Decorating a Small Space

That Feeling of Claustrophobia

Those of us who live in small spaces can really appreciate the need for organization - even if we don't live it out. It's amazing how quickly a small space can be filled with clutter, and poor decor choices can make it feel like the walls are swallowing us up. Not everyone can pull on a pair of overalls and smash out a wall or two to make more space - especially if we don't own the apartment we are living in. But, the good news is that there are some simple ways to make the space feel much bigger than it is without spending a ton of money.

Taking the First Step

Start by taking everything you don't use regularly out of the room and storing it. You'll be amazed at how much more open the room feels already. If you don't have room in your apartment to store your treasurers, see if you can put them in a friend's place - or, if you have an attic or basement locker, store them there. You'll be surprised to learn that after about three months of not seeing or using them, you'll probably be ready to give them away or sell them. That's step one.

Lighten Up

The more light you have in your space, the better. Put light sheers on the windows, or better yet, leave them uncovered if it is at all possible. If you are able to, add a skylight. You can use a large mirror or a collage of mirrors across from the window to reflect the natural light and make the room appear larger.

Big or Small - Either Can Work Well

Furniture is an interesting item. Whether you subscribe to the philosophy of smaller scale pieces of furniture or think one or two larger pieces are great, consider furniture that is flexible, mobile and can be used for storage. A dining room table with drop leaves, or a bed with drawers underneath, are examples of functional furniture that works well in small spaces.

Choose Your Color Carefully

Paint color is another of those debatable things. Some designers believe dark color in a small space is fine while others subscribe to the belief of using colors that refract a lot of light. In general, intense colors are okay to use; just limit the use of colors that absorb light, like dark blues, purples or dark, intense reds. When choosing your paint colors, allow them to blend from room to room. In a small space, if you change color dramatically it will cut the space up and separate the room too much, making your space choppy. By maintaining continuity with the flooring, wall color and trim, you help to create a sense of expansiveness. Define spaces for different purposes by using a variation of texture, or use French doors, or sheer curtains on a pressure rod, to separate rooms.

Storage Ideas

A great way to create storage is to build a shelf about a foot below the ceiling all around the room. It can be used for storage and also for displaying treasures. By using furniture pieces that are glass or that have thin legs, it allows your eye to pass through them easily and lends to the feeling of space.

A little ingenuity and some guidance from good books, and you're on your way to creating your own look in your little space.