Tired of being cramped in a small space? Feeling a little claustrophobic? Great news! You don’t have to hire a costly contractor and knock out those walls. Learn how the decorators create the illusion of big space in small rooms. Basic design tips to begin living large in small spaces.
You can’t do anything about increasing your room’s size unless you do a major renovation. You can, however, give it the illusion of being a bigger room. Follow these simple decorating tips and began living large in that small space.
Start an Empty Room
When you’re trying to redecorate a room, it’s difficult to create a new space when you’re looking at what you’re trying to replace. Empty the room. Clear out the old and you’ll find it easier to come up with new ideas. Begin with a blank palette then let your creativity get to work.
Decide On a Color Scheme
Contrary to what you may think, you don’t have to go all white to make a room look bigger; however, you have to pay attention to color scheme and some basic rules of color design. A monochromatic color palette (tone-on-tone) is the best choice for a small space. You can still have your blues, greens, yellow or any color you want as long as you use pastel versions of the color. Bright, deep colors will bring the walls together and overpower a small space, but neutrals and pastels will have the opposite effect and tend to move the walls outward, creating the illusion of more space.
The key to using color in a small room is to minimize the contrast. Use varying shades of the same color to add interest and detail. Don’t ignore the ceiling; keep it two or three shades lighter than the walls but in the same color family. This will create a continuation of the space.
The Floor is First
People are often dismayed when they’ve take great care with the selection of paint, furnishings and accessories, then put it all together and it doesn’t look right. That’s usually because they’ve forgotten to take the floor into the equation of design. Your floor is the first element of design; it will anchor the rest of your space. When dealing with small spaces, the more you see of the floor, the larger it will feel, so it’s important that you get the floor right.
Light colored flooring works best in small spaces. For wood floors, light colored finishes honey oak and natural bamboo are best. Stay away from mahogany and cherry finishes in small rooms. They will draw the eye downward and minimize the space. If you have a dark wooden floor and don’t want to refinish it, then add a carpet or large rug, but choose neutral shades. Think creams and light beiges or a variant shade of your wall color and stay away from heavy patterns or designs.
To maximize the illusion of space, make your floor blend in with the wall color and furnishings. When choosing rugs and carpets, select shades that are slightly darker than the walls. The same rule applies to furniture; if you have dark furniture and light floors, you could end up with a top-heavy, unbalanced room.
Furniture and Scale
Second to the flooring, the most important element of design in your room is furniture. Striking the right balance is crucial to maximizing your space. Too small furniture will accentuate the smallness of the room too large furniture will overpower the room and do the exact same thing.
When selecting furniture, opt for pieces that are moderate in scale and have an open element of design. Chairs and sofas should have exposed legs and if they have arms, they should be open, not upholstered. Beds should also be an open design. Don’t use sleigh beds or beds with foot brands; they tend to close in the space around them. Hollywood bed frames work beautifully in small bedrooms.
Larger pieces of furniture should anchor the back of the room opposite the entry. Don’t put large, bulky pieces near the entryway or in the walkways. Keep as much of the floor exposed as you can. Armoires and entertainment centers should be of an open design. Opt for pieces with legs so that the floor stays visible. Glass top tables, beveled glass shelving, and furniture with glass doors are excellent for small spaces because of their transparency.
If you have a heavy piece of furniture along one wall, then you must balance the other side of the room with something of comparable scale. That doesn’t mean you have to add a bulky piece of furniture to the opposite side. Instead, balance the room with accessories that are scaled proportionately to the furniture. A large wall decoration works well as a balancing agent.
Lighting Your Space
Lighting is critical in any space, but especially so in small spaces. Your eye should naturally travel to the focal point of the room, so make sure you have that area accented with lighting. Assess the natural light that comes in from windows, doors or hallways, then decide where you need to supplement with artificial lighting. Don’t be afraid of creating shadows; they create drama and interest.