I am well acquainted with the allure and perils of small living spaces. When done correctly, they can resemble cosy, Zen-like retreats. However, when you’ve had to squeeze all of your worldly belongings into one narrow room, the consequences can be tight, suffocating, and anything but peaceful. It takes some deliberate effort to achieve the former rather than the latter.
Struggling to squeeze all of your possessions in a small house can be downright infuriating, but having to figure out an arrangement that keeps you from feeling super cramped and wishing for a bigger place can actually be a fun project that allows you to finally bring your dream home to life. The good news is that the key to living successfully in a small space may be simpler than you think.
Light and bright walls reflect more light, helping to make a place look accessible and airy, which helps maximise the effect of natural light. Dark colours absorb light, making rooms appear smaller. However, the key is to use the dark colour on a single feature, such as a bookcase or coloured accent wall, and then enclose that feature with decor or furniture in lighter colours.
This adds contrast to the room and visually expands the rest of the space in comparison. Another option is to use accent walls to make a room appear larger. Accent walls add a splash of colour to the room rather than being overwhelming.
When you have a small space, you may be limited in the amount of furniture you can bring into it, especially if you have limited storage. Purchasing dual-purpose furniture for additional storage to help utilise the space to its full potential. Dual-purpose furniture saves money while increasing floor space and functionality.
Also, avoid accumulating clutter. Maintain a cool and personal demeanour. Consider a wall-to-wall bookshelf to showcase favourite books, a display cabinet to showcase a prized set of china, or perhaps an armoire to cover boxes of old family photos or mementos. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond by transforming storage pieces into statement pieces with paint or new hardware.
Tiny apartments may not have the spacious feel of a sprawling estate, but with careful decorating, they can give the impression of being larger while still having enough appeal to compensate for the size difference. You can, for example, use your vertical walls to aesthetically increase the height to your room. Integrating bookshelves, cupboards, or shelving that span the width of the space could make the house look bigger.
Even if the curtains do not cover the entire window, they prevent the eye from taking in the view outside. Drapes and curtains only add to the house’s “stuff.” By removing them, you simplify the space. Consider shutters, lightweight mesh or cloth blinds, or both if you want privacy. If you absolutely must have curtains, use a bar that reaches far beyond the window pane, allowing you to fully reveal the window.
Editing is everything in small spaces. More and more items, possessions, and patterns there are in a room, the more cluttered it will appear. Avoid using too many trinkets, or at the very least group them so that they appear to be part of a configuration. Similarly, when it comes to art, focus on one or two walls with framed pieces. Stay away from busy patterns and bright colours.