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Solutions for Small Spaces

November 2, 2010

We expect a lot from our homes, not only do they provide us with shelter and somewhere to sleep, we also need them to provide us with space to cook, eat, wash, work, relax and bring up a family. For many of us space in the home is of a premium – we just can’t get enough of it. Sometimes the only solution is to move house or to extend, but if neither of those 2 options are available all is not lost. Its important to remember that quality of space has very little to do with the actual room size – it is what you do with the space that makes the difference. Simply working with what we already have, with the right use of colour, layout, storage and lighting we can transform a space to take on a surprisingly larger and more airy feel.

Here are my top 10 interior design tips which you can employ to help improve spatial quality and make your rooms look and feel larger without any structural alteration at all!

1. Clear Out the Clutter
· By re-organising your storage you can discover space you forgot you ever had. An exercise in ’de-cluttering’ can be extremely liberating and once you have this under control the space that is in view will begin to feel more orderly and open.
· Incorporate concealed storage into your room plan. Open shelving is great for displaying decorative touches but avoid using it for bulk storage in small rooms, in this case cupboards or drawers are the better option. Look for opportunities to use built-in storage i.e. in alcoves, under window seats, under stairs, etc

2. Use a Monochromatic or Harmonious Colour Scheme
· Choosing soft tones of one colour will create the greatest feeling of space, if you prefer extend this to two or three harmonising colours, again in soft tones.
· Whereas dark, warm colours make a space feel cosy and intimate cool colours and delicate warm colours will give the room a more open look. The scheme can be brought to life with small amounts of accent colour.

3. Avoid busy, bold patterns
· Select plain finishes or small prints rather than large bold patterns. Big, bold designs work better in larger rooms

4. Coordinate Wall and Furniture Colours
· Contrasting colours tend to break up a space. Colour matching your furniture and wall coverings, or using a colour of a similar tonal quality, will add to the feeling of spaciousness.
· Use the same, or at least very similar, flooring in adjoining spaces in order to blur the boundary of the room when the doors are open.

5. Introduce a Variety of Textures & Surfaces
· Different textures, within the same colour palette, will react differently to light creating added visual interest. Glossy and satin finishes will reflect light making objects appear more distant.
· Always collect samples of the finishes you intend to use and look at them in the room before making the decision to purchase – come back to them at different times of the day to see them in different light, as this will make a big difference to how they appear.

6. Let in the Light
· Any room will look larger if it’s well lit. Replace dark heavy, curtains and ensure your curtain pole or track extends sufficiently to allow the curtains to hang in line with the window recess to open up the window space and let natural light flood in.
· Avoid having any dark, gloomy corners by adding lamps or accent lighting to bring these to life.
· Fully or half glazed doors are a great way to ‘borrow’ light from an adjacent room, while the view through will increase the feeling of space.

7. Incorporate Reflective Surfaces

· 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 far more style. The space and the light will be reflected resulting instantly in a more open feeling, doubling the perceived space.
· If mirrored furniture is too extreme try adding a piece of toughened and bevelled mirrored glass to a coffee table or side table, or have a chest of drawers or unit covered with custom-cut toughened mirrored glass.
· Position mirrors in recesses to draw the light into them.
· Swap existing light shades for chandelier style fittings with glass droplets to catch the light beautifully.

8. See-through Space
· By using materials that you can see through, anything beyond will appear farther away. For a tiny bathroom consider a clear, frameless shower screen rather than a curtain or opaque screen. For a small dining room consider a glass topped table.
· Furniture on legs, allowing the floor to be seen, also helps to open up the space.

9. Consider the Scale
· Oversized pieces of furniture will only add to the feeling of limited space – if possible select items of an appropriate scale for a small room.

10. Re-arrange the Layout
· Do not allow furniture and accessories to block the view into a small room, or block the view out to open spaces. By moving furniture out and away from walkways, you’ll open up the room and, if you can see the floor, the area will look & feel more spacious.

By following some of these simple rules your existing small space can take on a whole new appeal, feeling lighter, brighter and larger than you ever imagined possible.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 13, 2010 22:52

    nice post, and thanks a lot for all the idea that you did share with us.

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