In an age when many people are downsizing their homes and attempting to simplify their lifestyles, it can be a challenge to decorate smaller houses, apartments and tiny homes so they are more liveable, as well as appearing bigger than what they actually are. In this post we’ll be looking at some handy decorating and arrangement ideas for small spaces that make a big impact.
#1 – Make Use of Mirrors Where Possible
Mirrors are all about reflection and illusion when it comes to making a small room appear larger. Nothing works as well as strategically placed mirrors to give the impression of a larger space. While a small room might be cozy, the last thing you want is for it to feel claustrophobic.
A really long mirror on one wall works wonders, or you could arrange a series of smaller mirrors, possibly even into a pattern. Another idea it to use mirrors that also incorporate artwork on the glass to make them even more interesting.
Mirrors also bounce light around the room, which makes the space look and feel more vibrant.
#2 – Make Rooms As Light As Possible
You need as many windows as possible to let in natural light. Although you might want to use blinds or blackout curtains at night or while sleeping, get those drapes and blinds open in the day and let that light in, or small rooms will feel extra tiny.
If you’re worried about daytime privacy, attach some easy to install and inexpensive sheer curtains. These let in copious amounts of light, but also offer a degree of privacy.
#3 – Sofa Beds Are a Great Idea
Chances are if you’re living in a small place that you won’t have a spare bedroom for when guests stay over. A sofa bed is the ultimate solution to this problem. There are many options on the market these days and most are highly affordable.
If the idea of the classic style of sofa bed doesn’t appeal to you, then you could opt for the more lightweight and simple futon, which simply has armrests and backrests that collapse to form an instant, comfortable bed.
You get a sofa and a spare bed in one, so a sofa bed is definitely worth considering.
#4 – Go Up Instead of Out
What does this mean exactly?
While you may not have any choice with certain furniture items, such as a couch, when it comes to other items such as a computer desk, TV cabinet and any form of storage, you can buy things that are narrow and have a small footprint on the floor, but provide plenty of shelf space by going vertical.
As an example, think of one of those computer desks that is narrow, but has 5 or 6 tiers of shelves on which to put all your gear.
Even storage cabinets built just below the ceiling are a fantastic idea, as they don’t consume any of your actual living space.
Think along the lines of making more use of wall space and less use of floor space.
#5 – Get Rid of Clutter and Live Simply
Nothing makes a small room look even smaller than a lot of things laying about, or crammed onto every bit of available shelf or table space.
The idea of living smaller is to live more simply, and one way to do this is by decluttering your home and your life.
Less is definitely more when it comes to small spaces, so if you don’t really want it or need it, either get rid of it, or at least hide it away somewhere.
You want to give the impression of more space than what you actually have, but a lot of clutter will have the opposite effect.
#6 – Keep Things Up Against the Walls Where Possible
The idea of this tactic is to free up more open areas of floor space by spreading the furniture out and butting it up against the walls.
Visualise a small living room where the couch and chairs and coffee table are all clustered in the center. It doesn’t allow much in the way of open floor space, but spread those items out (if possible), and suddenly there is a much larger section of open ground, adding to the illusion of a bigger room.
#7 – Make Rooms Light and Bright
We already talked about letting in as much natural light as possible. Well, having colours in the room that are light and bright also helps to “open up a space” somewhat. Light coloured walls and white ceiling help reflect light about, whether it be natural light or artificial light at night.
You could even add in some furniture that is light in colour to further enhance the lighting and the room in general.
This is not to say that no bold colours can be used. You could definitely have a floor rug or accent cushions on the lounge in vivid reds, purple, blue, or whatever takes your fancy.
#8 – Add a Touch of Nature
Adding plants and flowers will not only brighten up a room, there’s just something very homey and therapeutic about adding a touch of nature indoors.
You want to look after those indoor plants and choose ones that will thrive well in your environment. When it comes to fresh flowers, keep them fresh. Don’t leave old, decaying flowers and smelly water in your living room, dining room or kitchen.
You’re best bet is finding some hardy indoor plants that also flower occasionally. That way you get the best of both in one plant.
#9 – Consider the Symmetry of the Room
As an example, a very square room will look best with squarish furniture pieces, where as a longer, narrower room will be better served by longer pieces of furniture. Consider mirroring some furniture pieces too, such as two armchairs facing each other in the living room with a coffee table in between.
This kind of symmetry is very pleasing to the eye and also takes attention away from what may be a very small space.
#10 – Use Adjustable Storage Furniture
This could be bookcases, desks, or simply items designed with shelves to store stuff. If you buy furniture pieces like this with adjustable shelving, then you have more chance of fitting in all the items you want to store or put away.
Better yet, buy storage furniture that has doors to close off all the stuff you don’t want to be seen. This makes a small room look way less cluttered and a lot neater and tidier, as well as giving the impression of more open space.
#11 – Buy An Extendable Drop Leaf Dining Table
Small homes and apartments often mean you don’t have a lot of room for your dining setting. Some people make do with a 3 piece set, if there’s just the two of them, while others will go for a small 5 piece setting.
The great thing about many styles of dining room table on the market today is that they’re extendable, often with one or two drop leaf sections that can be raised to make a 4 seater table big enough for 6 diners, or even transforming a little 2 seater table into a space large enough to accommodate at least 3 or 4 people.
Usually these tables are made from some form of MDF or wood veneer and they are the perfect space saving idea for small spaces. They don’t take up much room with the drop leaves lowered, but you still have the option of creating a bigger dining table space when you need to.
#12 – How About An Ottoman and Coffee Table With Storage?
Another awesome space saving innovation are lounge room ottomans and coffee tables that have storage built into them.
The ottoman can be a footrest or double as an extra place for someone to sit. They’ll have a removable top, under which is some handy storage space for pillows and blankets, perfect if you have a sofa bed.
Some coffee tables come with several tiers of shelving, or they might even have hidden storage compartments underneath the table top.
Anything that can double up as extra storage is really handy for downsized living.
#13 – Make Full Use of Wall Space
Not only can you use your walls for hanging mirrors, artwork or your photo collection, walls can also be put to practical use.
One of the most common ways is to build shelving for displaying knick knacks, small potted plants and so on, or even for storing more practical items.
You can also use a wall for creating a shoe rack that really doesn’t intrude on your space very much, hat racks, hooks for hanging umbrellas and coats, virtually anything you can think of that can hang on a wall without being intrusive or too heavy.
The best way to work it all out is to see which walls in which rooms are the most viable option for hanging stuff, then taking note of all your smaller items and decide which ones will be stored on shelving or wall hooks.
In this post we’ve touched on a few handy space saving ideas, but there are plenty more out there, and many that will depend on your own personal space and circumstances.
The best thing is to have fun with it, get creative, and even ask others what they think might be a good idea to make your small home or apartment feel bigger and more spacious.