A small room can suck the will to live right out of a person. It’s one of the reasons why prison cells are so tiny – they break your spirit and save taxpayer dollars at the same time.The thing is, these limited dimensions are not reserved for the jailhouse. Most homes across this great nation have that “one room” where nobody goes because it’s just too depressing. And, lest we forget: countless urban dwellers live
in these pint-sized rooms.So, what do we do? How do we open these spaces up and make them more enjoyable, and more inhabitable
when it comes to saltine-box-bound city slickers?Fortunately, there are a few tricks when it comes to making small rooms seem bigger:1. Light It Up
More natural and artificial light can actually give a room a bigger feel, especially if lighter colors are incorporated into the paint scheme and room décor. It’s really a trick of the eye, and dark tones can act to make spaces feel closer than they are – think of caves … and that “garden apartment” you rented in college. Yikes.
- Use light-colored drapes and blinds on the windows and try to keep them open
- Paint the walls and/or trim a lighter color
- Get lighter-colored furniture, or accent items like small rugs and pillows if furniture isn’t in the budget
Bulky furniture is comfy, but it also takes up a lot of room. We’ve all seen it – the ultra-puffy corduroy recliner that dominates the studio apartment. It’s a hand-me-down or Craigslist find that once had a purpose, but now you’re thinking if it were breathing you’d force it to pay half the rent.
3. Multi-Purpose Magic
- Try furniture in a modern/contemporary style that tends to have a slimmer profile
- Think of light fixtures with smaller footprints like torchieres and lamps with small shades
- Consider Craigslist or a yard sale to purge the room of unneeded stuff
The steel block you’re using for a coffee table is definitely industrial chic
, but it has no purpose beyond its topside surface area. If it had a shelf underneath or opened up to provide interior storage it could soak up enough stuff to let you invite an extra person to your monthly mixer.
4. Color Coordination
- Futons have come a long way and should not be discounted out of hand
- Tables and ottomans with storage or shelving can create lots of extra space
- An étagère or bookcase filled with books can also act as a room divider
Light colors are great for a small room, but too little color and it starts to look like a padded cell. Crafty interior designers will tell you that choosing and strategically placing coordinating colors can create the illusion of more space by leading people’s eyes through the room, rather than shutting their brains down with a monochrome or kaleidoscopic design scheme.
5. Mirror Image
- Coordinate colors in wall art with accent pillows, rugs, vases, etc.
- Match cabinet hardware with appliances or large furniture
- Use varying light bulbs and shades to warm colors or cool them down
Last but not least, an old time-honored trick that makes a room magically appear bigger is to reflect the space back into itself. This can really work well when done right; when done wrong, though, it can give off a creepy funhouse effect.
- Use mirrors sparingly and consider the actual size of the room when buying
- Think about placement and what you want to reflect, literally and figuratively
- Also consider the benefits of glass-topped furniture to open up space
welcomes any additional hints you might have on how to make rooms roomier, and hope these ideas give you some big ideas for your smaller spaces.