Ah yes, an age old question of design and a problem will all face at one point. Small spaces can be a real design challenge but if done right, can be some of the most interesting and loved parts of your design. Here are a few tricks I always use when faced with this challenge that I’ve learned over the years. Hopefully this helps you spark some brilliant ideas of your own!
Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors:
This is a classic, age old trick most of us are aware but I feel like it still goes so underused. There’s also plenty of mirror tips and tricks many people don’t think of! When dealing with a small space, mirrors make it look like you actually have more open floor space available and reflect light around the space for a more inviting look. Sometimes, it can be awkward to just randomly hang mirrors, however, depending on the space. You don’t have to pick the obvious spaces. For example, in my latest design, my penthouse in Vegas, I covered the pillars with mirrored tile and included oversized floor mirrors adjacent. The space looks bigger but the mirror trick isn’t obvious or forced. And to be honest, these pillared tiles just look awesome!
Tricky wall treatments:
You often don’t think of how big of an impact wall treatment color and pattern play into the overall effect of a room until later. Darker colors make a small space look smaller, of course. But there’s much more to it than that! I love using oversized patterned wall papers to give the illusion of a larger space. It also eliminates the need for art so you save a little space. The room ends up looking interesting but less cluttered. Trying to squeeze too much decor into a small space makes it look smaller. Using wallpaper to complete the look is the perfect alternative. You could go for oversized florals of which there are an abundance of or you can go use other large patterns like the line below if that’s not your look.
Maximize open floor space:
You need to get strategic with furniture and functionality in a small space to achieve all your goals. It’s the worst to overcrowd a small space with too much furniture or accessories. Take advantage of pieces that allow functionality without taking up floor space. Some examples are folding down tables, hanging chairs, and pieces that fold in on themselves. Try to keep as much floor space open as possible and don’t create too much of a maze to move around or the space loses all it’s functionality and looks tiny.
Lighting will make or break:
One of the biggest small space crimes you can commit is not enough or not the right kind of lighting. I find that hidden, surround, and spot lighting work wonders for small spaces. Try to keep light sources hidden and definitely not on the floor such as floor lamps; these take up too much space. I love surround lighting in a small space because it helps illuminate the entire space and make it seem more open. Hanging light is always a plus for small spaces because it doesn’t take up any floor space. It also makes a small room look more grand with overhead chandeliers or lanterns. Spot lighting can be used to strategically highlight certain features like mirrors and add a hint of luxury to a small space.
Use lines to your advantage:
A trick I rarely see used is utilizing lines and direction to make a space seem bigger. You should always take into consideration how the visitor’s eye is being guided throughout the space. For example, if you have a small narrow room, try to make it look longer by keep open floor space in the middle, mirrors for extra width and decor elements to draw eyes through the room. Try not to cut off space with furniture.
I hope these suggestions help you in your next small space design challenge! Stay tuned for more tips and tricks.