You don’t need to go minimalist to get a pulled together look in a small space.
Urban living is all about small spaces, even for families. So finding ways to maximize the available square footage and at the same time enhance the look, without being cluttered or overwhelming, is the trick of it.
In a small space, the decor often times needs to be part of the organizing and storage solutions. But that doesn’t mean plastic bins or ugly particle board shelving. Finding ways to make a space comfortable and beautiful while at the same time enhancing the usability of the rooms is the goal. Now, how to get there? Read on!
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Living rooms and bedrooms
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The big sofa with the massive squishy ottomans might be your idea of relaxation heaven, but in a small apartment? Not going to happen. Instead, have smaller yet comfortable seating that is adequate for the residents of the home and have ‘alternative seating’ for guests. Like what? What about a tufted storage bench? It’s comfortable and the lid comes off for storing extra blankets, toys or whatnot and it can double as an ottoman, or with a tray on top, a coffee table.
Speaking of tables, side tables are lovely and useful for your cup of tea, but too big tables or too many of them and you and are your guests will be crashing around the room, knocking things over. How about nested tables? Then you can pull out the second one when you need it and put it away when you don’t?
The size of the furniture isn’t the only issue. If your space has low ceilings and not a lot of natural light, it’s best to avoid towering bookcases or other ‘tall’ pieces. They will only make the room look that much smaller.
Also, you need to beware of intense, dark colours that only serve to make the crowded space even more so. Light and airy is a better option, with selective pops of colour to draw the eye. Add in gauzy window treatments, and strategically placed mirrors, that will reflect natural light from a window, effectively fooling the eye into thinking there is another window, and making the room look larger. Mirrored furniture can also make a room look larger, again by leveraging the reflection of natural light. Glass is also your friend: glass tables, glass shelves. These can go a long way to avoiding a cramped look.
And in the bedroom? If you can get away with it, benefit from having only one bedside table and wall mounted reading lamps.
I’ve talked about how to make the most of a small pantry before, so I’ll move on to some other ideas. The key with a small kitchen is to avoid putting too much on counters or too much on the floor. One major thing is the pet food and water dishes. They are underfoot and in a small space, can easily be kicked or, worse, stepped into! Keeping those out of the way or raised up can avoid a crash.
With small kitchens, light and lack of clutter make the space look larger, so keep the colours bright and airy, while keeping the mixer in the cupboard.
Stools for the breakfast bar are a great way to eliminate the need for a table and still have an eat-in kitchen. Better still if they can be folded and stored when you don’t need all of them. But if you must have a table, consider a round one, rather than rectangular. You can fit more people comfortably around it while leveraging less floor space.
Narrow hallways and small bedrooms can benefit from the use of console tables. They are the right height to divide a space—for example, separating an eating area from a sitting area—but since they aren’t heavy or encumbering, you can use them in any tighter space.
The bathroom is another space where small can mean cramped: if you have the ability to place storage in unused spaces like above the toilet or with corner shelving, you can free up a lot of space on the floor plan. Again, mirrors and decent lighting are the key here: both of these give a sense of greater space.
You don’t need to be afraid of bold colours and prints on the walls, floors or windows: just use them sparingly, so that they are a charming and eye-catching addition, rather than being all everyone ever sees.