Although it can be tricky decorating a small room, there is nothing like a good design challenge! The constraints of a small room can lead to extraordinary creativity in the way we use space: inventive storage solutions, strategic use of colour, creative furniture arrangements, there is an incredible amount of opportunity in designing a smaller space!
1. Storage Solutions
Designing a small room, whether it be a bedroom, living space, kitchen or bathroom means having to get creative with the way you use the available space. Do invest in quality pieces that will serve more than one purpose: in this case, storage! Ottomans with hidden storage in the seat, ‘smart’ furniture that includes built in storage (such as coffee tables with drawers & shelves, a bed with storage tucked underneath, etc), there are tons of options out there that will help you to maximise your storage without cluttering up the room!
Another technique in gaining more storage in a smaller space is to make use of your walls: Install floating shelves, wall-hung cabinets, etc. This not only gives you the bonus of added storage but also acts as a way of keeping things up off the floor.
In general, try to make the best use of every available nook and cranny: for example, you can use the area under the stairs as a storage or shoe closet, a bookshelf, or you could even build in a new Powder Room or Study. Use nooks between your walls to create a built in closet, open shelving or even a built in desk, complete with wall mounted shelving.
A general rule of thumb in designing for small spaces is to keep as much of the floor as clear as possible, giving the illusion of a larger room; the more floor you can see, the bigger the space appears. Use furniture that is open underneath rather than bulky; this will also make it easier to keep clean! As mentioned above, make use of any available wall space: rather than an entertainment unit, mount your TV on the wall, install floating shelves, etc.
3. Furniture Size & Proportion
In addition to using furniture that will show off your floor, do ensure that any furniture is in proportion to the space. For example, if you have a low ceiling, don’t go ahead and purchase bulky and tall sofas! Invest in a smaller sized seating option that will not clutter up the space.
We had a client who had purchased the most beautiful couches for her living room, only to find that they were just too wide, too bulky, too dark and too tall in her home. Her living room looked like it was just all couch and nothing else! She sold off this set and together, we chose a better proportioned, slightly lighter coloured set that fits in well and has created a much more open and inviting space.
4. Using Colour
If you are looking to make a space appear to be larger, the best way to go about it in regards to your colour scheme is to use lighter tones. Involve whites and neutrals in your paint and decor scheme, while also taking special note of the colour of your furniture. Darker timbers, blacks, etc. will make the room appear smaller (and do show up dust!). Rather than purchasing new furniture, you could re-purpose these items by painting them in a brighter colour. Timbers can be sanded and clear polished rather than stained dark.
That being said, you do have other options if you (like me!) love darker colour schemes! You could use a darker wall paint and pair it with a white ceiling and all white furniture. In your kitchen, create a two-toned colour scheme by introducing a darker colour or texture to one element only, whether it be on your overhead cupboards, kitchen island or a black benchtop paired with white cabinetry.
Get creative with your use of colour in smaller spaces and be strategic when introducing darker textures and colours.
Of course, natural lighting is always best however, we often don’t have much of it or sometimes none at all in smaller spaces. If you are willing to invest a bit of extra cash on this space, introduce a skylight or build in a new window if you have space (and of course, the appropriate permits!)
However, the more cost effective and practical approach is to use artificial lighting options such as ceiling and wall lights. Avoid an overly large pendant; remember to keep any hanging lights in proportion with the rest of the space and avoid hanging pendants too low. If there is just not enough space for a floor lamp, install wall lights where possible to create ambient lighting. Track lighting is another great option for smaller spaces as they allow you to direct the light to target key working zones in your space.
In general, ensure the space is well lit to avoid it feeling closed in and cave-like!
Once again, it is time for a bit of strategic thinking! When deciding on a decor scheme for your small space, remember: less is most definitely more here! Avoid cluttering up your shelves and tabletops, making for a more open and inviting space. Organise and arrange your items in way that is clean, uncluttered and takes up the least amount of space. Use decorative and functional items such as: bookends to keep you favourite books tidy, decorative trays to hold handy items you want close-by such as tissue boxes, coasters, notebooks and pens.
Use mirrors and reflective materials such as clear glass and metallics to accent your decor scheme. These surfaces will also allow light to bounce around the room, lifting an otherwise dark space.
Use patterns and bold colours sparingly – You don’t have to avoid them altogether however, using too much of them will make the room appear busy and cluttered. Instead, layer patterns and bold colours over a neutral backdrop. For example: Mix and match your boldly coloured and patterned cushions with predominately light and solid coloured fabrics, adding interest and warmth to your newly decorated small space.
This post is dedicated to our lovely new friends over at Mystereity Reviews (the best darn mystery book review blog I’ve had the pleasure of coming across!) Thanks for the idea for this post 🙂
What are your top tips for decorating small spaces? Share your ideas in the comments below!