Houses come in all shapes and sizes. While there are several that provide more than enough living space, most others, aren’t so giving. And let’s not forget rental properties, which are even more limited in space than most small houses, yet surprisingly on the rise.
What does this mean? It means that these smaller spaces require a bit more creativity when it comes to decorating. If you live in mid-sized to small home (like myself) and are looking for ways to make the most out of your living space, this article is for you. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways you can make even the smallest square footage look and feel bigger than what it actually is. Let’s talk about what some of those are.
Make sure your furniture earns its keep
If your living space is compact, every bit of square footage is important. If you’re shopping for furniture, make sure you buy pieces that actually fit your home. Using large-scale pieces in a small-scale area will only make the rooms look crowded. When possible, bring in furniture accented with glass. Instead of that wood coffee table, consider swapping it out for a table with a glass top. Glass front cabinets and bookcases also make things appear more open and surprisingly, less cluttered.
In addition to smaller furniture pieces, consider multi-functional furniture. Multi-functional furniture is a great way to achieve ample storage without sacrificing needed space. For instance, an ottoman can be used for both sitting or resting your feet. An ottoman with hidden storage, however, would be an even better purchase, since it gives you an extra nook to hide things out of sight. Other pieces that can serve dual purposes or save space include sliding bookcases, Murphy beds, pull-out or built-in work surfaces, chairs that convert into beds, stepping stools that convert into chairs, and adjustable-height, expanding, nesting, or fold-up tables.
Choose colors carefully
Colors can make or break a space--and while you’ve probably heard that dark colors absorb light, making a room look smaller--it’s not necessarily a rule you have to abide by. Yes, lighter colors do tend to give spaces the appearance of being larger. With that said, dark colors can work in small spaces. The key? Ample lighting. Lighting, whether natural or artificial, must be present if you want to avoid your place looking as though it’s been swallowed up by dark hues.
If you do go with softer colors (neutrals), however, keep in mind that beige is not your only option (no offense to those who love beige). Neutrals are so much more than that! Creams, whites, soft grays, and even pale blues and greens can be considered neutral. If you prefer your colors to have a more obvious impact than colors that come across more as a soft whisper, go for stronger neutrals such as charcoal gray, black, or navy.
When you ground the space with a large piece of furniture in a neutral color, you are left wide open with other possibilities when it comes to color. Same goes for your walls. Add it to the space with accent pillows, throws, area rugs, window treatments, lamps, artwork, and other accessories. Color is a wonderful thing, so make sure you bring some of it into your home!
Ditch the clutter
Want to know the main thing that can easily take over a home no matter what its size? Clutter.
Once surefire way to open your space up more is by clearing out what you don’t really need. In other words, purge, purge, purge! If you dislike it, trip over it, forget to dust it, or anything else along those lines, then it can probably go.
If you can’t part with something because it’s sentimental but can’t find a legitimate reason for displaying it, tuck it away someplace safe. If your sentimental item is an heirloom piece of furniture, display it if you can find a way. Many heirloom pieces can be used in different ways than what they were originally intended for, so get creative. Maybe it can be put to use in a different room. If it needs a facelift, give it one or hire someone to do the work for you. They don’t make pieces the way they used to, so if it’s special, try to hold onto it.
Increase the lighting
Lighting is an important element of design, but it is especially crucial when it comes to small spaces. If you don’t have many windows, then you’ll need to layer in additional lighting with lamps, sconces, and overhead fixtures.
To make that light spread, use mirrors. Mirrors, when placed in the right spot, can create the illusion of additional space because they are awesome at reflecting light. Great places to hang mirrors are over fireplaces and couches, behind open shelving, and opposite windows. Don’t worry about purchasing a gigantic mirror. Instead, buy a few smaller, inexpensive ones and stagger for a unique effect.
Renovate if you can
If there’s something that you’d like to change in your home, do it. Of course, you can’t do major renos if you’re a renter, but if you’re a homeowner, consider making some minor changes that could help make your space bigger. Sometimes, just by knocking down a wall to create a more open living and dining area will make a huge difference.
Whatever you decide to do, try to enjoy these little transformations. Making the most of what you have isn’t always easy, but in regards to small space design, it doesn’t have to be difficult.
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