Last month we wrote about interior design options for large rooms within the home. This month we are following up with a post providing tips for smaller spaces. The right combination of design elements can make these rooms feel open and welcoming, while the wrong ones can leave the same space feeling closed-in and cluttered. Everything from decorative accents to the color palette to the furnishings will make a dramatic difference. Whether you reside in a condominium with relatively limited square footage (common to the dense waterfront residences of North Vancouver) or are simply looking to best design the smaller rooms in your detached home, this article will help.
Seven Tips to Designing and Decorating Small Rooms and Spaces in Your Home
1. Painting Outside of the Box
Darker tones on the walls will make your small room feel even more like a box. Instead, paint in soothing yet room-opening variations of white (French vanilla, linen white, eggshell, etc…) or other light hues. Don’t just stop at the four walls, take to the ceiling as well, which will open the space up further (and higher), immediately minimizing the feeling of minimal square footage. Take this color tip one step further by matching your paint with a monochromatic color scheme for the furnishings and accents within.
2. Use Mirrors to Create an illusion of Space
For hundreds of years illusionists have been using the magic of mirrors to make things disappear, or appear to be something other than what they really are. When it comes to a small room, a tight space can transformed into a seemingly larger space with a properly placed large mirror or two. The impact can be best achieved if mirrors are mounted in full-view when guests enter the room, especially if there is a window, allowing the mirror to double the effect of deflecting one’s visual to include the outside.
3. Big Minimalism
Small spaces tend to feel cluttered when there are too many accents and decorative pieces in the room. Instead of lining end tables, ledges, and walls with your collections carefully select one or two larger items that perfectly complement the room, and strategically place them noticeably in the corner, yet out of the natural path of resident and guest “foot traffic”. This way, you get to convey your sense of style and personality with a few big and bold statement pieces, while still freeing up living and entertaining space in the smaller room/s.
4. Choose Furnishings with Hidden Storage
Homeowners with limited space are often met with the challenge of keeping items such as books, electronics, pillows, throw blankets, and the like out of the way yet within close reach. You don’t want to have to constantly leave the room to go and grab something that you use frequently. The good news, is that there are creative yet fully functional furnishings (sofas, ottomans, and more) that allow you to inconspicuously store these items. In addition, big statement pieces (addressed above) such as a decorative steamer trunk can serve to complement the rich design of the room while giving you additional storage space.
5. Clear the Floor by Mounting More
Mounting items such LCD TV screens on the wall, as opposed to taking up limited floor space with large entertainment centers, makes a lot of sense in this endeavor. What about those ubiquitous speakers? You can regain floor space by mounting these on sturdy wall-shelves. This concept also works for those who want to display their small yet impressively curated library, opting for mounted shelving over floor standing units. Again, the clearer the floor, the wider the space.
6. If You Must Have Tables…
When it comes to working with limited space many designers will tell you to avoid placing tables on the floor. However, when this is not possible (for example, in your dining room or home-office areas) then glass or lucite tables will allow you to accommodate your functional need while maximizing the appearance of expanse.
7. Wall-Washing with Recessed Lighting
Recessed lighting involves installing light fixtures into a hollowed opening in a ceiling, creating the appearance that light is shining from a hole in said ceiling (well, it is). Recessed lighting is used in a technique known as wall-washing, a room design concept that makes smaller spaces feel larger by illuminating wide vertical surfaces (i.e. your walls). Wall-washing also serves to brighten numerous vertically hung objects at the same time, creating a truly open and engaging arena in an otherwise small space.
Each room or space in small condos or apartments requires a unique approach to maximizing the functionality, which creating a pleasing décor that you will want to come home to. We would love to help you make that happen. If you reside in the Lower Mainland call us for a free one-hour consultation at 604-986-2080 or contact our interior design centre by completing the Contact Us form.