Design hacking a small space.
Updated: Jan 7
Living in a metropolis like London, with space at a minimum, many are faced with decorating a small space. To add actual square footage may be impossible but with some clever tricks its easy to make a room appear larger. There are some decorating tricks that can fool the eye into seeing your space as larger than it really is. Lets dive in with the easy to use list of design hacks..
Cut the Clutter
Sounds simple enough right, but clutter makes a room seem a lot smaller. Get organised and declutter, be brutal, and follow the rule that if you haven't used it in the last year you are unlikely to use it.
Cut it, store it, sell it, give it
A mantra that works to help cut the clutter. No room should be clinically bare but objects of importance or use can add to the design of the room. Find a happy medium with a few pieces of artwork, photos, and other accessories. Use one wall to create a photo wall to show all the family pictures without a mish mash of "collected over the year" photo frames.
One large painting is enough on most walls and works better than a group of small paintings. If there too many things going on, all vying for attention, your room may become too busy and feel crowded. When designing a small space its vital to create a focal point. The bed is often the focal point in the bedroom and a fireplace in a lounge, so work around these focal points. Make this focal the star of the room and arrange furniture and other items to be drawn to that area, while keeping the decor in the rest part of the room to a minimum.
When dealing with a small rooms think vertical and use the vertical space to elongate a room. You may not have a large floor space , so use the walls all the way to the ceiling, you are able to use the available space more efficiently so that when you draw the eyes upwards giving the illusion of more space.
To add visual space and storage to a room, add seamless built-in shelves extending from the floor up to the ceiling. Bookcases or built in units, painted the same colour as the walls work brilliantly in adding storage and at the same time creating the illusion of space by drawing the eye to the ceiling. Choose minimalistic handles which are discreet and blend in to the space.
Mirrors give the illusion of space. A full-length mirror hung or propped against a wall fools the eye into seeing a small space bigger by reflecting light and giving depth to the space.
Use mirrored closet doors on built in units.
Have an ornate mirror over the console table
Use small, fancy-framed mirrors grouped on the wall.
Use a Starbust mirror such as this on over the bed or sofa
Use lamps and furniture with mirror or chrome-finish
With any of these, your space will magically “expand” as light bounces around the room.
Use of Stripes
Striped wallpaper or vertical wall panels create the illusion of a high ceiling drawing the eye from top to bottom. A narrow bedroom can appear wider with horizontal stripes, while vertical stripes create the illusion of a high ceiling. From ticking stripe to bold stripes,
Bulky curtains will make a small room appear so much more cluttered, instead choose plantation shutters for their sleekness or a roman blind. This will provide a fresh, clean look as well as using far less space. Unlike bulky curtains, a sleek blind or even shutters will use less space and provide a fresh, clean look as well. However, if you prefer curtains, ensure there is ample space to on the curtain pole to draw them all the way back from the window or door. Ultimately you do not want to unnecessarily block light then try hanging them all the way from the floor to the ceiling, which provides a complete finish. Ensure your curtain pole is wide enough so that when it is open, the curtain sits close to the wall instead of blocking the light coming from the window.
Using a fabric with a similar color tone as your wall will help to blend it faster into space. It also makes the eye move across the space, fooling it into seeing the bedroom much bigger than it actually is. However, if you worry that your room might become too dark, go for curtains that have a slight shimmer to them which can bounce the available light around.
Keep Furniture In Scale
Tiny rooms don't call for tiny furniture but a super king bed with no space to manover around the room will make the room appear so much smaller. The key is to match the scale of the furniture to the scale of the space. A king-sized bed flanked on the side with two tiny nightstands would appear out proportion, and thus it would be better to choose a bed that you can fit at least one nightstand, which can hold its own beside the size of the bed. Also, your dressers have to match the nightstand in scale. Dressers are usually tall and narrow, so in a small room, it is better used with a wide, short piece.
Try a subdued colour palette
White and off white brings calmness and a feeling of space. It does not need to be clinical in nature but sticking with a softer colour palette of muted greys, greens or blues or in fact any pastel shade can create an illusion of more space and provide a backdrop for an injection of colour with throw cushions, upholstery. Pastels work really in small rooms. Try mixing white with other bright or mid-tone colours like blue and white.