If you’ve ever strolled through Ikea’s showroom in downtown Atlanta, you’ve probably been in awe that designers can fill and decorate every inch of a 600 square-foot living space while still preserving the room’s visual balance, interest, and functionality. It’s not as much of a challenge as you might think, though. Whether you are struggling to make your tiny spare room look organized and spacious, or you are contemplating an entire condo makeover, here are a few insider trips and tricks to keep your small space looking (and feeling!) like it is fit for a king.
In a small room, where design options are limited, it is very important to decide on a main focal point – typically the space by a window or a wall. Fill the focal point space with a bold piece of furniture, such as an armoire or a pair of dramatic bookcases, and then position more modest accent pieces throughout the rest of the room. To play up the illusion of openness, consider adding clear Lucite chairs or a glass table as accent furniture. If your taste is more traditional, use a neutral color palette to make the space feel larger. Incorporate tasteful, interesting pieces that don’t overwhelm, and be flexible to seasonal changes and inspirations. One way to corral clutter and still stay organized is by storing items in cottage-style baskets or modern, sleek boxes.
Drawing the eye upwards to the ceiling to make the room seem larger is one design trick that is commonly used by designers who are working in smaller spaces. Two tried-and-true ways to accomplish this is by installing floor-to-ceiling windows (or simply dressing existing windows with floor-to-ceiling curtains), and by using vertical stripes to lengthen the height of the room. Layering curtains is less of a commitment than hanging striped wallpaper, and can give the illusion that there are large windows behind the curtains instead of a large, empty space with one small window. If the focal point of the room is the window, layering a variety of curtains can add depth and color without overwhelming. Layering curtains is similar to peeling an orange in that the outermost panels should be a thicker, heavier fabric, and the innermost panels should be lighter, breezier fabric. As always, when choosing panels, you have to consider the color scheme and décor in the rest of the room. If the room is mostly neutral with a few pops of color and accents, then choose your outermost curtain panels to match one of your accent colors, and your innermost panel to match a neutral hue.
Another way to bring drama to a small space is to amplify the lighting. Floor lamps, table lamps, and sconces will brighten up dark entryway corners and make vacant bedrooms feel warm and cozy for guests. In smaller spaces, where the amount of accessories is limited, choose lamps that are interesting and unique to give the space personality and flair. Pair lamps with colorful shades, or give basic shades a mini-makeover by adding some DIY accessories like tailored ribbon edging or a rustic burlap flower. Another trick for magnifying light in a small space is by using mirrors to reflect the natural light in the room. When hanging a mirror in your guest bedroom, entryway, or dining nook, be sure to place it across from a window or lamp so that the maximum amount of light will be reflected back into the space.
Whether your room’s footprint is large or small, maximizing its space with smart design tactics. By planning for a focal point, increasing the vertical height of the room, and amplifying light, any space will feel twice the size.