Thanks to informed furniture purchases, efficient space planning, and a little decorating wizardry, you can fit a lot of living into little rooms. Use these tips to make living in small spaces more comfortable and enjoying.
Prepare to Multitask
Furniture that performs more than one function will expand the number of uses for a space. A daybed shifts from a sofa to a sleeping spot, for example. A pair of console tables pushed together creates a small dining table. A rolling kitchen cart can be used as a bar for entertaining, a dining buffet, or to corral the printer for your laptop.
Waste No Space
By utilizing plain wall surfaces and idle crannies, you'll eek out bonus storage and activity space. In the bathroom, attach small hooks to the wall to hang necklaces and bracelets. By the entry, install purse hooks to fashion a mini mudroom. Any corner can host benches and a table to create dining or office space. And don't overlook windows, which can be used as effectively as walls for furniture placement: A window draped with curtains can be a pretty backdrop for the bed.
Usher in the Light
Make a room feel larger by amplifying the amount of daylight it gets. If possible, add skylights. Play up the windows, which not only let in light but frame up a view to the outside world. (When your eye can focus on something far away, the room feels larger.) In the kitchen, don't let upper cupboards crowd windows, using wall shelves instead if necessary, and place everything possible -- even the microwave -- under the counter level so work surfaces are bright.
Hug the Walls
Reserve floor space for the flow of people. By keeping furniture pushed against the walls, you create open, airy space in the middle, which makes a room feel larger. In a kitchen, choose cabinet-depth appliances and skip the center island. Built-in benches let you tuck the dining table out of the way. In a child's room, elevate the mattress with a loft bed. Even the tiniest bathroom will seem larger with a wall-mounted or pedestal sink.
Make a Bold Statement
You can pack a great deal of fun into mere inches. Bright colors and bold patterns have more impact in compact rooms, so you don't have to invest in a lot of signature pieces. Use an unexpected color for a light fixture, an area rug, or an accent chair. Choose fabric curtains or throw pillows in graphic patterns; they'll contribute to a lively atmosphere even in a neutral-scheme space.
-Do you suffer from multipersonality decorating? I know I do. Sometimes, I crave a so serene space and sometimes I just want a punch or two of color. I'm Lacey Howard, editor of Decorating Magazine and today I'm going to show you how to express all your decorating personalities with just a few easy changes. Right now, with beige walls, painted white case goods, comfortable upholstery, and just a few accessories, this living space is a neutral oasis inspired by Swedish design. -I traveled to Sweden for work and fell madly in love with their simple elegance. They only have a few pieces of furniture in each room and they deal in light grays and beiges, I just find that so soothing to your mind. -Meg likes to be able to put technology behind closed doors at the end of each day. -Technology already has such a strong grip on our lives. It shouldn't have our every moment. -To that end, Meg incorporates painted white case goods to hide her computer, television, and other electronics. Her serene design scheme allows her guests to relax, unplug, and be the focus of Meg's attention. When Meg craves a spot of color, her home offers a beautiful neutral canvas on which to paint an accent hue or two. The simple addition of a couple of pillows on the living room's upholstered pieces, a few lampshades with color, painted pottery and colored glass to catch the light in a window, and some patterned bedding gives Meg's home a whole new look. Look at this place now. At stage 3, Meg's serene oasis boasts a playful color palette and lots of personality. With a bevy of colored accessories including rugs, pillows, drapes, painted tables, dishes, bedding, and artwork, there's no need to paint the walls. The simple addition of accessories gives these rooms all the color, pattern, and energy they can handle. -Well, I really didn't wanna have to go and paint the walls so I figured I'll just run down to the art store and buy a canvas and paint it solid and I find it's the better way to go because anything else is just gonna compete with the fabric so stay solid and stay within your color scheme. -Remember where Meg's home started? Her rooms whispered with a serene palette inspired by sooting Swedish design, beautifully upholstered pieces, painted white furnishings, and textured rugs make her space a neutral oasis. A few pops of color in the form of pillows and other easy additions gave Meg's space a few visual accents from room to room. In the final stage, Meg's home reaches its saturation point. Layers of accessories bring color, pattern, and additional texture to walls, windows, floors, and furnishings. Loads of color take Meg's room from soothing to energetic, serene to empowering, all without painting walls or changing the major furnishings. Don't let multiple decorating personalities keep you from making design decisions. Just choose furniture you love and a neutral scheme that suits you. Have a few colorful accents to pop in and a closet full of bold accessories to layer on when the mood strikes. Then, you just tuck it all away and return to your neutral oasis. For Decorating Magazine, I'm Lacey Howard.