Jun 9, 2011

Small space design. Five easy tips to use today.

We all want to maximize our spaces so we can be comfortable yet cozy.  Here are five ideas for small rooms.

1) Downscale the furniture.  Rather than purchasing a large sectional, opt for a smaller loveseat and armless chairs. You will have more opportunity to arrange the room well, and the smaller scale will keep the space open. If you can't buy new, try swapping smaller pieces from other rooms to use in a tight space. When you re-purpose furniture it gives you pleasure and often improved function. Dual-duty pieces like these storage ottomans can  be used as a table, seat, footrest and hold daily newspapers. The chest holds platters and is a great place to add extra table lamps and accessories.

2) Use color.  You may have been drilled with the idea that white makes a room larger.  True and false. You can use color as an accent - even on a wall - and keep a small room feeling larger. A great way to add bold color is inside shelving, as a throw on a sofa, in accessories that are grouped together, and on the floor as area rugs. When a room is monochromatic - beige, white, etc.. - the use of color adds drama, a focal point, and allows the eye to move to the color and away from elements that make it seem small. 

3) Add light.  An easy favorite solution.  Mirrors that reflect natural light are wonderful. You can use a mirror as a 'window'. If there isn't a window to reflect, add a table lamp or pendant in front of your mirror, to double the light. You can brighten a dark corner with an uplight behind a piece of furniture, and accent dark shelves with LED rope lights, pucks and even clip on  fixtures. Using LED will keep the energy use down yet add focal points of light. Changing the shades and globes on fixtures can help add light if they are dingy or dark.

4) Use storage wisely.  If you have an 8' x 8' living room, using many tables and chests will crowd the room and use floor space. Instead, use shelves to store items, place lamps on, even hang art from.  In spaces that can tolerate larger pieces, use armoires to hide work spaces like desks and televisions, benches to do double-duty as storage centers and seating, and even chests to hold games, nick-knacks and items you need but can reach for. This bench is a seat, a storage container for platters and vases and a room divider in this small condo.

5) Hide and clean it.  While out of sight is definitely out of mind, it can create a feeling of peace and relaxation.  For items that you DON"T need daily ...store them.  Even in a kitchen or laundry room that you may not use daily, cover the appliances with flipper doors for a sleek look.   Under-bed storage for extra items is easy and accessible.  Keep things you do need in containers, boxes, etc...that are easy to access and look great with your decor.  A great wicker box looks good on the dining table, and can store mail, a laptop, mail and much more.  Clean windows do let in lots of light as do sparkling glass globes on light fixtures! Dust free surfaces allow them to reflect the light.