I have heard myself saying to several different new clients within the past 6 months-“Small can be great!” As one example, you can probably afford the very expensive back splash tile if you are using it in a smaller sized kitchen or bath remodel; and you need less furniture to furnish a smaller great room.
That said, there are tried and true tips that can give you a larger feeling space—mirrors, lighting, clutter control to name 3 top ones. A guest post about how to make small spaces feel larger is shown below. The author is from the U.K where overall spaces tend to be smaller than in the United States where the mantra seems to be-bigger is better.
How To Make A Small Living Space Feel Bigger
Whatever your current living situation, if your house, apartment or shared accommodation isn’t quite as palatial as you’d like it to be there are lots of different ways to adapt your space to make it feel bigger.
It is possible to transform the rooms you occupy at home with a few simple tricks of the eye, making them appear lighter, airier and much more spacious. Here are some ways to decorate and organise your home to give the impression of much more space than you might have.
Use Of Mirrors
Whether you place them above the mantelpiece, incorporate them into your wardrobe door or even prop them up against the wall, mirrors can dramatically alter your perception of a room and also help to reflect light, giving a greater sense of space. Entire mirrored walls are often used in bars and restaurants to make them seem twice the size they actually are, so why not emulate this at home?
(Image credit: Sam Agnew)
For maximum effect:
- opt for large mirrors
- position them opposite windows or doorways where light enters
- don’t be afraid to have more than one in the room- in fact, the more mirrors the brighter the room!
Pick A Light, Bright Colour Scheme
Dark colours, if on every wall, can have the undesired effect of making small rooms appear even smaller. To maximise every inch of available space, choose from a light colour palette of neutrals and pastels.
(Image credit: Mazzali)
There is no need to forgo the dark, bold colours that you love, as these can still look great and add character if used in small doses. Perhaps have a feature wall painted in your accent colour and pick soft furnishings to match.
Choose A Light Floor Colour
Choosing anything other than a light floor colour is certain to highlight the small size of a room by drawing the eye downwards to the exact dimensions of the floor space. Opting for a neutral colour which flows uninterrupted up to walls of a similar colour will open up the space and draw the eye up and out to the rest of the room.
Size Does Matter
Unlike mirrors, which can be as big as you like (in fact the bigger the better!), overly large paintings, ornaments, rugs and pieces of furniture dominate small spaces and serve to highlight the size of a small room. Opt for chairs and tables which aren’t too chunky, those with a lighter ‘footprint’ will take up less floor space.
The size of furniture and decorative items should be in keeping with the size of the room, so buy for the space you have rather than the space you’d like to have!
Hide The Clutter With Clever Storage
Cramming lots of paintings, pictures and ornaments into a small room will only serve to highlight how cramped everything looks. To maintain a calm, unfussy environment keep surfaces as clear as possible by storing all non-decorative items away.
(Image credit: PoshSurfside.com)
Built in storage will aid in de-cluttering and saving space. Think about incorporating:
- cabinets built in to alcoves
- wardrobes built along walls
- bench seating which contains drawers and storage space
Let There Be Light
Clever lighting can create the illusion of more space by making the most of every square foot available. If you don’t have large or south facing windows then create light with strategically placed lamps and mirrors. One large central light creates a clinical look which leaves corners and other nooks and crannies in shadow. Light such areas with up-lights, spotlights or lamps.
(Image credit: Doug)
Make use of other reflective materials, such as glass and metals, to increase light. Why not place lamps upon mirrored trays for maximum light reflection, for example?
Knock through to create an open plan living space
If the structure of your house is such that you occupy a series of small box rooms, the simplest way to transform it into a living space which feels much larger is to knock through adjoining walls.
(Image credit: Jeremy Levine)
An open plan living space increases space, adds light and unites the social spaces in your home. Being able to see how large your floor plan actually is and move around it with ease is one of the best ways to make a small space feel larger.
Adopting a less is more approach when it comes to decoration and aiming to maximise available light with neutral colours and reflective surfaces are the best ways to make small rooms appear larger.
About The Author
Hi there, my name is Loren, I love being creative with living spaces. I live in a small but very cosy apartment, I love my creature comforts and I don’t like clutter! I work at Sofasofa.co.uk, who sell comfy sofas, sofa beds and other bits and bobs.
S Interior Design loves to create what we call ‘fabric stories’ for rooms we are designing.
Referencing our prior post on Design Inspiration Boards for two guest rooms we are re-designing, here are some of the wonderful fabric stories we are working with.
I am fortunate to be working on some fun guest room design projects for a well-traveled client. Her idea for the guest room design in her spacious home is to have each of the (4) guest spaces reflect a favorite and/or meaningful place she has spent time. To help define the look and feel for the rooms, S Interior Design is creating mood boards to help her visualize the end result.
Here are 2 of those boards.
Always remember ‘A PICTURE SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS’
Are you considering doing some painting around your house or office in the coming year? Here are ideas to consider based on 2013 Color ‘discussions’ by some of the leading paint companies.
In a sentence–“Look for a lot of variety and contrast to be popular in 2013.”
Sherwin Williams, Dunn Edwards, Benjamin Moore, Behr and Pantone all have published their predictions for what the popular paint colors and combinations of colors will be in the coming year.
Benjamin Moore: Intersection– Flow, Cycle, Animate, Connect
Sherwin Williams: Opposites Attract–Midnight mystery, Honed Vitality, Vintage Moxie, High Voltage
Dunn Edwards: A New Renaissance Influences Palette and Textures–Simply Re-invented, Simply Re-newal, Simply Re-imagined and Simply Re-vival.
Pantone According to the PANTONE VIEW home + interiors 2013 book, there are nine color palettes predicted to dominate interior design and furniture trends in 2013. A mix of muted palettes serve as the new classics while rainbow-inspired colors provoke bolder style statements. Note: From the Casa Sugar Blog
Before you begin your painting, it is always a good idea to try your color choices on several walls in the room. Different walls have different levels of light reflection and the colors will look a bit different in different spaces due to the levels and types of light they will have. We recommend at least a 3′-0″ x 3′-0″ square on the wall. If the wall already has paint color on it, we also recommend priming before putting the new paint color up.
Of course S Interior Design is always available to help in the Phoenix metro area!
I have said it many times — the children always come first. When there is a design budget and prioritization needs to occur, 9 times out of 10 the design of the children’s rooms will come before the master bedroom design.
We are fortunate to live in a time where there are fabulous design options available to help us make our little one’s rooms look great. One of our new discoveries is Pink Taffy Designs. They have a great on-line children’s boutique where you can find everything from bedding to clothing for your little ones.
They are having a contest to win a set of their hand crafted wall letters. You can use the letters to spell out your child’s name, or a word of choice. They also make great gifts for new parents.
Here is the link to click on to enter the contest. Hurry though, it is only available a few more weeks.
Okay, raise your hands “How many of you have a television in your master bedroom?” If you do, do you wish it was a little less obvious? There are solutions!
Below is guest post about TV Lift systems. Options for a cabinet at the foot of your bed, drop downs from the ceiling and even in-floor automated systems are available.
On a personal note, I do not have a TV in the master bedroom, however if I did I would surely want the in-floor automated system!
Give Your Master Bedroom a Facelift with a TV Lift
Of all the rooms in your house, the master bedroom is the one space that should be devoted completely to your comfort. This area serves a single purpose: helping you rest and relax. That doesn’t just mean sleeping, listening to music, or reading a book. It can also be very soothing to lounge on a luxurious memory foam mattress and watch a favorite show before it’s time for lights out. For many of us, that’s actually part of the ritual of “winding down” as we prepare for sleep. The biggest problems with putting a TV in the master bedroom have to do with space and aesthetics. Here are three ways you can use an automated TV lift mechanism to keep your master bedroom looking serene and uncluttered.
Foot of the Bed
One favorite master bedroom project is installing a TV lift at the foot of a bed. It can go in a prefabricated TV lift cabinet or in a custom-made piece of furniture to match the headboard. If you pick a screen the correct size (between 42 and 46 inches on the diagonal), the viewing distance is just right. This is the type of setup to choose if:
- The space at the foot of the bed isn’t needed for a walkway
- You like to sit propped up in the bed while you watch TV
- You want a lift cabinet that blends in with your existing bed frame
- You want a piece of media furniture that provides storage for additional A/V components, DVDs, and more
Ceiling Drop Down
Sometimes, adding another piece of furniture can really throw an entire room off-balance. That’s OK; you don’t need a cabinet to install a TV lift. The lift can be concealed in the ceiling to drop down at the push of a button. This is a much more attractive option than having a wall mount looming over the bed. No one will even know it’s there until the lift is activated. A drop down mechanism is ideal if:
- You don’t want a big entertainment center taking up floor space
- You don’t want to block French doors or a picture window with a view
- You like to recline far back with your head tilted slightly up as you watch TV
Under Floor Lift
This is one of the least expected places to hide a TV lift, but it can be a great way to keep your bedroom décor looking streamlined. An under floor lift will work with almost any type of floor covering since the lid floats up with the TV. It blends particularly well with hardwood floors since the grooves in the wood flooring hide the outline of the lid easily. This is the style to choose if:
- You want to install a very large, heavy TV that isn’t suitable for a ceiling mount
- Your bedroom faces a wall where there isn’t generally any foot traffic
- You like to watch TV from a longer viewing distance
With so many great options for installing a TV tastefully in a master bedroom, we bet you won’t rest until you have a TV lift to call your own!
Does anyone recall the television commercial where a successful looking couple is being led upstairs in an architectural firm while the principle goes on and on about their accolades? They get to the office to discuss detail he asks them “And what can I do for you?” and the wife pulls out a faucet from Moen (?) and says
“Design A House Around This”
As an interior designer I am often faced with a similar challenge–there is often existing furniture, artwork, flooring that needs to be a focal part of a room design. I am here to tell you, that challenge is addressable. A different design challenge is when there is NOTHING to start with, literally a blank slate. That is when S Interior Design
begins a process to uncover what the individual client’s functional needs and aesthetic desires and style preferences are. Some clients are eager to dive in and uncover their design preferences, others need a bit of prodding. We do our best to make it fun, not painful……sometimes there is a reluctant spouse that needs extra convincing.
We have repeatedly said a good design will come from a good design plan. Interior Design is not random shopping trips to stumble upon the right furnishings. It must start with a solid design plan
Here is a design challenge for you–Design a Room Around This (Pillow). Do you get inspiration from the colors? The geometry? The style ?
Wood flooring is more popular than ever. In Arizona, I have more clients requesting wood flooring over tiles which were the prior go to flooring option for most. There are so many options not only in how the wood floors look, but how they are constructed and it can get a bit confusing . S Interior Design thinks that this guest posting will help take away some of that confusion. If you love the look of the wood floor, but your budget doesn’t allow for that, there are also some good alternatives available; wood look laminates (have come sooo far!) and even tile that emulates wood planks.
Until just a few years ago your options when fitting wood flooring were very straightforward. Equally they were also limiting, as wood in its natural form does not fit outdoors nor does it fit well in areas that experience humid and damp conditions such as the kitchen, bathroom and basement. So what has changes and what are your options nowadays?
Types of Wood Flooring: Today you can choose between two types of wood flooring technology, each offering its pros as well as cons. The two are engineered wood and solid wood.
Engineered Wood Flooring – Each planks is made of three syntactic materials and a layer of solid wood. The use of solid wood on the top means that they look exactly like traditional wood flooring, however the use of syntactic materials underneath means that engineer type does not inherit the limitations of wood.
Typical Uses – If you intend to fit wood flooring in a potentially humid area such the bathroom, your only safe option is engineered wood. If you intend to fit the floor yourself, it is possible to fit these planks in a floating installation so glues, nails and staples are not required and it therefore makes engineered easier to fit.
Solid Wood Flooring – Each planks is made from complete natural wood. These are the traditional types that until a few years ago were also your one and only option.
Typical Uses – If longevity and durability are an issue, such as in commercial properties, solid wood offers a service life potential of 100 years. Additionally, the surface can be sanded and coated again every few years thereby making the floor look brand spankin new.
Grades Of Wood: Both solid and engineered types are made from solid wood. Made completely from solid wood in the case of solid floors or as a top layer in the case of engineered floors. The solid wood is divided into levels of grade. It is an indication to the visual side of the plank, nothing to do with quality. Your choice of one grade over the other depends on your design taste and budget, as the higher grades will cost slightly more.
Prime grade – Prime grade wood flooring are cut from the middle of the tree which means that the floorboard will have the least amount of colour variations between the planks and knots are very few in between.
Select grade – Select grade wood flooring are cut from the second ring from within the core of the tree which means that the floorboards will show some colour variations between the plank and some knots can be expected.
Natural grade – Natural grade will feature sapwood and black knots of up to 30cm in size. Compared to the previous two grades, price difference will become more substantial making this grade very popular when fitting wood floors on a tight budget.
Rustic grade – Floorboards will feature sapwood and black knots of 35cm. There might be unlimited colour variation between the floorboards. Rustic is the most affordable option.
Colours Of Wood Flooring – Another changing aspect of wood flooring are the colours of the planks. In the past the species of wood (e.g. Pine, Walnut, Oak etc) would have determined the colour of the plank. While this is still true, flooring technology has allowed for special colours to cover the planks and thereby meet the precise shade to compliment your interior. Examples of bespoke colour include:
It is always a good idea to consult with professional interior designers prior to fitting wood flooring. These options and considerations make wood flooring less straightforward than it used to be. However, it also means that wood can fit more interiors than ever before as well as suitable across more areas in your home or commercial property.
Guide and images by Oak Flooring company Wood and Beyond. London based company of solid oak flooring, engineered, decking and worktops. Its woods are FSC sourced (stands for Forest Stewardship Council).