26 Mar Small Space Challenge

It can be intimidating, too much to think about, nearly impossible, and downright scary to create an airy and open atmosphere in a few hundred square feet, but when properly planned, a small space can hold just as much impact as a large one. In fact, there are many options when challenged with SSD (Small Space Decorating), that can visually expand the space to appear larger. Here are a few tips:


Use Mirrors

Mirrors are so versatile. Strategically placed in a small room, they become a wonderful tool disguised as a decorative accessory. Reflecting light or maybe a room beyond, the reflection visually creates a sense of more space and openness. That said, there are a few rules to using mirrors in small spaces.

Rather than use one standard size mirror, step outside the expected and use an oversized mirror framed in something smashing. This will create your rooms focal point, drawing the eye to the mirror and the image it’s reflecting. Be strategic with placement taking 100% advantage of the mirrors potential. A large mirror leaned against a wall, on the floor or mantle, is called ‘a leaner’ (brilliant!). Be conscious of what you see in the reflection. Leaned to extreme, there maybe only be your ceiling, or, worse, the ceiling fan. Setting it across from a window is ideal, at a slight angle back, it will reflect more light and bring into your small room what you see through the window. It will make it appear as though there are more windows, creating an airier and more open atmosphere.

An entire wall of small mirrors, fit together in various shapes and sizes, can be another creative way to achieve that focal point. Hung ‘gallery’ style, in similar frames, you will be surprised at the overall effect of the collective reflections. You will have created a tapestry of images and colors from the opposite wall. Don’t forget to work that opposite wall!  This is also a great use of an awkward wall.



Use Large Furniture

This is confusing to some people, but when you put large furniture in a small space it can actually make the space look larger. Too many small pieces jumbled into a small space can look cluttered and impede traffic flow. A few well-thought out large pieces can be efficient, functional and create a sense of space. Another nugget – no skirts on upholstered pieces.



Try Armless Seating

One way to maintain an open feeling in a small space is to consider seating without arms and low backs. Slipper chair, oversized ottoman, chaise lounge, a banquette, or a sectional with a chaise end can all visually open a space while providing enough seating for an intimate gathering. It reduces visual clutter and gives the illusion of more space. However, be practical: if you’re the type of person who likes to recline on the sofa and rest your head on the arm, this option might not be for you!



Avoid Over Designed Window Treatments

In a small space it’s a good idea to use tailored window treatments. A few options are single width drapery panels. Fabrics should be solid or soft patterned, closely matching the wall color. This visually expands the space, bringing your eye through the window, observing more space outside, than there maybe inside. Topped with a simple pleat, you benefit from the warmth of drapery with unencumbered windows. Roman shades provide the same effect in a more casual setting. Avoid valances or anything that can stop your eye as you loos throughout the space. While you might be attracted to large scale, colorful prints seen on todays fabrics, save them for your larger rooms. If you want your small space to look larger keep window treatments simple.


Luxe Magazine | Interior Design: Greg Shano Interiors / Photography: Tria Giovan

Use Light Colors

Saturated wall color is everywhere and can be great in small spaces however they won’t make your room look larger. If you want to create a sense of space, choose a light paint color with high light reflective percentage. When it comes to paint use the same color on the walls, trim, doors and any other details that might exist. If you’re not on board with the homogenous look but craves contrast, chose a different hue of the same color on the trim.


Luxe Magazine | Interior Design: Janice Barta / Photography: Laure Joliet

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