Does the favourite room in your house feel a bit more claustrophobic than it ideally might? Or is there a room in your house you avoid entirely because it’s cluttered, dark and crowded? I have a habit of trawling through the home sections of superstores, imagining how everything on the shelf would look in each room. A candle there… Oh… and a cute rabbit ornament there, well, I have always wanted an indoor wreath on the wall. Those bowls for nibbles! I definitely need those… and of course those plates to match. Before you know it, your living space feels positively minuscule!
Small spaces and overcrowding the home is a common problem in flats, but it can be an even bigger issue in larger houses. The bigger the house, the more space to fill it with things! Someone with minimalist tendancies, may not quite understand the problem most of us are faced with everyday. Scroll down to see a comparison between a minimalist fireplace design and a maximalist fireplace design.
1) Make a small room look bigger with lighting
These days, the ways to light your home seem limitless. Using lighting to make a small room seem bigger is one of the easiest ways to do that. It is a scientific fact that lighter things look bigger, and darker things look smaller. So, adding light to a dark area, will seem to increase the size. Most bulbs now have a warm setting or a cool setting: warm emits orange hues, and cool emits blue hues. In my house, the ceilings aren’t very high, so in order to make the room seem bigger, I ditched the lampshades!
Lampshades make it seem like the ceiling is lower – switch them out for LED ceiling lights. It makes the room look bigger, and creates more space. If you have windows, get those curtains out the way and open those blinds. Natural light is so much better for your room and your well being than artificial lights. If flinging the lampshades, and opening the curtains aren’t an option – then you will have to start being clever.
2) Using mirrors to add space to a small room
Mirrors have always been a classic example of how to make a room look bigger. Not only does a mirror reflect light around a room, but the simple idea of reflecting a room makes it seem bigger. The larger the mirror, the better, but small mirrors can also brighten up the room. Think of a ballet studio: there is one long wall of mirrors – effectively doubling the size of the studio! Mirrors come in all shapes and sizes now: plain mirrors, framed mirrors, window mirrors and more. There is a mirror out there for every room in your house.
3) Light colours make a space look bigger
It’s a well known fact in interior design that colours can make or break a space. Similar to the idea that more light in a room makes it seem bigger, a light colour on the walls works too. Don’t worry, you don’t need to start painting all your walls renter friendly magnolia. There are thousands of lighter shades of colours that can make a room seem bigger, without offending the eyes. Darker walls makes everything seem smaller, and usually more lustrous – not ideal for small rooms at all. If you’re a fan of Interior Designs Masters on BBC, you’ll notice lots of designers using colour to extend walls and create height. Take a look at our lighter wallpapers to help brighten your room.
4) Utilising multi purpose furniture in a cramped space
So, we’ve touched on how to make a small room look bigger, but what about actually removing clutter from the room? Multipurpose furniture is one of the ways forward, aptly named because each piece of furniture has multiple uses. If you want a floor lamp, but don’t want to waste the space between the bottom and top – get a shelf floor lamp. These are really easy, and great ideas to get rid of that shelf that you keep stubbing your toe on!
A firm favourite is the classic futon: a convertible chair bed. Whether you want to convert your living room for sleepovers, or don’t want the restrictions of having a bed in your only spare room, a futon allows you to have both! Accessorise with throws which are perfect for beds and chairs! Clever shelving is an easy way to declutter a side. Kitchen bakers racks are ideal for storing multiple kitchen appliances, whilst only taking up a small section of the counter top. If you do a quick internet search for multifunctional furniture, you will find many products to help create more space in your home.
5) Bringing in flexible furniture for a small room
Similarlily, you can save a great deal of space by choosing mobile furniture, and furniture which can be folded away. Tables are a great example of flexible furniture, many tables already have a lengthening feature. You can have a small 4 seater table when it’s you and the dog sitting at the table to eat, but when you have guests, this can be opened up to accommodate 6, 7, 8 or more people. Once in an AirBnB in, the studio apartment we were staying in had a bed which folded up into the wardrobe. This left the living space free during the day.
6) Be creative with the space you have
With the right inspiration and joiner, you could have yourself some pretty nifty storage solutions. One of my favourites examples is joiners who have turned each stair on a staircase into a drawer. They’re fabulous in theory, but in practice, most stairs aren’t suitable, it takes quite a long time and is expensive. If you have a space between a wall and the side of a fireplace, don’t just shove a bookcase in the area. Give it some love and creativity. Two great uses of that space can be seen below. Floating shelves high up give you storage, but also leave room on the floor for a lamp and a chair.
7) Time for a declutter
This is the least favourite point of mine, because I just genuinely love stuff! I love the sparkly cocktail stick from my holiday in Marbella 10 years ago, it’s a memory, you know? Those cardboard boxes, I might need those for something in the future, I can’t throw those away. I’ve had that stool for years, yes it is falling apart, and yes I can’t sit on it because it will actually break, but I love it. Sometimes it is time to let go, and although it hurts in the beginning, the result of a clean, tidy and clutter-free house is really unbeatable.