2016 roundup | upgradesign

The 2016 roundup

Since 2017th is rapidly approaching like it has nothing better to do, we can’t help but reflect on the past year – half a year to be precise. Starting this blog was an incredible thing to do, and to be honest, we didn’t believe we’d be able to dedicate so much time and energy to writing and designing and searching for amazing interiors we share here with you.

It didn’t take a long time from making a decision to actually creating a blog. We didn’t know much about blogging back then, not sure if we now much more now, but we decided to wing it and learn along the way.

Christmas holidays are already so stressful and with new year’s eve coming (and for us this year that also means one important wedding day) we decided to take it slow and take a look back at our past posts.

At first, we were happy if 10 or 20 people read our post and now it’s already hundreds of views and shares and pins. And we can’t believe it!

Here are some of the most interesting and viewed posts. Be sure to click on the link and read if you missed them!

About tiles

This post is very popular on Pinterest. Guess people really had noticed how tiles made a huge comeback!

The tiles are not just for kitchens or bathrooms. With the right type, you can create inviting, warm atmosphere in a hallway without worrying about wet shoes or umbrellas. They can work on living room floors as well, especially if you opt for floor heating, and we’re sure we can also agree that it would be great to spill something from the dining table knowing your floor will not be ruined.  It is always good to think outside of the box – just remember to think about the context of your apartment to see if your choices make sense.

If you’re looking for some interesting wall coverings, and you don’t want to put wall tiles, wallpapers are always a good choice -and we already wrote ‘About wallpapers

We also wrote a few ‘HOW TO’ posts:

How to design stairs

Francesco Librizzi - Casa C
Francesco Librizzi – Casa C // photo: © Giovanna Silva

Stairs should be as wide as a hallway would be – the function is really the same. The width of a staircase should never be less than 90 cm, ideally 120 cm. That’s the rule.

But (!) sometimes you have to put the staircase in a studio apartment, and 90 cm is way too much because nothing else would fit. Or they lead to one small room in the attic where you have nothing but a pillow, lamp, and a book. The rule can be broken, but be aware of how frequently you’ll have to go up and down and how big are the things you’ll have to bring upstairs, including furniture you’ll maybe bring only once.

How to design a functional kitchen

How to design a functional kitchen: CaSA Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment
CaSA (Colombo and Serboli Architecture) – Rocha Apartment // photo: © Roberto Ruiz

How to design a functional kitchen: ONE-WALL and GALLEY kitchen

This is the one topic we knew we wanted to write about as soon as we decided to create a blog. It’s almost a reason why we started it. You wouldn’t believe how many people we talked with don’t know why it’s important to design a functional kitchen and how much the worktop is crucial in the kitchen.

How to design a functional kitchen when you’re unable to design an ideal kitchen?
The answer is simple: the triangle. Store, prepare, cook. Refrigerator, sink, stove. In that order. Works every time.
A functional kitchen consists of refrigerator + worktop + sink + worktop + stove + worktop. The width of worktop areas depends on the size of the kitchen as well your needs.

We showed few common kitchen layouts followed with photographs of kitchens designed by great architects.

my kitchen remodel - upgradesignSmall and functional Ikea kitchen | upgradesign

Don’t forget to check out two posts about kitchen designs that follow this logic:

My kitchen remodel – one phase of a single-family house reconstruction and
Small and functional IKEA kitchen.

How to remodel a bathroom

How to remodel a bathroom: Forstberg Ling - House for mother
Forstberg LingHouse for mother // photo: © Markus Linderoth

After kitchen remodeling bathroom is most common ‘remodel’ everyone’s doing and of course we wrote about that too.

It would be awesome to  keep everything out of the bathroom and place it in a perfectly designed storage space, but that is rarely an option. If there is one thing we learned, is that every apartment seems to be just a bit too small. We are not saying that every problem has a solution, but every interior problem does have its designed solution.
Planning a plumbing system is starting point of a bathroom remodel and it comes down to two basic facts: you can move bathtub, shower, washing machine and basin wherever you want because those are fixtures that require thin pipes (budget will increase due to displacement of fixtures, and variation in cost can be big), but displacing toilet comes with bigger consequences.

How to design a shower

How to design a shower: Bureau A - The Apartment
Bureau AThe Apartment // photo: Courtesy of Bureau A

Since we mentioned bathroom remodel here is another post on that subject, if you decide to put a shower in a bathroom instead of a bathtub, especially if the bathroom is too small.

(…) And the thing with bathroom is that in order to make it functional, we have to respect some common dimensions of fixtures and space between them. Do you remember our post about a functional kitchen? Standard dimension of a piece of furniture or fixture can be very frustrating because sometimes you just don’t have those extra 5 centimeters.

Designing a shower area eliminates that problem. Ideally, the shower should be at least 90 cm wide, but 88 will also work, you know? That is not the case if you’re buying a shower cabin or bathtub. This is very important fact when you’re designing a small bathroom.
To fit a shower in the bathroom basically means to choose a partition between the shower area and the rest of the bathroom. You need to think about the size and proportions of the bathroom and the position of the bathroom window if there is one.

We also showed some good examples of showers with no partition and with glass or wall partition.

How to design storage

How to design storage: Vora - Juan's apartment
Vora arquitectura – Juan’s apartment // photo: © Adrià Goula

Small rooms tend to become useless or even worse, cluttered so if you have an extra room, think about making a storage room out of it.

Think about everything you use, regularly or occasionally, that doesn’t quite belong anywhere: vacuum cleaner, all kinds of detergents, broom, drying rack, ironing board, iron, grill, picknick basket, paper or empty bottles for recycling, holiday decorations, artificial Christmas tree, ski equipment. These things are probably hiding all over your apartment, taking away space meant for something that’s actually needed in a certain room.

We always try to draw that line between interior design and home decoration, but even we believe in simple ‘TIPS AND TRICKS’:

Tips and tricks for perfect entrance space

Tips and tricks for perfect entrance space: BEIGE NATURAL entrance space collage

You’ll often hear us say that interior design is not the same thing as home decor. But, when it comes to the entrance space, it almost is. There isn’t much you can do to make your entrance room more functional, accept having an entrance room (or entrance area). Maybe you are an extrovert, but everyone that might knock on your door doesn’t have to see your entire apartment when you open the door.

A small entrance room can be functional, but if you are in a situation to choose between small or bigger one, don’t immediately look at it as a waste of precious apartment space. If you often host parties and family gatherings, it is nice to have bigger space to greet everyone and say goodbye to them when they’re leaving. On the other hand, we wouldn’t advise you to design bigger entrance space just because you have a lot of shoes. Entrance room is not a storage.

Tips and tricks for beautiful home workspace


McLaren.Excell - Ingersoll Road
McLaren.Excell – Ingersoll Road // photo: © Richard Leeney


We are repeating ourselves over and over again but when deciding what is best for you, think about how and where are you doing your work now, what are the things you’ll like to keep and what are the ones that are getting on your nerves. Now that you established that it’s simple: keep the ones that work, change the ones that don’t. Always keep in mind that you will not change for your new workspace.
Be very careful with this, you don’t want to organize separate office room and then do all the work on your dining room table. If you don’t like to be alone while working, why not turn that spare room in more useful storage space?

3 things to have in mind while designing a studio apartment

Loft beds are so cool. They seem to solve every problem in a tiny apartment if it’s high enough. We are also big fans, but remember! You will not change for your apartment. Are you the kind of person who won’t mind climbing those stairs every evening? And down every morning? And sometimes during the night? Are you the kind of person who invites their friends or family members to stay over and you need an extra bed for those occasions? Are you the kind of person who hates making their bed and it’s so perfect for you to have it all messy above your head?
Zagreb studio apartment design #2: © upgradesign

This post was pretty popular considering it was the first one on the blog. Those 3 things we mentioned were: storage, kitchen, and space overlaps.

We showed two possible floor plans of a studio apartment in Zagreb that we designed. We personally liked the one with a loft bed, but that solution is not for everyone.

Loft beds are so cool. They seem to solve every problem in a tiny apartment if it’s high enough. We are also big fans, but remember! You will not change for your apartment. Are you the kind of person who won’t mind climbing those stairs every evening? And down every morning? And sometimes during the night? Are you the kind of person who invites their friends or family members to stay over and you need an extra bed for those occasions? Are you the kind of person who hates making their bed and it’s so perfect for you to have it all messy above your head?

An outdoor space should be an extension of the interior

An outdoor space should be an extension of the interior: Rob Kennon - Burnley House
Rob KennonBurnley House // photo: © Brooke Holm

We love outdoor spaces and we should definitely write more about them. They may be outside, but they sure can fell like interiors, and yes, they also require designing process

We wrote about the importance of connecting the outdoor space with the interior.

Not much can fit in a room that is only one meter wide, but if your room could be one meter wider, that would be great, right?
That’s exactly how you should treat your outdoor space; balcony, terrace or even backyard.
Outdoor space is connected to a room – a bedroom, a kitchen or a living room – as its extension. We found some great projects to show you what we mean.

And in the end, we don’t want to finish this post without mentioning those few posts we wrote about great interior projects designed by architects we admire. We encourage you to click on websites of those architects (and not just them, please do that to all the architects we mentioned in past posts).

Alan’s apartment renovation in Barcelona by EO arquitectura

EO arquitectura - Alan's apartment renovation: view of the living room
EO arquitecturaAlan’s Apartment Renovation // photo: © Adrià Goula

Studio: EO arquitectura
Architects: Adrian Elizalde and Clara Ocaña
Client: Alan
Location: Comte Borrell , Barcelona
Project: March 2015 – October 2015
Surface: 65 m²
Photographer: © Adrià Goula
Builder: Forneas Guida

La Carme – apartment renovation in Barcelona by RÄS

RÄS - La Carme: living room
RÄS – la Carme // photo: © Adrià Goula

Studio: RÄS
Designed by: Clàudia Raurell, Joan Astallé, Marc Peiró
Location: Barcelona
Date: December 2015
Photographer: © Adrià Goula
Collaborators: Estrella – construction, Mur & López – wood, Primcolor – paint,
I-més – installations

TDH – house in Grimbergen by i.s.m.architecten

i.s.m.architecten - TDH: kitchen
i.s.m.architectenTDH // photo: © Luis Diaz Diaz

Studio: i.s.m.architecten
Architecture: i.s.m.architecten icw Bataille & ibens
Interior design: i.s.m.architecten
Client: private
Location: Grimbergen, Belgium
Completed: 2014
Contractor: Bouwbedrijf De Hauwere
Structural engineering: util
Photographer: © Luis Diaz Diaz

We are so thankful for all our readers, but also architects, photographers, and designers who don’t mind us commenting and sharing their work. You made our year. Thank you!

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