruptions: Construction material inventories in Europe are at a record low. Over the course of the pandemic, manufacturing of essential materials all over the world came to a grinding halt. Suppliers must improve their inventories before price decreases can be considered.
  3. High Demand: These supply chain disruptions are accompanied by high demand in the construction sector. Not only are there severely back-logged projects that were disrupted by the pandemic but also high demand for new construction projects. This is arguably a consequence of people having saved throughout lockdowns and/or those who wish to prioritise the quality of their home environment with the advent of remote work.
construction costs
How? 5 tips for overcoming the issue
  1. Don’t Delay: Although this may sound counterintuitive, and it may seem like the most obvious choice is to simply wait until construction prices go down, there is no guarantee when this will happen. Contractors are likely to maintain, if not continue to raise their prices. High demand right now may also mean your project is pushed much further than you would anticipate and eventually at a higher cost.
  2. Plan Ahead: With this demand in the construction sector in mind, it is advisable to plan ahead. If you have time and do not need to start construction right away, make sure you still engage contractors as soon as possible, and then plan with them to start in a few months. When you can adjust your timeline to their pipeline, this can help with the costs. If you need your work prioritise, they are likely to charge for the urgent work.
  3. Prioritise: As construction prices are high, it may be a beneficial solution to use a contractor for only the most essential parts of your project. A contractor is usually necessary for significant interventions like breaking walls, but surface level actions like painting and decorating for example, you could perhaps delay to a more convenient time or, better yet, try doing it yourself!
  4. Be Selective: Opt for materials and features in the design of your project with the highest-cost benefit. This is particularly relevant now as certain materials are far more expensive than others. Take the time to consider what is most essential to you in the project and what parts of the design you are willing to adapt and be flexible with for the sake of cost.
  5. Professional advice: Having the input of an architect can significantly increase the tangible financial benefit of the tips mentioned above – planning, prioritisation and selectivity. Architects help you do more with less. Professional experience promises creative and cost-effective design solutions you would not have considered, for example sourcing a less-expensive material alternative which achieves the same desired effect. Industry connections to suppliers and contractors also potentially mean they can negotiate discounts on your behalf.

It may initially seem counterintuitive when discussing ways to curve construction costs to propose piling on the additional expense of hiring an architect. However the benefits of having a highly experienced professional on board your project, who are familiar with the ins and out of the construction process and of the industry itself, arguably do outweigh the costs. From avoiding potentially costly mistakes to the selection of cost-effective materials, architects guarantee your vision is achieved and eliminate unessential spending. Our previous article may help you answer the question: Do I Really Need An Architect? Note the AKKA Architects case study which demonstrates how a client was saved €14,750 through acquiring major furniture discounts.

It is understandable if you feel discouraged about pursuing a renovation project right now because of the challenging state of the construction industry. The process towards recovery may well be long and unpredictable. However, the truth is that waiting will not necessarily guarantee costs will improve. If you are hoping to renovate or undertake a new build in the near future, it is advisable to approach the project head on. Make sure you have all the necessary knowledge about new developments in the industry and an experienced team to help you make innovative and financially smart design choices.

If you need advice on navigating construction costs or are considering hiring an architect for a future renovation project, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Interior Design Styles for Your Home: Modern vs. Minimalist Styles

Modern and minimalist are two of the most popular design styles of our current day. With regard to characteristics, they share several similarities but still remain two very distinct styles. You may not be entirely sure what they consist of as style, in this article we hope to provide some clarity on the matter. If you are drawn to either style and are considering potentially implementing them in the interior design of your home, it is beneficial to understand their origins as well as their specific differences. Understanding exactly what makes a style helps to be able to execute as effectively as possible.

Read on to discover the origins and manifestation of the minimalist and modernist movements in design and architecture.

Manifestation in Design
  • Modern: Throughout design and architecture, this movement manifested itself in the form of ‘simple geometric shapes and unadorned facades’ embodied by the emergence of steel and glass skyscrapers.1
  • Minimalist: Minimalism in design is characterised by a structure reduced to its necessary elements. Identifiable by the presence of large void spaces, simple lighting and monochromatic colour schemes- particularly white.
minimalist design
Design Style Origins
  • Modern design is rooted in the modernism movement which arose in the early 20th century of Western society, particularly so following the First World War. It is defined by a shift away from realist depictions and towards an alternative embracing of experimentation and abstraction.
  • Minimalist design was founded upon the western art-movement of minimalism which began after the Second World War. Its origin has been interpreted as a reaction against to abstraction in favour of extreme simplicity in form and function.
Characteristic Similarities & Differences

Modern and minimalist designs both strongly emphasize form and function. This shared aspect makes it possible to combine these styles if desired.2 The diagram below indicates the characteristic similarities and differences between minimalist and modern design styles with regard to colour, material and features.

minimalist vs modern design

It is important to remember that there are no rules when it comes to interior design styles. The most misconstrued idea being that you should adhere to one style throughout your whole interior. Mixing styles in different areas can actually create a very exciting dynamic and help avoid monotony as you move throughout the home. The overlapping similarities between the minimalist and modern styles highlighted in this article make it possible to combine them without appearing overly fragmented. Their differences also could also be utilized to establish visual separation between open plan spaces.

Perhaps you can appreciate the minimalist and modern styles but are still searching for that perfect design style that suits you? Take a look at our article on 9 interior design styles for your home which also offers a convenient downloadable guide for your use.

modern design scandinavian

Some of the styles featured in our 2021 interior design style guide, such as Traditional and Scandinavian for example, would prove challenging to make coherent in proximity to one another. If you are someone who is drawn to the unique possibilities of combining design styles to craft an exciting living experience, but you are unsure how to create the perfect balance in combining different styles, we highly recommend you get an architect or interior designer on board for your project. They will provide the expertise you need to design a space which is unique but still well-designed, aesthetically coherent and functional.

If you need assistance with choosing interior design styles or are planning on constructing or renovating your home would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

10 film recommendations for architecture fans

As wonderful as a few weeks of binge watching all the obligatory Christmas classics can be, you may find yourself needing to switch up this genre from time to time. Chances are that if you have found yourself reading this article, you have a keen appreciation for architecture and the urban landscape. This article is a collation of 10 films recommended by AKKA Architects for their unique architectural perspective. These are not only worth watching for their immersive aesthetic value but also because of their thought-provoking social commentary. In this article, we do not focus on a synopsis for each film (such information is easy to find), instead we have interviewed our architects and share here their insights about the significance of architecture in the films.

10 fantastic films any architecture-lover would enjoy watching over the holidays

Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis is a silent, black and white film produced in Germany during the Weimar period. It holds its place in cinematic history as a pioneer of futuristic film. Its set design reflects the huge leap in technological progress that took place in the interwar period. For example, the 3-dimensional elements used to create the set of the main shopping street features a building at an impressive scale of 1:16 to the real heights. From an architectural perspective, the visual effects created with such highly intricate large-scale models is reason enough to experience this foundational film.

[Image: Tumblr, 1Bohemian]

Metropolis film
Highrise (2015)
highrise film

Highrise is a kind a psychological thriller. A unique and intriguing aspect to this film rests on how the set design is used as a character in itself. The film captures the tension between society and the way we use architecture, interrogating who is allowed where and why, and questioning exactly who has access to what kind of housing. Highrise artistically demonstrates how social status and the economy directly affects the architecture around us, not only aesthetically but also in the ways in which one is permitted to use it.

[Image: John Coulthart Journal.]

Parasite (2019)

The physical space in which the events take place is a symbolic site of severe class disparity in South Korea. The design of the house is reflective of the hierarchical forces that determine the contrasting lives of the Park family and the Kim clan. Architecturally, the house is a complex and curious character, it is an element of the film which poignantly illustrates how the architecture itself affects the social dynamic of society. How something as mundane as rain can be a starkly different experience depending on the quality of the spaces we inhabit.

[Image: Andrew Bannister.]

Bladerunner (1982)
bladerunner film

Bladerunner sets up the imagination in a way that uses scale to convey the largeness of the story. The atmospheric quality of the film is uniquely noteworthy, created with the use of vast statues and spaces, as well as effective lighting. Bladerunner’s set was inspired by the star architects of the time, these influences attributing significantly to the set’s ability to establish such powerfully atmospheric scenes throughout the duration of the film.

[Image: Vanity Fair.]

Brazil (1985)

Brazil is a unique film in the sense that it is made up of a multitude of different era-based styles. The story does not take place on a traditional street level, but instead in the air in a sort of infinite structure. This dynamism works to constantly destabilize the audience, leaving them somewhat lost in this dystopian environment in parallel with the experience of the film’s protagonists.

[Image: Posteritati.]

brazil film
Dark City (1998)
dark city film

Dark City is a noir science fiction film set in a place where the sun never shines. In the film, the streets cease to ever look the same, the infrastructure is constantly changing, new things always emerging. This quality of the architecture has the effect of decentring the viewer, thereby audiences are aligned with the task of the hero in the narrative being to recognise and navigate this complex structure.

[Image: TVTropes.]

Playtime (1967)

Playtime is a comedy set in a futuristic, hyper-consumerist Paris, recognised as Jacques Tati’s greatest work. The film is made up entirely of wide shots, giving audiences access to the full picture constantly. Forcing viewers to navigate around the frame in order to comprehend the multitude of relationships unfolding amongst the subjects and infrastructure. Playtime explores the nuances of the modern urban city in a playful and entertaining manner.

[Image: Dedece Blog.]

Playtime film
The Great Beauty (2013)
The Great beauty film

Audiences are taken on a journey through the infamous city of Rome alongside the 65-year-old bachelor protagonist, an author and socialite. This journey deals with the complexities of the meaning of life. The film shines a light on the minutia of the city, details such as children playing on the streets or the unique acoustics of certain buildings for example. The slow pace of the narrative allows viewers to experience Rome with keen appreciation for such details as the narrative unfolds. 

[Image: Criterion Collection.]

The Fountainhead (1949)

The Fountainhead addresses the politics of building skyscrapers. There is great significance in the architect making the conscious decision not to oblige to the demands of the developers or be subsumed by corruption. Instead he focuses on designing spaces and infrastructure that is actually best for the city as opposed to the money flow. Although produced in the late 1940s, the topics addressed are clearly still highly relevant today. 

[Image: Unobtainium13.]

fountainhead film
Gattaca (1997)
Gattaca film

Gattaca is about interstellar travel, in an imagined society in which people are pre-determined through selective genetic breeding, creating a race eugenically altered to achieve its maximum potential. The minimalist architecture that makes up this futuristic society reflects a desire to streamline technology in order to be as efficient as possible and reach an idea of perfection. The architecture here is a reflection of an aspirational human character.

[Image: DNAPodcast.]

Although the films of festive cheer may take priority over the dark dystopian genre on your screens for the next few weeks, if you do feel like mixing it up, we highly recommend squeezing in a few from the list above!

On another note, if you have friends or family members who shares your interest in architecture, and you are looking for gift ideas for them, check out this article featuring 10 books on architecture, design & cities to give as gifts. We hope it helps!

If you are planning on constructing or renovating your home or workplace and would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

3 ways to implement colour into the interior of your home

Our previous article on 2022 Colour Trends explored some of the leading predictions on which colours will be an important feature of interior design in the upcoming year. The colours you choose for your home have a significant influence over the atmosphere of the environment. The beauty of this is that by making a few simple adjustments with regard to colour, your interior space can be granted an entirely new character. Transitioning into a new year provides the perfect opportunity to consider something new you would like to welcome into your life or, on the other hand, possibly let go of. Introducing some new colour is a great way of ensuring that the atmosphere of your home is aligned with your personal aspirations for the new year.

The way in which you incorporate the colour into your space is critical to achieving your desired atmosphere. As they say, it’s all in the details! In this article we categorise the approaches to colour implementation into three levels. How the colour would best be incorporated is determined by the nature of the existing space you have, as well as the budget available for making these changes.

The 3 levels of implementing colour:

1. Defined Areas

The first and largest-scale way colour can be introduced is by applying it to large surfaces, such as floors, walls, ceilings or any combination of these elements. This approach is an effective way of clearly defining spaces and/or enforcing a strong interior design concept. A singular colour can be used on multiple surfaces throughout the home interior to achieve a monochrome effect, or a combination of complimentary colours can be used to produce striking contrast.

colour interior design

AKKA Architects, Residential project.

2. Accented Elements

The second level draws the colour focus to specific elements of the interior as oppose to large surfaces. Such elements refer for example to kitchen modules, backsplashes, staircases, bathroom appliances, or furniture pieces like couches and wardrobes, among others. By accenting these elements with colour they become the centrepiece of the composition and give unique character to the space. Like at the level of defining areas, this can be done with the use of one common colour shared by different elements, or a range of different complementary hues across the house. This method is a great way to subtly tie different areas of the interior together to create a sense of continuity throughout the house, without the monotony.  

material moodboard

Material mood board, by AKKA Architects created for one of our client’s homes

3. Decoration Items

The third and smallest-scale level of colour implementation is through the smaller decorative items like cushions, rugs, paintings, sculptures, small furniture pieces, etc. This is a very easy and flexible solution which makes some small elements stand out, subtly adding some colour to the main design. Using this approach would be very suitable for those who prefer more neutral overall designs but would like to incorporate small and subtle bursts of colour throughout.

As you can see, selecting the colours you like is one thing, deciding where and how to implement them can be a totally different thing. As a general rule the larger the surface you want to cover in colour, the less saturated the colour needs to be. The smaller the surface or item, the more vibrant, you can go.  That is a general rule, but remember, rules are made to be broken, so feel free to experiment your own way too!

All in all, it may not seem like such a simple task deciding exactly which colours would be complimentary to your current interior and what the best way to practically implement them is. There are also many external factors such as for example the behaviour of natural and artificial light in the space that should be taken into consideration when making colour related choices. Therefore we can highly recommend you find a way to test and experiment before making any final changes. Alternatively, you can always have some form of consultation from a professional if you are planning on making significant changes, particularly concerning bold, statement colours. Having design consultation could also be beneficial for experimenting with colours that are perhaps out of your comfort zone but would work well to achieve the atmosphere you are envisioning.

The fantastic thing about introducing new colours into your home is that even the smallest of adjustments can have a wonderful effect on the space. Whether your budget allows for some colour accenting or a full redesign, colour can really transform the atmosphere. What better way to welcome the new year than by bringing new life into your home?  

If you need assistance with implementing colours or are planning on constructing or renovating your home would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Discover your festive design style!

For many of us, last year’s holiday season was like nothing we have ever experienced before. Most of us hoped it was one we would not have to experience again. Yet as the situation with Covid-19 variants continues to fluctuate this winter, it seems as if a restricted festive season is something we may still have to take into consideration. Whether this means reduced gatherings of friends and family or more accommodating seating plans, it’s difficult to predict, but one thing you can make certain of, amongst all the uncertainty, is that your home feels just right for you.

The colours you select when decorating your space play a determinative role in establishing a desired atmosphere and mood. Studies have proven that exposure to certain colours invite correlating emotions and thus encourage the kinds of behaviours associated with those feelings. Wassily Kandinsky, known as the pioneer of abstract art, developed a renowned colour theory in the 1910’s which suggests that colour can generate emotion ‘to the extent of physical reactions’1. Although this theory might appear overly involved in the context of festive decorating, it emphasises how taking the time to plan your colour scheme can have a significant influence over how people feel when entering your home environment.

In this respect, it is worthwhile to understand exactly what kind of environment you want to create this holiday season. Perhaps you will be hosting a party or you’re simply wanting to create a cosy atmosphere in which you and your family can spend time together. Whatever the occasion, colour schemes are important for supporting the mood and kind of activities taking place.

To assist you in understanding which colour scheme best suits the atmosphere you’d like to create in your home this festive season, we have created a question path which will lead you to one of three styles we think may work nicely for you. Of course this is just for fun, but it may help you translate your festive preferences into some new and innovative ideas for personalised Christmas décor.

Following the question path will lead you to the one of three festive colour schemes for your home, this one being best suited to your personal holiday season preferences.

1. Traditional & Cozy
traditional christmas colour

Sources: starting top left, clockwise: Stocksy, Blog.buyerselect, twotwentyone thesunnysideupblog, ebay

Traditional & Cozy: If having lots of intimate evenings working your way through the Christmas classics sounds like something you’ll be doing this holiday season, this might be the perfect style for you. The dark reds will ignite an intense warmth in the space, and including inflections of gold can add a richness to convey the unique specialness this time of year holds for you. Counteracting these intense hues with white is wise, this colour effectively introduces light into a space and tends to evoke feelings of calm and a sense of purity. The traditional style is perfect for those who see the season as a time to cozy up and completely relax with loved ones.

2. Modern & Elegant
modern christmas colour scheme

Sources: starting top left, clockwise: Kellynan, fashionablehostess, monikahibbs, thelilypadcottage, cox&cox

Modern & Elegant: This colour scheme reflects the undeniable beauty of winter; minus temperatures, frozen lakes and icicle drippings. Such scenes almost reflect a sense of something bigger than ourselves, wonders to be admired and awed upon. Using a range of blues and whites will bring a tranquillity and sense of wisdom to the space, giving your home a regal-like atmosphere. You may wish to opt for this style if you are planning on having a more formal celebration and would like your guests to feel as if they are being immersed into a winter wonderland of some sort.

3. Rustic & Natural
natural christmas colour scheme

Sources: starting top left, clockwise: Overstock, parties365, Dyke&Dean, CulturaColectiva, Bless’erHouse

Rustic & Natural: This may be your preferred style if you love spending as much time of the holiday season outdoors as you can. Long walks with family and friends, no matter the weather. The green and brown hues will bring an organic feel to your space, inviting the natural world indoors. This colour scheme conveys an airy freshness and creates the perfect atmosphere for gaining mental clarity and space. Decorating your home in this natural colour scheme could be perfect if you perceive the holidays as an opportunity to clear your mind and start fresh in the new year.   

There is no doubt that the past couple of years have been incredibly trying, a time in which many of us have come to rely on our connections with family and friends in ways perhaps we didn’t before. If you are lucky enough to be surrounded by these important people in your life this holiday season, going the extra mile to make your space as special as possible could be a great way of showing them your appreciation. Decorative colour schemes give you the freedom to create whichever atmosphere you desire for you and your guests, whether that be warm and welcoming or glamourous and over-the-top. Colour is a wonderful way to celebrate the things you personally value about the holiday season. 

However as the pandemic is not fully behind us just yet, safety should still be a priority at whatever festivities you might be planning, particularly if older or vulnerable guests will be in attendance. With this is mind, we encourage you to read our article from last year called How to have a COVID-friendly Christmas Dinner for tips on how to make your space as healthy as possible. In addition to the advice you’ll find here, asking guests to take a self-test before arriving might also be a beneficial idea to prevent any spread of infection.

If you need any advice on festive colour schemes or perhaps you are constructing or renovating your home or workplace and would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

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“We would like to express our gratitude for the time you invested in helping us get to a clear picture.  Anna and I really appreciated the call we had with you, your responsiveness, and the great empathy that you exhibited throughout – we certainly felt very “well taken care of” when engaging with you.  On the practical side, we especially appreciated that there was the option to obtain robust bottom-up cost estimates for the construction itself (not every design architect offers this).”

-Private Client of AKKA



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