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How to Survive City Living

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I was born and raised in London. I grew up in Fulham with my mum and aside from a short stint in Hertfordshire for school and a few extended trips abroad - namely Ibiza, where I have a restaurant business - it has always been home.

With so much going on, and so many people wanting to enjoy everything that London has to offer, space isn't really a luxury we can expect to enjoy - be that walking through the West End or in the comfort of our own homes. Apartments are getting smaller and smaller all over the UK, and with so many of us wanting to live in cities - whether that's London or Liverpool, Edinburgh or Birmingham - it doesn't look like that situation is going to change any time soon.

I've always been interested in style and design, and as a result of living in a city for most of my life I've learnt to be a bit clever with how I use the space that I've got.

In my late teens I was keen to get out of my mum's house ASAP, which meant spending several years living in dingy basement flats and warehouses with no hot water. At times it was a bit grim but it's all part of growing up and it taught me a lot.

For me - now I'm living somewhere less squatter-chic - I've learnt to create an illusion of space. I love clean, open plan living, but to do this properly you have to stick to a few golden rules:

1. Furniture can - and should - have multiple functions. It shouldn't be a toss-up between having a desk or a dining room table. Opt for something that'll do both jobs, and be a bit clever with storage so you can hide things like laptops and papers away.

2. Choose colours carefully. Colour is a great way to add a bit of personality to a room, but if you're working with a small space it's best to stick to the same palette in every room. If you're like me and you redecorate your house as regularly as you change your shirt, try and stick to classic, practical furniture that'll look the part no matter what the setting. You can always mix things up and add a bit of personality with more unique, one-of-a-kind finds.

3. You can never have enough storage. Granted it's not exactly the most glamorous of rules, but having bits and pieces lying around a small room will quickly make it look pokey. Choose items of furniture with hidden storage compartments for remotes, DVDs and radiator keys so you can save your shelf space for things you actually want to show off.

4. Mirrors are good, and glass is better. An obvious way to open up a room, make feel it lighter and generally a bit more spacious, is to incorporate a decent mirror or a couple of bits of furniture made out of glass or with a high gloss finish.

5. Make the most of the walls and ceilings. If you're particularly tight on floor space, make sure you're using the walls and ceilings to their full potential. As well as somewhere to hang a mirror, you can use walls as vertical storage by investing in some shelves and hooks for things like coats, pots, pans, your bike... you name it. Similarly, you ceiling doesn't have to be unusable space. There's this great little shop in Stoke Newington called HUH where they've suspended plant pots from the ceiling and it looks awesome.

I've done a bit of leg work in partnership with Hygena and have found a selection of the best restaurants, bars, cinemas, clothes shops, hotels and barbers across the UK. We've unearthed some real gems, but what makes these places particularly special is the way they've been designed. To help you make your flat look as slick as these venues, we've created a Guys Guide to modern design that includes a load of tips on to make your space work harder without having to get Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen in.

George Lamb has guest edited the Guys' Guide to modern day design which is available to view and download for free at www.issuu.com/hygenaguysguide.

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