Small space decorating is a challenge no matter what size of home you have. Home decorating always seems to involve at least one small room or area.
There are many things you can do to make your small spaces appear bigger, and also make more practical use of the space available. I'll show you how you can do this using the hints and tips you'll see further down on this page.
You can use the ideas you'll find here for any part of your home.
- By knowing how color affects us you can make rooms look bigger.
- By using the available space wisely you can make the room functional.
Make the most of your color
Use cool, receding colors such as pale greens and blues. (See the section on warm colors for more information.) This will have the optical effect of 'pushing out' the walls and ceiling.
Beware of pure whites, because they can look clinical and cold. Use off-whites which still have the effect of receding, but at the same time are warmer.
If you use pale colors, make sure you use a range of tones and textures. If you don't, your color scheme will lack interest.
If your ceiling is low, paint it white or a pale cream. This will make it appear higher and open out the room.
If your ceiling is quite high for the room size, use a deeper color. This will make the ceiling seem lower and more in proportion.
If your room seems small and enclosed, paint a horizontal band of color from the baseboard up to chair rail height. (For some countries read that as 'skirting board up to dado rail'.) This will make your room seem wider. If the room is tall as well, you can use this color on the ceiling (see previous section).
Another way to go about small space decorating is to take a slightly darker color up to picture rail height, then a band of a paler shade up to the ceiling, with the ceiling painted in a traditional off-white. This will make the room appear bigger in all directions.
If your walls are not very high, use vertical stripes to give the impression of height. You can either paint these on, or use a striped wallpaper.
How you treat your walls has a major impact on small space decorating.
Go for pale colors, to make the floor space appear bigger, and keep all the floor in the same material. So don't have a wood or carpeted floor with a smaller rug on it.
Pale carpet is good, as is pale wood or tiles. If you want to use wood boards or wood effects, go for narrow boards. These will make the room appear bigger than if you use wide boards.
Make the most of your furniture
Sofas and chairs
Sofas and chairs which are raised on legs help with small space decorating. Because you can see part of the way under them, they give a sense of space and light as you see the floor stretching away beneath them.
Don't use furniture which has wide arms or deep backs. They may look very comfortable in the showroom, but they'll take up a lot of space. Well designed furniture with thinner arms and backs can be just as comfortable and will take up far less of your valuable space.
Tip - use glass or Perspex tables whenever possible. Because you can see through them, they don't seem to take up as much space.
If you have a coffee table placed in front of sofas or chairs, remove it and use small side tables. This will give more room to walk around and you'll see a greater expanse of floor.
Nests of tables are very practical, because you can place the tables in different positions as you need them, then put them away afterwards.
Hang a large mirror on one wall. And I mean large! Even in a small room, get a much larger one than you'd normally use. If you can't hang it on a wall, rest it against a wall - It will work just as well.
Instead of having heavy interlined curtains, use sheer fabrics or voiles. These will give a wispy, delicate look, and will make the most of the available daylight while at the same time giving privacy. If you decide to have shades or blinds use ones in lighter, cool colors (see section above on color).
Make the most of your space
Under the stairs
If you have an area under the stairs which isn't used for anything (except for throwing shoes, bags, and other odds and ends there), take another look at it. It's an ideal candidate for small space decorating! Some areas are large enough for an easy chair, small round table with a lamp. This can be a great place for a phone. It allows you to leave the kitchen or living room, sit down and have a conversation in private.
You could also fit a couple of shelves up underneath the slope of the stairs. This is very useful if you have small children, as the shelves will be out of reach, but will make good use of space which would be otherwise wasted.
Make the most use of small bedrooms by buying space-saving furniture. There are many options available, including bunk beds, beds which fold up onto the wall, and single beds where a section slides out to form a double bed.
If you have room underneath a bed, make a tray with castors which will easily slide under the bed. This could then store shoes, blankets, and other items.
So whenever you have to think about small space decorating, you can make the most of the space by using the effects of color, and being inventive with your furniture.