With the right treatments, smaller spaces can be welcoming and cozy, however, if you’re living in an apartment or have a bedroom that makes you feel claustrophobic you might need to review your décor options. While there are major structural changes you can make to your home, such as adding a sunroom or extending your porch, there are some simpler options you can try that will free up available space and make your room seem bigger. Start by focusing on these five tips to make the most of what you’ve got.
Free your surfaces
Decluttering is the number one action for smaller rooms. In fact, even large spaces will look smaller if they are untidy or contain too much furniture. Your first step should be to get rid of any unnecessary bits and pieces that are crowding your room. If this is difficult because you need to have certain things to hand then you should consider clever storage solutions. For example, in a small living room use a window seat, footstool or coffee table with inbuilt storage to keep surfaces free from debris. Do the same thing in your bedroom with an ottoman or under-bed storage to save even more space.
A large room is one that often feels ‘light and airy’ and this is just the sort of atmosphere you need to create to make a smaller one feel bigger. Achieving this is easier if your room has natural daylight, and very few rooms have no windows at all. While hanging bright drapes might seem the obvious answer, too often curtains actually have the opposite effect as they can exclude daylight by obscuring parts of the glazing. Instead, opt for wooden shutters that sit outside your window frame and let in as much natural light as possible. Shutters also provide a more streamlined look and come in a range of colors to beautifully complement your décor.
When it comes to doors, consider replacing solid internal doors with glazed alternatives. That way you increase the light in your room without losing the protection your door provides. You can always opt for a partially glazed door if privacy might be an issue.
Reflect the shine
Maximizing both natural daylight and artificial light can also make your room look bigger. Choose furniture with shiny surfaces and use strategically placed mirrors to pick up and reflect light so that your small room never looks dark or gloomy. In a small living room, a mirrored wall may feel a bit excessive, but it will really make your space look bigger. Alternatively, you could go for a large framed mirror and either stand it against a wall or hang it in such a way as to make the most of natural light. You can also make good use of a side table or coffee table by adding a mirror plate or other reflective surface. In a small bedroom, give your bedside table or chest of drawers a similar treatment.
Color with care
In the same way that light opens up a space and makes it look bigger, paler colors work best in smaller rooms. Use pastel or neutral tones throughout and complement these with warmer colors on accessories, such as scatter cushions and textiles. It’s best to keep ‘busy’ patterns such as floral motifs, stripes or plaids to a minimum, as these tend to dominate a smaller space. If you can’t live without patterns at least keep them small. Pale blues and greens can be very easy on the eye in a smaller room and if your furniture and shutters are close matches to your wall colors, so much the better. This means they will blend more easily into the room, making the floor space look larger than it is.
Scale everything down
You don’t have to furnish your small room like a doll’s house, but it will definitely help to scale down your furniture and get as much as possible off the floor. For instance, in a small living space choose a modest couch rather than an oversized one and opt for elegant chairs without arms.
In a small bedroom why not fit decorative wall lights on either side of your bed instead of taking up space with bedside tables and freestanding lamps? Choose a standard double bed rather than a king-size version and select smaller items such as a slim dressing table and chest of drawers.