Living in a small space creates some unique problems, but with a little planning you can visually open up your living areas. These ideas were taken from BHG.com, a great resource for home decorating ideas.
Use Windows to Enlarge a Small Room
Windows are important in small spaces to make the most of available light. Maximise your window space by keeping curtains and blinds as far away as possible from the window area. To make a window look as big as possible, hang a curtain rail close to the ceiling, then use a blind to cover the top edge of the frame.
Design Small Rooms to Multitask
If your house is too small to meet all your needs, make spaces do double duty. A daybed anchors this living room by mimicking the look of a trendy, extra-deep designer sofa- whilst also providing space for guests to sleep. Look for a daybed with a solid back for all-day lounging support. Cap off the ends with a pair of bolster pillows to imitate the rolled arms of a sofa. Two small tables work together as a larger coffee table but move aside easily to give guests bedside tables.
Choose Small-Scale Furniture
Small spaces are quickly overwhelmed by large or overstuffed furniture. Choose neatly upholstered pieces with compact frames and slimmed-down, leggy pieces without skirted bottoms that allow you to see through them to the walls and floors.
Keep a Small Room White and Light
It’s an age-old decorating adage: light colours open up a room, while dark colours keep a space cozy. To give your room the illusion of spaciousness, bathe it in white. White surfaces bounce light around the room, keeping a small space feeling bright and open. In this narrow bathroom, white walls, a white bathtub, and an off-white vanity reflect light, giving the feeling of spaciousness. Dark tiled floors ground the room. White grout lines break up the tiles, ensuring the black doesn’t weigh down the room. The brightly coloured mat adds a splash of colour to an otherwise bland scheme, echoed in the flowers and artwork.
Let Coloured Walls Expand a Small Room
Rather than using white walls as a backdrop for colourful accents, try the opposite effect. The green wall colour here connects the room to the scenery and spaciousness outside, while white furnishings, white accessories, and white-painted architecture keep the room open and bright. A handful of green accents ties it all together.
Add Mirrors to Small Spaces
Hang a large mirror with a decorative frame (or prop it against a wall) to create the illusion of depth in a small room. Even small mirrors expand the sense of space by reflecting views and light, but an oversize mirror like this one has a dramatic effect because it reflects a large chunk of the room. To see more ideas for mirrors, see my post- Mirrors- how to use them in your home.
Keep the colour palette simple in a Small Room
When it comes to small spaces, too many colours can be chaotic. Select a few and stick with them. In this living room, a cream background is accented with sky blue and rusty red. The colours add personality without overtaking the space, and the muted tones are far more subtle than fully pigmented hues, which also softens their impact.
Downplay Contrast in a Small Space
Architectural focal points can make a small space feel choppy by causing the eye to stop and focus in on that area. By painting the brick fireplace white in this compact sitting area, the fireplace stopped distracting from the room and now the wall nearly disappears into the neighbouring bank of windows. The lack of coving, smooth wall covering and white paint combine to create a restful backdrop and the eye floats over the whole area leaving the furniture and accessories to draw the eye. The raised coffee table provides a neat storage area for the footstool.
Make Space in a Small Hallway
A little something at the entrance to a house creates a welcoming focal point for guests, but when you’re squeezed for space, keep it lightweight visually. Try a narrow console table which provides a surface for some flowers and a place to deposit mail, keys, and a handbag when walking in the door. It also anchors the mirror and wall sconces, creating a well-balanced display that doesn’t eat up too much space.
Keep a Small Room Flexible
Keep a small room from getting extremely cramped when you entertain by using smaller, portable pieces of furniture that can be rearranged. Here, a lightweight table with fold-down leaves can be expanded to accompany extra guests and then can be folded up and stored against the wall to be used as a console table. Likewise, the folding chairs can be stored elsewhere when not in use.
Keep a Clear View in a Small Room
Anything that stops the eye in its movement around a room can register as a boundary or border that limits the space. Using the same colour on walls, curtains and furniture unifies this room. The glass top on the dining table virtually disappears, opening the eating area so it feels bigger. The transparent surface also allows the table’s decorative base to shine without weighing down the room. Open-slat chairs further contribute to the airy feel and visual openness. The whole scheme is then pulled together with the aqua chair fabric and artwork.
Take the Edge Off a Small Space
Add round elements to a small, square room. Curved shapes, instead of rigid corners draw you in to give a small space a cozy feel. In this living space, curvy chairs, an oval-shape table and the circular rug pattern lend a flowing, organic feel.
Visually expand a small room by painting the walls with wide horizontal stripes. In this bedroom, horizontally aligned boards achieve this effect without overpowering the room. The rough texture of the planks, installed with the unfinished side facing out, lends a light and airy washed finish to the soft wall color. You can achieve the same effect by painting horizontal stripes on plain walls. Use light colours to maintain a bright, open scheme and similar tones so the stripes are noticeable but don’t visually break up the space.
Right Size for a Small Space
This bathroom could feel empty without the console table, which is the perfect size for the space. The tall, elegant proportions provide a nice focal point for the room plus a little extra storage.
For more ideas, see my post on Small Scale Living.