Background Image

Journal

September 14th

Living Large Is Possible in Small Spaces

In a small room, a large mirror gives the illusion of space and an ottoman does double duty as a coffee table.

Many of us in San Diego don’t have large homes, and even in a huge home you might have some small spaces that puzzle you. How can you make your room look bigger—even though it isn’t?

The biggest trick in my interior designer bag for this is going vertical. Even though it might seem counter-intuitive to fill up a small space, that is exactly what will make it seem bigger. If you’ve ever seen a small apartment in New York City, you know those residents are experts at using every iota of space to their advantage. For example, install shelving that goes from the floor to the ceiling, or build in storage solutions that make the eye move up.

Again, most people are inclined to use small-scale furniture in a petite space. But what will make the room expand is a few big items that carry the room and trick the eye that the room is living larger than it really is. So a higher-backed sofa that requires a larger footprint might work better than a few smaller chairs.

When it comes to color, cool tones will make a difference in small space interior design. Stick to blues, greens and light neutrals, which actually push out the wall visually. Dark colors will make the room seem as if it is closing in on itself.

Accessories can also play along with the little-gets-large theme. Mirrors, of course, always add dimension. In fact, anything reflective—a glass coffee table, or a chrome lamp—will work much like a mirror, bouncing light across the room and increasing the space.

A clever way to hang window treatments in a small room is to start about 6 inches below the crown molding and take the drapes all the way to the floor. This gives an allusion of height and makes the room feel grand. Cornice boxes provide the same effect when they are installed just below the ceiling.

An upholstered chair can serve as desk seating, living room seating and as a dining chair

Finally, if your small space is all the space you have—as in those New York mini apartments—get creative with how your furniture functions. A buffet might work as a media console, but its drawers could hold blankets, games, extra china or whatever you need to stash away since no one can see inside. An ottoman can double as storage and a table, and a beautifully upholstered desk chair can be flipped around to become a dining chair or extra living room seating.

Need help figuring out what to do with your small space? We are always ready with our design ideas at Tracy Lynn Studio. Please view our interior designer portfolio and contact us for a consultation.