When space is limited, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style, you just need to get a bit more creative. Here are some design solutions to help you realize the potential of smaller spaces, and make the room feel and look bigger too!
Take the Floor
The first step in designing for a small space is to draw out your floor plan. If you’re working with a designer, they can help you do this, and then discuss which furnishing pieces are most important. Think function first: how will the room be used? What type of lifestyle do you want it to project? Measuring and planning first will save you time and money in the long run.
Your home should be an expression of the people living in it – showcasing your unique personality and style. Display your unique decorative pieces, but don’t overcrowd a small room with too many knickknacks. Edit your choices, and use one or two larger items to give the room focus.
A room or single piece of furniture can serve more than one purpose, giving the space added versatility. An extension dining table can double as a work desk, a sideboard can display decorative items or serve as a casual bar. A sleeper-sofa can eliminate the need for a separate guest room. Consider who uses the room and how. Is half of your living room being used as an office space? Use sliding panels to hide built-in office shelves. Slide-in desktop surfaces and hang artwork on the panels to create faux walls.
Instead of a sectional sofa that may crowd a smaller room, try two facing loveseats to open up the space and the conversation. To create zones within a room, try two area rugs flanked by square-back chairs. Sometimes having multiple zones can make a room look larger too.
Resist the urge to move all of your furniture to the edges of the room to “create space”. To better define the room, arrange your furnishings in a conversational grouping will better define the room.
Placing art and shelving vertically tends to draw the eye upwards, making the room appear larger as well. Tall, slender bookcases not only maximize storage in comparison to lower shelving, but they also make the room appear more open. Hanging drapery from ceiling height, or letting the drapery hang lower than the floor makes the room and its windows appear taller, while giving the room an elegant, relaxed feel.
A sleeper-sofa can eliminate the need for a separate guest room.
Small spaces are exceptional for ﬂaunting your personality, style and creativity.
If you want your small space to feel cozy and intimate, use low, warmer lighting, such as table and desk lamps. For a fresh, lighter feel, use bright-white bulbs in recessed or pendant lights. To give the illusion of more light and more space, mirrors are your best and simplest design solution. Even mirrored walls are back in style, and they can instantly double the visual space in a room, and if they are hung to reflect a window with a pleasant view, can bring more of the outdoors in. Using lighter colors and sheer fabrics also gives the room a light, airy feel.
Another way to lighten up a room is with clear or translucent furnishings, such as a great set of Lucite chairs or a glass or mirrored table. These pieces look smart mixed with metal or wood, and give the illusion of space with their clear or reflective finishes.
The Clean Room
Small spaces look their best when there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. An editing eye is critical here to keep things clean and open. Using a monochromatic theme for decorative items gives the illusion of less clutter, and having hidden storage space can keep it so.
Look for pieces that double as storage areas, such as ottomans and consoles, and other furniture with built-in storage to tidy things away when not in use. The area under a stairway can even be used as clever closet space to keep your smaller areas clutter-free.
The Dark Side
We often hear that light colors make a room look larger, but that isn’t always the case. Consistency in color design, as opposed to a lot of different colors and patterns, enlarges a room, so a deep violet wall can make a room look larger than patterned pastel wallpaper. Using a glossier or even lacquer-like finish can make a more intense color less heavy on the eyes, while still retaining its bold impact.
Sleek and Chic
Another way to make a small space look larger is with sleek, Euro-inspired furniture with clean, straight lines, as well as dual-purpose functions. So take a page from high-end condo furnishings to make your small space speak style volumes.