Yesterday I shared some designer tips to help conquer the small room blues. I have a few more great ideas to share today:
Small Rooms Made Big
1. Use Large Scale Furnishings. This might be counter intuitive, but it works. In a family room use a sectional instead of sofa and 2 chairs or in a bedroom, use a large focal armoire or an overscale bed. One large item will dominate the room and give the impression of room. It’s kind of along the lines of clutter – the more pieces of furniture, the more full and crowded and small the room appears.
This modern overscaled bed reaches for the ceiling but doesn’t clutter the space with curtains or flounces on the bed. Keeping the large bed simple really makes a statement. Also notice the very simple drapery treatment – but it’s not totally plain; there are discreet stripes near the bottom to give them interest.
2. Keep Window Treatments Simple. Save the draping, extra trims and flounces for a larger room. In a small room, keep drapery profiles simple and clean like Roman shades (or any woven bamboo or similar shades), simple panels, etc. If you don’t have privacy or light control issues, consider leaving them naked so maximum light floods the room. In addition to simple treatments, use lighter weight fabrics, sheers or open weave fabrics to keep the feeling in the room airy and light.
2a. Take Draperies to the Ceiling. As long as I’m thinking about window treatments, consider taking the treatment up to the ceiling – it gives the impression of a higher ceiling and more volume to the room. Standard window treatments are 84″ and ceiling heights are more like 96+”. Give standard draperies a custom look by adding a contrasting or coordinating band of fabric at the top or bottom. Even if you don’t sew, this is an easy project using iron-on fusible webbing from any sewing department.
3. Use Multi-Purpose Furniture. When space is at a premium, every piece of furniture needs to function at its peak. Look for ottomans that have storage; use stacking tables that can separate when you entertain to give you more places to set food and drinks; place ottomans under a console table and bring out when you need extra seating; buy dining tables where the extra leaves store within the table; if you need a coffee table, look for one that offers storage or seating in addition to a table top.
A table surface can serve as a desk, a dining table or a game table and if it has a drop leaf that’s even better.
4. Lots of Legs. Furniture with legs is less bulky than furniture that sits solidly on the floor. Leggy chairs, sofas and tables allow the eye to see through the room thereby increasing the open feeling. By contrast, chests and skirted upholstery pieces are chunky and visually space consuming. I should caution you however, that a room entirely filled with leggy pieces can feel a little spindly and choppy, so break it up with at least one grounded piece.
This airy room feels even bigger due to the light colors, open legged furniture (broken up nicely with the skirted chair), uninterrupted tile flooring, ethereal draperies and of course, large expanse of windows. Even if you don’t have the window wall, you can replicate some of the other elements.
5. Think Vertically. Maximize all the vertical space you have in the room. Stack art, use a bookcase and remember to add accessories on top of it, place floating shelves on the wall. Vertical elements will draw the eyes up to the ceiling, making the room feel larger.
White cabinetry to the ceiling and keeping the shelf decorations simple opens up this room. The glass coffee table takes up no visible space on the light colored carpet, so the room grows larger. Add a nice big mirror over the fireplace and you’ve hit the bonus round with space-making ideas.
6. Use Glass. Glass is transparent and when you can see through things in the room, the room feels bigger. Use glass table tops and glass shelves to visually expand a space.
These small glass and mirror tables are perfect for a small room. Notice the simple drapery treatment taken up to the ceiling and light palette of colors to further visually expand the room.
7. Bonus Tip: In rooms that have a TV, get the TV out of the bulky armoire and hang it on the wall. Instant space.