Welcome back to the small space series! Let’s be honest – when you’re first moving out of home or finding your own place, you don’t always get your dream home straight off the bat. In fact it may be years before that happens!
Nevertheless, having your own space is so fun to decorate and finally put those home decor Pinterest boards to use. Usually some of our first homes tend to be on the smaller side (aka pokey, tiny, squashed… ring a bell?!).
One subject I studied at University was all about creativity. And you know what they said? Creativity can be at its highest when you’re working with some constraints. Think about it: If you had endless options to work with, could it really be considered creative? Creativity shines when you have to work within certain parameters. Think old, dark, small spaces. You have endless opportunities to make the most of these small spaces!
So here’s my 10 decorating tips to make your space appear larger.
One: Use Mirrors
Mirrors work in two ways. They bounce light around a room and trick the mind into making spaces appear larger. Both these attributes are great for small spaces. You’ve probably heard it said that light colours open up a room. So with a mirror bouncing light it can work wonders to open up a small space.
Position a mirror opposite a window to make the most of the light and also mirror the outdoors.
Two: Add Furniture with legs
Getting furniture up off the floor creates an illusion of space. Do away with heavy, chunky hardwood furniture and opt for industrial, mid-century modern or scandi style furniture with legs, which often creates space at floor level. These options make it so much easier to clean the floor around them, too!
Three: Enclosed Storage
One thing that can often arise with decorating small spaces is the issue of clutter. Clutter seems all the more terrible in a small space because it stands out that much more. Opt for enclosed storage over lots of shelves so you can hide anything that doesn’t need to be on display. Only make sure things that you want to be seen, are seen. Options for enclosed storage can include coffee tables that have removable lids, cabinets instead of shelving or using baskets in shelving to hide messy clutter.
Four: Remove small items
When I was looking to decorate my first small space, I went about hunting for small items. Small vases, small ornaments, small pictures and small furniture. But this had the opposite affect – the small items made the space look worse! In a small space, it’s best to have a few bigger items that can draw the eye as opposed to a collage of smaller, insignificant ones. Remove small decor items, cluster them in bowls or trays and opt for fewer, normal-sized decor pieces.
Five: Keep Paint Uniform
In a small space, one way to draw the eye through the space is by keeping the paint and walls all the one colour. Highlighting trim and cornices with feature colours can really close-in and amplify the the tiny room you’re in. By keeping everything one colour, it tricks the eye into not picking up on where the room finishes.
Six: Utilise Lighting
As mentioned above, light is a big factor in making a space feel larger and more airy. Up the wattage on any dark lightbulbs, do away with heavy curtains or blinds and add in an extra lamp to improve lighting in the space. Make sure any light you use isn’t too yellow toned, as this can date and close in the space.
Seven: Consider the Layout
To make the most of your small space, consider the layout and traffic areas. This means how people use the space – where are the doorways? Does the room provide access to other areas of the house or is it one entry/exit door only? Considering these things will help make the space functional, which distracts from the size. If people need to walk around the couch or dodge furniture just to move through a space, they all of a sudden are made aware of the room’s limitations. Make sure entryways and traffic areas are clear.
Eight: Highlight the highlights
Ok, so the small space you’re in isn’t exactly what dreams are made of. But you’ve gotta make lemonade from lemons, make the most of what you’ve got, look for the positives! To highlight the highlight means to accent the parts of your space you love. Maybe the ceilings are really high? Hang some epic artwork to draw the eye upwards. Even if there’s not much good happening in the space, pick a decor item you love that will take most of the attention. A pink couch? Carved wooden table? Highlight that highlight and you’ll soon be totally unaware of the tiny room.
Nine: Add some Greenery
Indoor plants to wonders for lifting any space! They’re my secret weapon to making a space appear more homely, lively, welcoming and fresh. You can also tailor you plants to your small space. Add a trailing plant to a high shelf to draw the eye upwards, or choose a tall cactus or fig that can take up vertical space without taking up much area in the room.
Ten: Measure your room
Know what kind of measurements you’re working with before you start buying anything. You may think you’ll need to opt for the smallest lounges and furniture options out there, but getting one decent-sized lounge can look waaay better than a whole lounge set squashed into a room. Take this into consideration. Its better to have one large lounge, or one decent-sized table than fitting in multiple smaller pieces.
Have you tried these tips for decorating small spaces? I know they’ve definitely helped distract me from the size of the space I’m in, and instead allow me to enjoy it for what it is. Don’t forget to check out my 10 practical bathroom storage ideas for the ways I like to maximise space and storage in the bathroom.