When you are dealing with a limited amount of square footage, whether it is a living room, bedroom, or studio apartment, you want it to feel as open, airy and spacious as possible. With the following design tips, you’ll be able to take advantage of every inch and make a small space feel much larger than it is.
Brighten and lighten
If you gravitate toward bold, saturated colors for your design schemes, it is time to turn your attention to the other end of the spectrum; dark colors won’t do you any favors in a small space. Light and bright is the aesthetic you need to make a small space feel airy and open, according to Family Handyman writer Jenny Stanley. You don’t have to limit yourself to just white, though. Any light color palette will do. You also want to let in as much natural light as possible so avoid dressing your windows with thick curtains or bulky window treatments.
“Consider slatted window blinds, very sheer lace curtains or bamboo shades,” she advises. “Slatted blinds provide privacy when closed and bamboo shades offer semi-privacy when closed (but also allow sun to filter through the woven material).”
Pay attention to the surface beneath your feet as well. A light-colored floor or lightly colored carpeting or area rugs that complement the neutral tone on the walls will accentuate the spacious feeling in your room, adds Stanley. Just like on the walls, dark colors will make the room feel cramped and dark.
Clear furniture, like a table or desk made of glass or Lucite, won’t add bulk to the room like traditional furniture. Plus, she adds, it makes quite a statement.
Spaces need to serve multiple functions. A bedroom may double as a home office or a gym and a living room might need to accommodate overnight guests. You can thwart square footage limits with a detailed plan.
“Create a floor plan that sections off the space according to your needs, then consider the intended purpose of each area,” advises Architectural Digest writer Jennifer Fernandez, who learned valuable tips from Jonathan Adler’s creative service manager Nicholas Obeid’s move to a small studio.
Choose multipurpose furniture, such as a couch with pullout storage, a daybed you can use as a sofa, or a steamer trunk as a coffee table, suggests Stanley. An ottoman that opens up can store games, books, remote controls or other odds-and-ends.
How you use the vertical space in your room can make or break how it feels to you and your guests. In order to make your space feel larger, you have to inspire people to look up.
“Hang a gallery wall of paintings and other framed pieces as high as possible to give the illusion of a tall ceiling,” advises Fernandez.
Another way to trick the eye that your walls are taller is with a bookshelf that extends to the ceiling, says Stanley. You’ll also gain valuable storage space.
Clear the clutter
No amount of design tricks can save a cluttered space. If the storage solutions you have are bursting at the seams or items, including decorative accessories, cover every surface, you need to declutter.
Use these tips to make your small space function well, feel open and look beautiful.