Small Spaces, Big Style
Definitely an oft-sought style question is how to properly and stylishly decorate a small space. While Colorado residences are not typically lacking in square footage, my friends in New York City and Boston (among other places) have a different real estate reality. And even among our comparatively ample digs, we all have a small room here and there; the following will hopefully help you achieve big style in a small space.
FURNITURE– A small room does not require correspondingly small furniture that will only draw attention to its modest size. Instead, choose pieces with clean lines and a simple design and avoid the oversized (a lounge chair), over-stuffed (sofa), or over-done (certain period antiques). Additionally, stick with materials like lucite, glass and mirror, that carry no visual weight, and be mindful of where and how you incorporate wood, the heaviest of all materials. Finally, if space for seating is limited, a pouf (google it) functions as a chair without taking up additional space.
PROPORTION– Simply because your furniture is scaled appropriately does not mean you can’t play with the proportion of accessories. Plants, pillows and a vase can be large to communicate volume, contrast and drama without sacrificing the room’s balance; on the contrary, it only adds to it.
CLUTTER– As important as the scale and lines of the furniture is any ‘stuff’ you do or don’t keep on it. Simply put, clutter kills small spaces. Good design (both in your home and in fashion) requires balance between the available space and the details that fill it. I recommend removing at least 2/3 of current surface elements and judging the difference. You can always add more back later.
WALL– Utilizing wall space is another sure-fire way to keep surfaces clear and clutter under control. Mount your television, combine photos into one (or multiple) framed collages that hang in a picture vignette, and put books and keepsakes on shelves.
LIGHT– One simple way to open a room is to light it up. If you have big windows and great natural light, keep the glass clean and window treatments minimal. A simple roman shade will add privacy and panache without infringing upon valuable space. Furthermore, to bring attention up (a popular trick in designing small spaces), hang a crystal chandelier or (if vertical space is limited), a flush or semi-flush ceiling mount fixture.
PAINT– I don’t follow the herd regarding the rule that dark paint exaggerates a space’s small size. Some of the coolest and most modern paint colors belong to darker families, and I believe that the style boost garnered from having such a shade far outweighs the possibility for any (slightly) enhanced coziness.
BEDROOM– The easiest way to gain space in a bedroom is to replace two bedside tables with one chest of drawers. If you’re coupled, this arrangement won’t work, but a single person living alone has no need for the standard model of two. Past that, all the above rules still apply with one bit of advice: if your walls are dark, please use light colored sheets and if your sheets are patterned, that should be the only pattern in the room.