Small spaces can be cute and cozy- but you don't want to cross over from cozy to cramped!
Here are some things you might want to avoid because they make your home feel small!
Everyone wants to live in a home that feels spacious, open, and inviting. Unfortunately, not knowing how to decorate spaces in your house properly can lead to rooms feeling closed in, dark, and smaller than they are.
The good news is you don't have to live in a mansion for your home to feel big and bright. Being aware of how to avoid common home decorating blunders and, more importantly, how to fix them can make all the difference in designing a home that feels cozy and intimate without being cluttered or overwhelming.
Check out these practical tips from the experts at Prominence Home to get started.
Clutter, Clutter Everywhere
One of the most common mistakes everyday homeowners make when decorating is filling their rooms with too much stuff. When it comes to designing rooms that are welcoming yet open, less is always more.
If you feel like the walls are closing in on you in your living spaces, it's time to say "goodbye" to some of your belongings. Sorting through your junk may feel overwhelming at first, especially if there's a lot of it, but parting with items you no longer need, use, or love will get easier the more you do it.
To keep the process simple, follow these steps:
- Start in one corner of the room and work your way around in a circle. Be sure to consider everything you own as you work through the space; nothing should be off-limits!
- Be honest about what you should keep. If it's broken, no longer useful, or you don't love it, it's time to let it go.
- Remember, just because someone you love gave an item to you, doesn't mean you should keep it.
- The items that you decide to keep have to earn their space in your home. Are they actively contributing to the appearance, function, or comfort of the space? If not, it's time to make room for things that will.
You can't really assess how to update a room that is filled with clutter. After you've thoroughly sorted through everything you should toss, donate, and keep, you can evaluate the actual needs of the room.
Many times, however, simply losing excess clutter is enough to make a space look brand new and bigger. Bottom line? The fastest way to make your home feel twice as big as it really is to get rid of the items that are no longer serving you well.
Is there anything worse than a beautifully-decorated room that is poorly lit? We don't think so! Yet somehow, so many otherwise gorgeous homes are only lit by one lousy overhead light or several dim table lamps unlike the beautiful photo above.
Either way, inadequate light sources make rooms look dull, dated, and tiny, rather than modern, bright, and open. Fortunately, making your home look like it was curated by a professional interior designer with proper lighting is easier than you may think.
Take these simple steps to ensure every room in your house is warm and well-lit:
- Use a Combination of Ambient, Task, and Accent Light Sources: For a room to feel balanced, different types of lighting is essential. Ambient lighting is great for illuminating an entire space with one overhead light source. On the other hand, task lighting makes specific activities, such as reading, applying make-up, or cooking, easier with more direct lighting options. Likewise, accent lighting can help create an inviting ambiance in a room, as well as highlighting special features, such as bookcases and artwork. Using a combination of the three is the best way to ensure any room is comfortable, practical, and, of course, attractive.
- Incorporate Mirrors: If a room in your home feels dark or small, consider hanging a mirror on the wall. Along with appropriately lighting a room with a combination of light sources, mirrors are an effective tool to make a space feel bigger than it is by maximizing any available light. For best results, position the mirror across from a window to enhance the room's natural light or opposite a lamp to instantly double artificial light sources as well.
- Maximize Natural Light: Sunlight makes every room look bigger (and better). To ensure that your room feels as large as possible, be sure not to block its windows with obstructions, such as furniture. Likewise, choose window treatments that won't block out the much-needed sunshine, such as heavy drapes. Instead, opt for airy curtain panels, clean wooden blinds, or, even better, letting your windows go bare in order to prioritize natural light as much as possible.
Just because you love a particular piece of furniture, doesn't mean it belongs in your home. The size of the furnishings you bring into your home is equally important as its style and color. For instance, positioning a bulky sofa set in a small living room is a surefire way to make it feel tiny and closed in rather than homey and warm.
On the other hand, small furnishings are bound to get lost in a large area, resulting in an awkward vibe instead of a cozy one. With this in mind, it's important to measure any room that you are buying furniture for, as well as the furniture itself.
Doing so will make sure that the furniture fits comfortably, isn't too big or too small, and you don't waste valuable resources replacing the furniture that doesn't work in your home. To make sure that the furniture you invest in is right the first time, keep these tips in mind for measuring quickly and easily:
- Along with the length and width of a room, don't forget to measure hallways, doorways, and staircases that the furniture will have to travel through to get to a space.
- Look for any additional features that could affect furniture placements, such as a fireplace or built-in bookshelf.
- Record the measurements and bring them with you, along with a tape measure, when you go furniture shopping.
Heavy Window Treatments
The window treatments you choose to incorporate into your home can make or break it. For this reason, considering the size, style, and purpose of a room before you invest in curtains or blinds is essential. For instance, the way you dress your kitchen windows should be completely different from the way you dress your bedroom windows.
Whereas functionality is a primary concern in any busy kitchen, the ambiance of one's bedroom is certainly a significant factor to keep in mind when selecting home decorations. While the purpose of the rooms in your home is of the utmost importance when shopping for stylish window treatments, emphasizing your access to natural light should be as well.
While dark drapes may seem ideal for a romantic bedroom, they could also make the space feel small or boxed in. With this in mind, it's best to choose curtains or blinds that will adorn your windows appropriately without overwhelming them and the room itself. Remember, natural light is one of the best ways to make a space feel bright, open, and airy.
Paint Colors Gone Wrong
The color of a room ultimately controls its entire atmosphere. While cool blues and greys can make you feel calm and relaxed, bold oranges and yellows can help you feel energized or stimulated. Because of this, the color you choose to paint the walls in your home is a big deal.
When asked how you should determine what paint color to choose for your living spaces, most folks would probably say it simply comes down to personal preference. Do you like a particular color or not? If the answer is "yes," that's a good enough reason as any to slap it on your walls.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple. To make a small room look bigger, light colors are the safest option. That doesn't mean you have to compromise on making a statement or designing a lively room, though.
Using bold colors sparingly on an accent wall or with accessories, such as throw pillows, is an impactful way to bring in dramatic colors without making a space feel smaller than it is.
The Wrong Size Light Fixtures
Much like the furniture you choose to bring into your home, the size of your light fixtures is important. A light fixture that is too small for a space won't just look ridiculous, it also will likely not be able to adequately illuminate a space, and therefore make it look tiny.
Similarly, a light fixture that is too big for a room will make it too bright or overwhelm the area it's adorning. For this reason, it's best to choose lamps and light fixtures that are the appropriate scale for the room. If you aren't sure, don't be afraid to consult a professional to ensure your home is well-lit and feels as big and bright as possible.
Don't Forget the Floor!
The right area rug can make a room feel polished and pulled together in an instant. On the other hand, the wrong area rug can make a room feel off. While it can be tempting to choose a small area rug for a small room, fight the urge to do so.
Having a rug that "floats" in the middle of a space, not touching any furniture at all, is an easy way to make your home look like it was designed by an amateur. To get the sophisticated, professional home decor look you see in the magazines, be sure to choose a rug that will touch each piece of furniture in a specific area.
This will likely mean having fewer rugs in a room, rather than several small ones, but is guaranteed to enhance any space in your home while making it feel open and spacious.
Use Artwork Sparingly
It might feel counterproductive to hang a large piece of artwork in a room that you're striving to make feel bigger, but you may be surprised with how it turns out. Rather than making a small space feel cramped, displaying fewer wall decorations that are larger is a great way to help a room feel open and spacious.
On the other hand, hanging lots of tiny objects or pictures on the wall in a small room will make it feel cluttered and (you guessed it) even smaller. Additionally, it's always a good idea to draw one's eye upward as much as possible in smaller rooms.
An easy way to do this is by installing tall bookshelves, hanging curtains a little higher than necessary to give the illusion of taller ceilings, or even painting the ceiling a bright color.
So when the time comes to dress up the walls (or ceiling!) in your quaint room, go for a few pieces that will pack a big punch instead of a dozen tiny items that are sure to overcrowd the space.
Too Much Pattern
Incorporating patterns into your home is an easy way to add color, personality, and texture in virtually any space, but the way in which you do so matters. For small rooms, too much of the small pattern or too many contrasting patterns can feel chaotic or overwhelming.
To bring your home to life without it looking frazzled, use patterns sparingly in small rooms. One way to accomplish this is by choosing one or two features of the space to use a pattern on, such as the curtains, throw blanket, or accent pillows, and sticking with solids for everything else.
However, that doesn't mean you can't have fun with it! Try pairing a bold, large pattern with a neutral smaller pattern for extra charm! If you still feel like the room is lacking something after carefully incorporating a pattern, consider adding texture in more subtle ways, such as with wicker baskets or a woven area rug.
Designing spaces in your home that feel spacious and open is easier than you may think. By thoughtfully choosing your light sources, being mindful of how you use colors and patterns, and always keep the scale of your furnishings and accessories in mind, you'll be able to effortlessly decorate a home that is colorful and charming, even if it is quaint.