A couple weeks ago Cindy gave 10 excellent ideas for making a small room seem bigger. (you can read the 2 posts here and here) Since so many of us are plagued with small rooms that need to hold all our stuff AND serve multiple functions, I thought I’d share a few more suggestions.
5 VIP Small Room Tips
Maximize the Vertical: Emphasize the height of the room (even if it’s only 8′) and minimize the narrowness by using tall, shallow bookcases, shelving over doorways or windows and all vertical space in your closets and cabinets for storage.
Most headboards take 8-12″ of depth from the wall. Use a 12″ deep bookcase for a headboard thereby giving yourself more storage instead of just a pretty (and useless) headboard. The bookcase could also take the place of nightstands if room is really tight.
Take bookcases all the way to the ceiling and use for book storage as here, or to showcase a favorite collection. You might add doors on lower shelves and use for hidden storage as well. This room also illustrates the next small room technique which is to create functional spaces.
Multi-functional Spaces: When you need a room to serve more than one function, use your creativity to make as many pieces as possible have multiple functions. Cindy touched on this topic as well and it’s worth mentioning again. The dining room above doubles as a library or unexpected place to store your favorite books.
Blur Lines Between Spaces: Keep your color palette simple by using only a few colors, usually in a lighter shade. Few colors and low contrast (difference between dark and light shades) create fewer places to stop your eye from traveling around the room thereby making it seem larger. Define spaces gently with accent walls that are in the same color family but just a shade or two different from the adjacent walls (only one or two steps on the color chip). The judicious use of pattern to connect spaces that are open to each other will also expand and connect both spaces.
Overstuffed: Avoid extra large, overstuffed seating. As Cindy mentioned, you don’t want to fill your room up with a bunch of small pieces – that makes it seem even smaller. However, you don’t want to overwhelm the space with a big chunky piece either – it’s a delicate balance. You want to have adequate space to sit and walk around the pieces of furniture so be sure to measure carefully before purchasing.
Include Eye-catching Furnishings: One ornate chair, mirror frame or headboard will become all the more special when contrasted with simple furniture lines. Simple square or gently curved furniture shapes allow the eye to keep moving, expanding your space. The more often the eye is forced to stop, the smaller the space will feel. I am NOT saying to make your room plain, neutral colored or boring! I’m saying you should choose a few beautiful standout furnishings or accessories and let them shine rather than trying to fill the space with everything you love.
The eye-catching piece doesn’t necessarily have to wall art – it the room above it’s this original, unexpected coffee table. It’s a conversation piece, functional, appropriately scaled to the sofas so makes the perfect addition to a small room.
Use Built-ins: While built-ins might not allow you alot of flexibility in moving things around, they do allow you to maximize the available space by tucking into nooks and crannies. If you’re not a carpenter, shop carefully for standard pieces that can be stacked or combined for the needed results.
This child’s bedroom uses built-ins that will grow with the child and the addition of open shelves will act as a nightstand, eliminating the need for another piece of furniture.
This narrow cabinet is painted the same color as the wall and has no visible hardware so it fades away and it doesn’t reach the floor, maximizing the visual floor space.
A final room photo illustrating many of the small room tips Cindy and I have shared. How many can you identify? Here’s what I see: the use of light colors on the walls and ceiling to visually expand the space; the use of strong art as the eye-catching furnishing since the sofa & chairs are fairly neutral; the exposure of legs on the furniture so the floor isn’t obscured; a glass top on the oversize coffee table (another unexpected touch) keeps it from overwhelming the space; the use of a floor lamp which doesn’t require end tables.
Learn to Love Small
Small can be inviting and cozy. It can be charming and filled with personality. It can also be very challenging to decorate. Hopefully the tips Cindy and I have shared the last couple weeks will help you transform your small room into a more liveable, enjoyable one. Do you have a favorite ‘small-room’ decorating tip that’s worked for you? Do you have a particular problem that our community of readers might be able to help with? Leave us a comment.
Be sure to check back tomorrow when I’ll be sharing some creative storage solutions for small spaces. If you haven’t subscribed yet, now would be the perfect time. Just fill in the box at the top of the sidebar and you won’t miss any of our articles.