Small space/BIG style
A shortage of space doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice style. Let’s face it–most of us aren’t perched in Park Ave penthouses, so at some point, somewhere, we’ll have to contend with cozier quarters than we’d prefer. There’s no reason why your small space can’t be bursting at the seams with style and functionality. Here are a few simple space saving decorating tips to squeeze big design out of every square foot.
Use dual purpose pieces whenever possible. This will maximize functionality and cut down on the amount of furniture you’ll need. Consider items like ottomans with hidden storage or a pair of garden stools for a coffee table. It’s a table and storage when you need it and extra seating when guests come over.
Go vertical with your design by taking certain elements as close to the ceiling as possible. By carrying your drapes up to the ceiling, you’re instantly drawing the eye upward, creating the illusion that the ceiling height is more expansive. The higher the ceiling, the bigger the room feels.
Avoid the floor at all cost–use floating wall shelves or cases and most definitely opt for furniture with legs instead of a piece that sits directly on the ground. By elevating a piece of furniture, you’re creating an overall lighter visual weight to the piece by extending the eye under and around.
Go big on wall art when you’ve got the space. Think of it as creating a window. Whenever possible, opt for colors that recede (like blues and grays), to give the effect that the wall extends beyond its actual surface. Using one larger piece of art instead of a few smaller pieces will make the room feel larger and less cluttered. Mirrors are always a simple way to extend the appearance of a space. Consider using several of them as an accent wall.
Clear things up by using mirrored or transparent furniture made from Lucite or glass. Clear furniture provides beauty, interest, and function without consuming much visual weight. Since your eye continues through and beyond the piece, it’s a very practical solution for small spaces. Kartell is one of my go-to places for acrylic furniture.
Organization is key to ensuring any small space is inviting and functional. Use a critical eye to edit the space, removing any pieces that aren’t entirely necessary or personally significant. Clutter will make any space feel smaller than it really is, so be careful not to over-accessorize.
Pick pieces with personality to detract from any square footage deficiencies. When I’m designing a small space, I interject flair using interesting pieces with a story attached to them. I find that vintage pieces not only create warmth and character, but they facilitate conversation. Your piece with personality may be a brightly colored lamp or chair. The smaller the dish, the bigger the flavor needs to be, so spice things up!
Stay tuned for our next post “Apartment Therapy”, where we’ll follow the small space dilemma with some terrific tips and how-to examples on ways to break through the mold of your cookie-cutter apartment using a project we just completed in Downtown Richmond.
Kenneth Byrd is the Principal Designer of Kenneth Byrd Design in Richmond, VA. Current projects include The Residences at the John Marshall downtown and East Beach Condominiums in Norfolk.
Top ten design don’ts.April 24, 2012
- ‘Perfect Arrangement’ at RTP dramatizes the 1950s lavender scare with important results
- VCU LGBTQ History Month: Panel to speak on VCU’s famed 1974 Gay Alliance of Students lawsuit
- ‘ISIS: A Love Story’ turns the worlds most nefarious terrorist organization into a queer Romeo & Juliet
- HRC and national pediatric organizations team up for new guide on raising transgender kids
- Live performance of ‘Phantom’ at the Byrd Theatre aims to highlight the famed movie palace’s original elegance