When we were at Haven, one of the sessions I attended was Decorating Challenges taught by Stacy from Not Just a Housewife, and Wendy from The Shabby Nest. Their class was loaded with great information that anyone can use in a home. Last week I wrote about how to decorate a rental apartment or dorm, and today I will fill you in on what we learned about small rooms.
ADD PLENTY OF LIGHT
When a room is small, having a lot of light makes it seem larger. And that’s what we want to do here – trick the eye. That can easily be done with plenty of light. If the room has several windows, great! If it doesn’t, make sure there is plenty of artificial light – either lamps or ceiling lights. Of the two choices, lamps are better because they soften a space. Overhead lights can often been harsh, especially when they are fluorescent.
We are very lucky in that our 1928 bungalow is loaded with windows, but we still have plenty of lamps. Most of our lamps were purchased second hand, like these two on the sofa table in our living room. New shades and a can of spray paint can work wonders on making a humdrum lamp look trendy. We have all shapes and colors of lamps scattered around our house. They don’t have to match, but they should complement each other.
MAKE SURE THE SCALE OF THE FURNITURE MATCHES THE ROOM
A sofa or chair that is too big for a space will visually reduce the square footage in a room. Sometimes a significant other might want a huge sofa so he can kick back and watch the games on a leisurely Sunday afternoon. Resist the temptation. You can always have comfort without going overboard on the size.
We found a sofa that is both comfy and is the right size for the room, and we were able to add a loveseat for even more space. The rug, coffee table, and side chairs all work with the proportions of the room.
We Americans are fascinated with stuff. That’s all fine, but keep it under control. Keep bins in an out of the way closet or in the basement to store seasonal and holiday items. When you switch things up, it will all look fresh and give your home a new and welcome look. Baskets, shelves, trunks, drawers, cabinets, and under the bed and stairs all make great spots for organized storage.
Look up. We found some great storage space over the door in our main bathroom. It didn’t take Mr. Spring long at all to build this box that now provides the perfect spot for our extra towels.
GO VERITCAL AND GO LIGHT
It’s okay to use a large piece in a small room if it goes vertical. You can also use that vertical space by building or buying shelves for a wall.
This hutch actually works with two of the rules. It is located in our dining room which has very little wall space. By adding this hutch to the room, I have additional space to store dishes and glassware. Also, it blends in well with our light gray walls and so it takes up very little visual space.
Angle furniture in a room to draw the eye to the longest part of the room. I have some angled furniture (see photos above), and a decorating friend of my mom’s is a huge fan of this technique. She will often place furniture or rugs on the diagonal to draw the eye in.
People often push the furniture against the wall thinking that it makes the room look larger. By moving the furniture away from the wall and putting it on the angle, it draws the eye in and creates the perfect conversation area.
MIRRORS!! MIRRORS!! MIRRORS!!
Mirrors open a space by reflecting the light from windows and lights, plus they add movement. Mirrors are also an inexpensive way to fill blank spaces on your walls, and again, they don’t take up visual space. Instead, they double it.
Mirrors on closet doors and mirrors on furniture do the same trick.
We have lots more info to share on decorating small spaces that these ladies taught us. We’ll be sharing soon.
Linking to Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday