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Posts Tagged ‘decorating small spaces’

Things to Remember when Decorating a Small Room

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

One of the biggest decorating challenges has to be a small room. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny bathroom, a short, narrow hallway or small living room or bedroom. While for many of us, the instinct is to make a small space appear larger, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way – the main objective for small room design is to translate cluttered or cramped into cozy. There are many tips and tricks that you can implement to help you get the look you want while creating a comfortable space to be in, no matter the size of the room.

Think Twice

When decorating a small room, you don’t want a lot of furniture in the room. Select furniture pieces like a bench for a bedroom or a coffee table for a living room that includes hidden storage. Another great example of dual purpose is the sofa bed. Dual purpose furniture is ideal for small spaces; it eliminates the need for additional furniture pieces while maximizing your floor. Because there will be less furniture in the room, you will have the luxury of being able to arrange each piece of furniture so that it can some free space around it.

Think Up

Go vertical rather than horizontal:

  • Use walls to their best advantage; add shelves and small cabinets to the walls rather than the floors
  • Choose vertical furniture pieces like a lingerie chests, bunk beds or armoires that will utilize wall rather than floor space
  • In a kitchen the ceiling can be used for a hanging pot rack or some other type of hanging storage; in a small living room or family room, the wall doesn’t have to be reserved just for shelves – hanging a TV on the wall eliminates the need for a TV stand or an entertainment center

Think Under

While under-bed storage is a common practice in bedrooms, you can apply the same principle to other furniture pieces in your home. Add baskets or cubbies to end tables, a console table in a hallway or sideboard in a dining room.

Think Carefully

Accessorize with care. While we don’t immediately associate personal touches like knickknacks, pictures in frames, candles, etc. with clutter, nothing makes a small room appear cramped faster than a large number of decorative items scattered throughout the space. Have a plan: group four or five objects together in a three or four choice places.

Furniture Ideas for a Small Dining Room

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

You might think that just because you have a small dining area that you will have to compromise on style. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you have a plan. And the place to start is with your dining room furniture. Make sure to include one or two pieces that are multifunctional. When decorating small spaces, the trick is to select dining room furniture that is smaller in scale, which will help you maximize all available floor space.

Making the Dining Room Look Larger

Because the one thing a small dining room needs is the one thing it can’t have, there are ways to making it look larger:

  • Arrange your dining set as far from the side walls as possible; this will prevent your dining furniture from appearing cramped in the space
  • Try to keep the area into your dining room clutter and obstacle free; by blending the room’s “boundary” line, it gives the impression that the room is bigger than it really is
  • Add a mirror to the décor; preferably place it across from the doorway or a window – this will make the room look larger because the mirror “moves” light around the space
  • Let as much light into the room as possible; keep window treatments streamlined and choose lighter fabrics
  • Select a dining set that includes seating that fits perfectly underneath the table

Choosing the “Right” Dining Table

Ideally, if you have enough room to work with, the dining table should “echo” the shape of the room. For example, when you’re decorating a dining room that is long and narrow, select a rectangular dining table; where the walls are all the same width, pick a square table. However, these two can take up a lot of room. For a space-challenged room, choose a round pedestal table. Because the table doesn’t have legs so to speak, you will be able to easily fit one or two additional chairs when hosting a holiday dinner.

Choosing the “Right” Dining Chairs

When buying dining furniture for a smaller sized room, give some thought to the dining chairs you choose to accompany your dining table. Best case scenario – you should go armless. While dining chairs with arms are indeed a little more comfortable, they do tend to take up more space than side chairs without arms. Another thing to keep in mind, is to pick a chair design that has straight legs as opposed to tapered or sabre. This will free up a little more floor space between the wall and your dining table.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Tight Space Studio Apartment

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Design Question

Hi Heather, I have just moved to a studio apartment in the city and I’m tight on space. As you walk in the door, to the right is the kitchenette and to the left is the bathroom. Straight ahead is the bedroom area and it’s all in one space. The furniture I have is a double bed, wooden chest, a bedside table and lamp, a computer desk and chair, a small table for 2 along with a bamboo mat.

I want a Japanese style because of the lack of space in the unit as its size is of two normal sized bedrooms. Can you help me with any ideas?

Design Answer

The first trick to decorating a small space is to think cozy instead of small. You don’t want too much furniture in the space, because that will make it cramped. But you can err on the side of caution, too, but having not enough of the “right” kind of furniture; by that I mean the right number and right type of furniture pieces that will make you comfortable and your home welcoming.

The second trick to decorating a studio apartment is to choose furniture that is in scale. Many people make the mistake of thinking “small” instead of compact. When buying bedroom furniture or living room furniture for small spaces think dual purpose like a futon, which can double as a sofa and a bed; entertainment center, dresser or armoire, as focal points in the room. Make sure that you have enough room to move around each piece of furniture; that you will have enough room to pull out your desk chair when sitting at the computer; opening drawers; or accessing cabinets, etc.

More Tips for Decorating Small Spaces

Japanese style is a great choice for studio apartments, because lines are simple, walls are typically unadorned and colors are earth tones or soothing neutrals.

Add a large framed mirror directly opposite either the window or the door; this will help to make the space appear larger.

Select furniture that includes some type of open design like chairs with ladder backs; headboards with a lattice or openwork pattern; open style bookcases or storage shelving units; or tables with glass tops. By selecting furniture that isn’t “solid” (as in dense) looking will also help to make your living space look larger.

Thanks for writing in. Stay tuned next Monday when we tackle another interior design question. And don’t forget to keep sending me those emails!

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