Transforming Small Spaces: Maximizing Aesthetics and Functionality

Transforming Small Spaces: Maximizing Aesthetics and Functionality

There are many people in the world who enjoy transforming their space and creating an exciting new living area for themselves and their families. How large this number is depends on the question you ask, but there’s one thing for sure: it’s higher than the number of people who have large houses with spacious living areas. With rental and mortgage costs being what they are, it’s difficult to afford the area you want, and to use a phrase that’s been widely used for some time, space is often “at a premium”. Turning a smaller space into the room of your dreams takes a bit more imagination and smart design choices – but it is possible.

Below, we’ll look into some of the ways you can maximize the space you do have and turn smaller rooms into something special; a transferable skill which will be useful even when you do have a larger space to work with.

The illusion of space: how to use colour

Colours have an invaluable role to play in shaping how we perceive space. Great artists have for centuries used colour to give added depth and dimensionality to their paintings. Great interior designers have noticed that, and used that same playbook to create the feeling of space in rooms where it is at a premium – you might say that they’re “doing more with less”. How do they do it?

The Psychology of Colour

Pixabay – CC0 Licence

Colours are often used to evoke emotion and influence our perceptions of our surroundings. Dark colours tend to absorb light, with the result being that the room may feel cozy, but it also becomes claustrophobic. In balance, light colours reflect the light back, creating a sense of greater openness. A room painted in softer colours, including pastels, will feel more airy and spacious than the dimensions of the room might imply – and much more spacious than the same room painted in a darker shade.

Light and Neutral Tones

Shades like lighter beige, soft grays and sky blues are ideal for small spaces, as they not only make the room feel larger, they also create a sense of calm and serenity. In a bedroom, where relaxation is essential, a pale lilac shade works extremely well, while a living room with a muted yellow finish will feel inviting and expansive.

Accent Walls

It is simply a fact that a space feels more … spacious when it is painted in light tones, but there is a case to be made for an accent wall in a darker colour, or with more texture. If most of the room is white or off-white, for example, having a single wall finished with peel and stick wood for walls can create a sense of texture and autumnal warmth. The contrast with the other walls means that the feeling of space is preserved, but the room gains additional character. Other options include painting the wall in a darker forest green or regal purple.

Furniture selection: Multi-functional makes more space

Pixabay – CC0 Licence

No matter whether the room is large or small, there’s rarely much to be gained by putting one of every piece of furniture into it – that would become cluttered very quickly. In a smaller room, though, the matter of quality over quantity becomes all the more pronounced. Picking furniture that is multi-purpose is the smartest choice you can make here, given the difference it can make in terms of the floor space of a room.

The key to using multifunctional furniture to expand a space is to think of the things you’re sure you need. In a bedroom, you need a bed – but you also want storage. It, therefore, makes a lot of sense to pick a bed that has drawers underneath it which can be used to store clothes and other items, negating the need for a chest of drawers for which you might not have room. Other options such as wall-mounted desks, foldaway tables and ottomans can make a marked difference, too.

How you arrange furniture can have an impact on a space, too. Sofas, beds and chairs should be pushed back against the wall so there is more room in the center of a living space. TV tables should be in the corner of the room. Side tables can create storage opportunities and hold ornaments, and if they are fitted snugly next to the sofas and chairs in a room they won’t crunch the areas where there needs to be a flow. If you want a coffee table – and depending on how small the room is you should question whether or not you do – then it should be as close to the sofa as possible while still allowing room to sit down.

Wall decor: increasing perception of depth

As we’ve covered, the walls of a room and how you paint them can be of fundamental value in creating the sense of space in that room. Picking the right colours is certainly important. So, too, is the right texture, and this can be gained by wall art among other things. You’re looking to enhance the sense of depth, so bear this in mind when choosing wall art. Paint-splatter a la Jackson Pollack is magical to look at, but can overpower a small room. Consider street scenes that use perspective to draw the eye to a point in the background, and the sense of space will be increased.

The wall of a smaller room is also the ideal place to put a larger mirror. As well as having another place to do your hair or your makeup in the morning, a mirror adds depth to a room when compared to bare wall in the area. It won’t create more foot space, obviously, but the impact on the mind is important, so there is a choice to be made: do you want the eye to stop at the wall, or do you want it to continue looking deeper? This makes a difference to how relaxed you can feel in a space.

Additionally, if you choose wallpaper instead of paint, getting a textured look is a good way to go – you can go back to the peel and stick wood panels or anything else that brings texture. More shades of one colour can turn a flat wall into something more open and deep; look for textured browns, greens and anything else you find in nature, as this will work better than brighter colours for this purpose.

Vertical storage and decluttering

Pixabay – CC0 Licence

When trying to enhance space in a room, ask yourself one question: where do I live? And don’t answer with a city or town; what we mean here is where are you in relation to a room? The answer is “on the floor”, unless you can levitate. This is important, because if we’re talking space, it is always better to use more vertical footage for things like storage. Even a small storage chest can take up more space than you really want it to, so a shelf or even a shelving unit fixed to the wall can make a huge difference to the sense of roominess. Hanging hooks and pegboards can accommodate things like keys and small bags that might usually be placed on a surface lower down.

Look around the floor in general: Does everything on that floor need to be on the floor? Look for ways to raise it up and create more space in the one part of the room where you need to move around. This will enhance the feeling of flow and function at ground level – any decluttering process should always start with getting things off the ground, and then work upwards from there. And remember, you’re looking for functionality, so if something isn’t useful, it should be removed at least into home storage, if not disposed of or donated.

Creating space in a small room isn’t easy, but the right decisions can make a big difference when it comes to increasing your sense of ease in the space you call your own.

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Josie Smith
Josie Smith
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