You don’t have to live in a cramped studio apartment to appreciate the value of small-space decorating—even if you’re fortunate enough to have decent-size rooms, it doesn’t hurt to incorporate a few space-saving techniques. Here are some of my favorites:
Go light with color. Light, subdued hues make a space seem larger while darker, heavier colors can weigh a room down. Create a soft, monochromatic color scheme to give the illusion of more space. This doesn’t mean your rooms have to be boring beige—try soft hues of green or yellow instead. Go ahead and throw in touches of darker or more vibrant colors too on smaller furnishings, artwork, and accessories.
Add illumination. A well-lit room appears larger than one that’s lacking light. Supplement overhead illumination with floor and table lamps. Consider adding easy-to-install track lighting to the ceiling. And take advantage of accent lighting too—directing light upward at a specific piece of artwork or adding cove lighting near the ceiling is a nice decorative touch.
Use multifunctional furnishings. I think the storage cubes, above, are the epitome of multifunctional—as a pair they make a cool coffee table, plus they provide additional seating when needed, feature handy trays for serving beverages, and can be used to store blankets, games, you name it. (Of course, I may be a little biased because they’re mine.) A sleeper sofa is a great invention too—it provides super seating by day and a bed for guests at night.
Keep furniture to scale. In small rooms, opt for scaled-down furnishings such as open-back chairs, low tables, and simple love seats rather than large, overstuffed pieces.
Arrange it well. Create intimate seating arrangements out of the way of traffic flow. Angle furnishings in a triangle or arrange them around an attractive rug to create a “furniture island.”
Avoid overwhelming patterns. Pick one focal-point pattern or fabric and keep the rest simple. Follow this rule: pick smaller patterns on large furnishings, medium patterns on medium furnishings, and large patterns on small items such as pillows. Or forgo patterns altogether and opt for textured upholstery, fabrics, and wall treatments instead.
Look up. Draw eyes upward and create the appearance of height by painting or wallpapering vertical stripes on walls, hanging artwork higher than eye level, or adding white crown molding to draw attention to where your walls and ceiling meet.
Expand your space with glass and mirrors. Here’s how.
Flaunt your views. Take advantage of great views by carefully selecting window treatments that add style without overwhelming your windows. Try these quick and easy ideas.
Clear the clutter. Select a few key decorative pieces and artful accents to showcase on shelves and tabletops. Store what you can’t part with under the bed and in closets. Then save, toss, or donate the rest.
For a bit more inspiration, check out this cool apartment that was featured in Real Life Decorating magazine. And you must check out this pink and green space—even if it’s too over the top for you, the interview includes some great decorating ideas.
The Home Know-It-All