Delima # 14 - 36 Tips for Small Spaces
1. White, neutral or pale colors best reflect light, visually "pushing back" walls. We suggest accenting a light color scheme with small, dark accents to help anchor it and add interest.
2. Abundant natural light is important, especially in rooms with deeper hues. A flat paint recedes more than gloss. Use light shades on woodwork and furniture.
3. Use similar colors in adjoining rooms to visually unite them. To your eye, the harmonious connection blends two small rooms into one larger area.
4. Unify furniture with light-colored upholstery, white bed linens or pale print. Each piece then blends seamlessly into its subtle background. Loud or competing colors can distract, and make the walls seem to close in.
5. Use just one or two colors per room for visual simplicity that expands a space.
6. Too many patterns confuse the eye. Subtle patterns such as the ticking stripe on a sofa or a tone-on-tone linen pattern let the eye travel without an jarring interruption.
7. Pale-colored furniture pieces appear less weighty to the eye than dark-colored objects.
8. See-through furniture such as a Plexiglass coffee table seems to disappear. An "open" four-legged chair has less visual "weight" than an upholstered piece.
9. "Less is More" is an adage we are passionate about. Choose larger furniture pieces for their design drama, but use fewer of them in a room. More pieces of smaller furniture might fit in a compact room, but they end up creating visual clutter that makes the room actually feel smaller.
10. At least one tall element in a room draws the eye upward to the uncrowded space above.
11. Use "open" furniture if you must use anything in front of a window or French door. A slim-legged desk, for instance, won't obstruct the view or light.
12. Round tables take up less space than their rectangular counterparts, such as a round drop-leaf table. The table's drop-leaf feature makes it functional as a buffet or desk.
13. Storage should be an advantage of at least one furniture piece per room. One large piece of furniture makes a small space feel grand.
14. Gain extra seating when needed without taking up valuable floor space by stowing an ottoman under a tall coffee table or sideboard.
15. Introduce subdued pattern in light touches to a small room. Throw pillows or chair seats are easy ways to add dashes of pattern or color without overwhelming the space.
16. Hang curtain treatments higher than the actual window top to help draw the eye upward.
17. Extend drapery rods well beyond the width of the window, so curtain panels frame the view but don't cover any glass space, allowing in the most natural light.
18. Use fabrics with texture as opposed to pattern to add interest without adding visual clutter.
19. Lightly dress windows with sheers, tailored panels, white shutters or semitransparent Roman shades. Besides letting in light, simple treatments do less to interrupt the eye, as it travels around the room.
20. Don't center your artwork as expected. Pictures hung off-center make the eye focus on something other than the size of the space. A stack of two prints leads your eye up to the vertical volume of the room.
21. Minimize busy patterns and artwork. For instance, frame colorful art with oversize white mats and thin frames to create a serene field on calm walls.
22. Mirrors expand visual space by reflecting other parts of the room, as well as bouncing light around. Mirrored walls or mirrored backs of china cabinets or bookcases also effectively create the illusion of more space.
23. Display your collectibles with space around them, or choose one favorite piece, as opposed to 10, and allow it to become a stunning focal point.
24. A sparkling chandelier or ceiling fan draws the eye up to the vertical volume of a room, a technique useful in the master bedroom or dining room.
25. Keep throw pillows to a minimum. It's better to have one or two oversize pillows on a bed or sofa than several smaller ones that clutter.
26. Simplify live displays such as a huge vase of riotous flowers or a group of houseplants. Instead, set out a simple bowl of apples or a single-bloom orchid.
27. A floor lamp eliminates the need for a side table. Consider track lighting to reduce the number of lampshades, which interrupt your view of the room.
28. See-through, pale-colored or reflective accessories blend into the background to keep your eye traveling smoothly around the room.
29. Flooring that matches creates an uninterrupted visual flow throughout a small home. Use continuous wood flooring, similar carpeting or good-size area rugs in coordinating solid colors. A hodgepodge of smaller or patterned rugs break up a space. Define traffic patterns and seating areas with strategic furniture placement. Area rugs can anchor each grouping.
30. If you live in a ranch, consider opening up the attic space to reveal vaulted ceilings and allow for light-giving transom windows or skylights. Expanding the vertical space of a room gives the illusion that it's much bigger than its actual square footage.
31. Limit the number of different materials, finishes and patterns you use when making building decisions. When dealing with floors, countertops, cabinetry and other fixed surfaces, simplicity in design choices creates the illusion of more space where it counts the most.
32. Remove doors or install glass-paned French doors between rooms, if privacy isn't an issue. This opens up sight lines room-to-room and lets in more light, making each space feel more expansive.
33. For hidden storage use skirted beds, along with floor-length tablecloths over simple round tables.
34. Hide small clutter such as mail inside china vases, pitchers, boxes and baskets.
35. Simple shelves create easy storage space.
36. Outfit closets with drawers and shelves, eliminating the need for a chest of drawers or armoire.