Lots of people live in a small home, a small room, or just a small space. Some people live in a small apartment because that's all they can afford, and they're grateful for it.
Some people live in a small apartment or home because they're tired of taking care of a larger place and want to "downsize."
Others just don't want a large home. Small is beautiful! And easy, and practical, too!
But no matter what your reason for living in a small space, you'll undoubtedly have to make some compromises in your decorating, get really organized, and make some adjustments to your lifestyle in order to make everything fit without feeling cramped.
If you're looking for a cozy, intimate space, you're in luck. By using soft, snugly upholstered pieces, dark, warm tones, and dramatic lighting, your tiny corner can become a wonderful private space.
But if you really feel the need to stretch out in your small space, you can make some decorating changes to make the area look and feel larger without moving any walls! With color, furniture arranging, and interesting lighting, your space won't feel so cramped.
- Clear Out the Clutter. There's nothing that makes a small space feel cramped more than having too much stuff. Work out ways to get collections out of view, organized behind doors, table skirts, or on shelves. With things neatly arranged and out of sight, the space that is in view will feel orderly and open.
- Open the Way. With furniture and accessories blocking the view into a room and out to open spaces, a room will look cramped. By moving furniture out and away from walkways, you'll open up the space and make it feel larger. You can also choose short pieces of furniture like an ottoman, an armless, open chair, or a low table, and place large, tall pieces along a wall rather than out in the open space. If you can see the floor, the room will look larger.
- Chooser Soft, Light Hues. Whereas dark, warm colors make a space feel cozy and intimate, light, cool colors make a space feel open and airy. For optimum effect, select soft tones of blues and greens.
- Use a Monochromatic Color Scheme. Choose colors that are in the same color family, and use tone-on-tone woven upholstery fabrics, textured wall finishes, delicate tonal drapery fabrics. Cool colors and delicate warm colors on most surfaces give the room a more open look.
- Coordinate Wall and Furniture Colors. Contrasting colors tend to break up a space. Pieces of furniture colored to match the wall color are less interrupting and tend to blend with the space.
- Let in the Light. Any room will look larger if it's well-lit, either by natural light or artificial lighting. Get rid of heavy draperies, and open up the windows to let the light of the outdoors into the space. Add more lamps or install track lighting or recessed lighting.
- See-Through Space. By using materials that you can see through, anything beyond will appear farther away. For example, in a tiny bathroom, get rid of an opaque glass shower enclosure and substitute a clear, frameless one. The room is the same size but looks bigger. Now we can see all the way (an extra 3 feet) to the wall at the back of the shower.
You can also use glass or lucite for tabletops. With a sturdy base of wood, stone, or metal, the space around the table will open up the view beyond.
- Reflective Surfaces. You might not like the look of a mirrored wall, but you have to admit that it always makes a room look larger. Instead, use a large, framed mirror on a wall, or stand an oversized, framed mirror against a wall. You'll get the same room-enlarging effect as a mirrored wall but with more style. The space and the light will be reflected for a more open feeling. Top a coffee table or side table with a piece of beveled plate mirror, or have a chest of drawers or bureau covered with custom-cut and installed mirrors.
- Believe It or Not, Bigger Is Better! Use a few large, simple pieces of furniture or accessories in place of several smaller pieces which would make a small space look cluttered. With open space and large blocks of color, the room will appear to be more calm and comfortable.
- Keep the Upholstery Plain. Select plain-colored upholstery for furniture instead of bold plaids, stripes, or prints. Use texture for interest, and stick to neutral tones if you can.
- Airy, Light Fabrics. Sheer fabrics allow light to pass through window treatments, bed skirts, table covers, and furniture slipcovers. If you want something other than plain colors, find soft floral vines or simple stripes to keep the look simple.