Living in a small space doesn’t mean you can’t show off your style. Similar to decorating a big house, it requires unifying the interior and knowing what works well together. Whether you’re trying to personalise your student room, studio apartment, or tiny home, an effort is needed. Luckily, we’re here to help with these 8 space-enhancing tips.
Use Mirrors to Create Depth
Mirrors are practical household objects, but they can also have a decorative purpose. They create the illusion of more space, make a room brighter, increase its appeal and balance its energy.
Take the following ideas as starting points and play around until you’re satisfied with the results:
- Make a narrow hallway look more spacious. Place identical mirrors alongside the hallway walls to make it look broader.
- Brighten up a room. Hang mirrors across from windows so they’ll reflect natural light or arrange them to reflect some source of artificial light.
- Add a little drama to the room. An over-scale mirror with an ornate, golden frame hung vertically can work as a faux window, making the room look more spacious.
- Install a mirror on a sliding closet door. Preferably, place it across from a window. This way, you’ll incorporate two pieces of furniture into one and create a greater sense of openness.
- Hang a mirror horizontally. Instead of the usual vertical placement, it’ll give the room movement and uniqueness. It’ll accentuate the shapes of the other furniture by creating contrast.
- Decorate a dead-end hallway. Hanging a mirror on the wall of a dead-end corridor adds depth and reflects views and light, turning a static space into a dynamic focal point.
Good design is a matter of visual trickery, and mirrors are the perfect medium to achieve that. However, avoid placing them where they reflect less desirable items or areas, such as a cluttered desk or a plain couch.
Get Rid of Clutter
Often, when you cram all your possessions into a small living space, it’ll feel anything but cosy and restful. Look for storage spots to hide them. This can be anything from shelving, built-in storage cabinets, sliding doors or bookcases. Expand your thinking beyond places you’d typically think of. For example, install a storage space under your bedding. Many creative storage options also serve as beautiful decor pieces.
Keep larger furniture items on the edges of the rooms. Place bigger items such as bookcases and couches against the walls instead of in the middle of the room.
Do a little inventory-taking. Get rid of the belongings that don’t serve a purpose – either because they’re impractical or don’t bring you joy anymore. Otherwise, you risk overcrowding your living space.
Be mindful and leave a lot of open space for movement. This applies to all visible areas, including the small gaps between furniture pieces. A nook or a corner that you’d normally leave empty can be an additional functionality.
Let More Light In
A small living space can open up with the appropriate amount of lighting. Skip the blackout blinds and let natural light in, or use an additional source to bring warmth to the space. Enhance the effect by including mirrors to reflect it. If you don’t have room for floor or table lamps, place them on spots that don’t take up primal space. Think of string lights, wall sconces and pendant lights.
Curtains stop the eye from taking in the outside view and add clutter. Eliminate them and keep the space simple. If you value privacy, consider lightweight mesh or cloth blinds. Install a bar that goes beyond the window frame so you can fully expose the outside view.
Lighting can make your room feel brighter and cosier at night as well. Lots of lamp and wall lights combined with pendant lights will do the trick. Choose options that allow you to direct the light for different tasks, such as reading and writing. Having properly working light fixtures up and down a wall will make the space look taller.
Invest in Furniture with Legs
Legs on furniture make a small space feel larger. If it’s rooted to the ground, you can’t use the area under it. Your eyes won’t travel beyond the surface of the piece. Couches, beds, bookshelves, dining tables and chairs on legs create a sense of openness. Go for a loft bed in your bedroom to create additional space below it. The butterfly chair is a perfect piece of “floating” furniture for that purpose.
Consider Including Multi-purpose or Folding Furniture
Folding furniture is the ideal fit for a small living space. There are desks, dining tables and king-size beds in various styles that can be easily put away when not in use. Besides folding furniture, some pieces have multiple functions, such as desks that can turn into tables and couches. They save space and money, and there isn’t a shortage of options on the market.
Multi-purpose and folding furniture allow you to make maximum use of your living space. It’s widespread for people with small living spaces to replace a traditional bed with a pullout sofa or a daybed that also serves as a couch. Sofas and ottomans with built-in storage space can help you put away clutter.
Use Vertical and Horizontal Space to a Maximum
Tricking the eye into perceiving that a small space is bigger can be done with light and mirrors. But to enhance their effect, use the vertical and horizontal space to a maximum.
- Don’t neglect the potential of your walls. Make maximum use of your room’s vertical space by experimenting with taller items like bookcases and shelves affixed to the walls. They’ll add a lot of storage space.
- Installing the drapes’ rod about 5cm below the ceiling or the crown moulding. It’ll add the illusion of extra height.
- Don’t ignore the horizontal space either. You can ditch the rugs and leave the floor open, but if you like them, think big. Decorate with a large one to give your living space a sense of grandeur.
- Keep the space clean and symmetrical. To create a sense of roominess, leave a little space between each piece of furniture and the walls. This will allow your eye to travel through the room in an orderly fashion, making it feel larger. Vertical and horizontal stripes will create a sense of symmetry. Vertical stripes make a room feel taller, while horizontal make it seem wider.
Employing even just one element to emphasise a room’s vertical or horizontal space will increase the sense of openness and enhance a feeling of movement.
Choose Your Colour Palette Wisely
When decorating a small living space, work within a limited colour palette. A cohesive colour scheme will make the room look larger because it unifies it into a whole.
There are several formulas for creating colour harmony. Whichever one you use, choose one primary colour and a few others as accents. Stick to colours that complement each other.
For a small room, it’s always better to start with a light base colour. One colour combined with its varying shades will make the room feel airy. Although dark colour schemes are trendy, they’re more suitable for larger spaces. In small rooms, they create a suffocating feeling. Use bold colours primarily as accents and leave the base to naturals, so the room doesn’t get overwhelming.
If you’re not a fan of bold colours and prefer to keep it simple, white everything out. White has reflective qualities, opens up a room and makes it feel brighter and calmer. In small spaces that can quickly become cluttered, white helps simplify it. Paint the wall and ceiling the same shade of white to enhance a peaceful, cloud-like feeling. That’ll make the ceiling feel higher because the boundaries between it and the walls blur, allowing your eye to travel up freely.
Be Mindful of Patterns and Textures
Similar to the colour palette, avoid busy patterns and textures. If you’ve painted the walls white, go for textures that don’t take up visual space to make the room feel warmer. If you decorate with rugs, go for light-coloured options that complement the wall paint. These can be fluffy rugs, wooden pieces, limed floorboards or velvet cushions.
Choose plain and monochromatic furniture to make the space feel less busy and chaotic. Plain upholstery accentuates the clean lines of other furniture pieces and makes the room feel clean and orderly.
Stick to using paint instead of wallpapers. Consider putting it only on one accent wall if you want a print wallpaper.
When decorating a small living space, the bottom line is that you have to be strict with yourself and conscious of everything that goes into it. The ultimate goal is to take as much advantage of the space as possible. However, no interior design rule is set in stone, so the tips above should only be starting points. Work with your intuition and don’t include anything that doesn’t look right to you.