Many first-time homeowners quickly realize the money they’ve saved for a house is not enough to purchase their dream home. Sacrifices are made and this often translates into less space than we would like.
Versatile, multi-functional furniture creates both flexibility and order, and can often double as storage; a crucial thing in a small space! Storage ottomans can be placed at the foot of the bed and hide extra linens. They can also be used as extra seating in the dining and/or living areas. Placing one or more beneath a glass console table will create a welcoming foyer.
A pull-out sofa or daybed that can act as a bed for overnight guests can be a saviour, taking up little space when not in use. Decorate with functional but pretty baskets and boxes that can be used to store any number of unsightly items: loose cords, magazines or even pet toys.
Modular pieces provide custom solutions for even the smallest spaces. Armless sectional pieces, for example, can be easily moved around to create unique seating arrangements, as required. If your dining room/area is small, consider a table that expands in size, from a romantic dinner for two to a size suitable for dinner parties, rather than a huge tale that consumes the room.
Hiding your storage in plain view maximizes your space. Select a bed that features deep drawers and/or headboard storage. Opt for tables that offer drawers so that you can hide paperwork and electronic remotes.
Don’t forget that shelving and other storage components can be combined in any room to capitalize on vertical real estate. Built-ins are another great solution and can be made to look as if they are part of the wall with the use of push-touch closures.
Let it Float!
Cramming everything you can imagine into a room will only make it feel cluttered and may impede traffic flow. A crowded nest does not inspire love and togetherness; it increases stress and frustration. Spread your furniture out and don’t assume the only option is to place every piece tightly against a wall. Creating special areas or zones will help add volume to the space and create visual unity.
To introduce negative space, choose seating with legs rather than skirts, and tables and shelves which do not extend directly to the floor. Though they occupy the same footprint, seeing the floor beneath the pieces gives the illusion of space and airiness.
One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to decorate is paint. While cool colours and lighter tints generally make rooms look larger, you are not relegated to pastels and neutrals. Be bold and vibrant if it feels comfortable, even if just as an accent wall. The important thing is that you create a visual flow from room to room, using tones of the same shade.
Opt for a more monochromatic scheme, using similar tones on walls, window treatments and large pieces of furniture. Minimizing the contrast keeps the eye flowing in an uninterrupted manner. This will visually decrease the mass of the furniture and increase the volume of the room. Introducing a variety of textures will add even more depth and interest.
Don’t forget the fifth wall: the ceiling. Particularly if you are in a newer condo or loft, most of which feature higher than 8′-0″ ceilings, this surface represents an opportunity to add a splash of colour and create some drama.
Why do so many smaller homes feature large windows these days? Lighting makes a huge difference to a space, especially natural light, which will make the space feel brighter and more spacious. But this is helpful only during the day. At night, provide yourself the option of brightening your spaces in the same way.
Adding ceiling lights is not always a viable option, particularly if you are dealing with concrete ceilings. Hanging lights, such as swags or even Christmas twinkle lights, might work in some spaces. The failsafe is to make full use of task lighting: floor and table lamps, under-cabinet lighting, even wall sconces (which come in both hard-wired and wireless options). If you can put your lights on dimmers, their utility will increase. Also consider choosing bulbs that offer a more natural light, such as full spectrum lighting.
Mirrors and reflective surfaces such as metal, crystal, high-gloss surfaces, or iridescent wallpapers can be a designer’s best friend when it comes to visually expanding a space, as they amplify the available light. Do not be afraid to use them!
Simplicity. Flexibility. Versatility.
Add these words to your small space lexicon. Functional space is critical to making a room feel larger. At the same time, focus on the benefits of having a smaller space by finding the natural character of the room so that you can draw your guests in. Embrace the coziness and the opportunity to be that much closer to your husband or wife! Most of all, be open, creative and have fun!