In our downsizing world, who doesn’t need a few tips to maximize space to allow for a sleeker home look. Space is relative to all of us, but if you are feeling claustrophobic and smashed and the walls are crushing your style, it’s time to be smart about your living area and take a hard look at these 7 ideas to create a more efficient home. Even if you have plenty of room to roam, take a moment to see if any of these thoughts spark a change as most likely clutter abounds.
When thinking of a dining table or a coffee table, go for a round table as you obviously ditch the square edges that take up too much room. A circular shape creates the illusion of more space and you only have a center leg to worry about and can fit more people or pillows for dining, lounging or playing games. If you choose a coffee table that has a cubby or shelves, so much the better for added spots to stuff magazines or remotes.
In closets, above your doors, above the kitchen cabinets, much wasted space can be captured to add shelves or hooks. Open shelves are trendy and chic and floor to ceiling bookshelves make a room feel majestic, plus lots of space for books and other collections. If you need a room divider to add some privacy, here is another opportunity to use a tall bookcase to get both storage and visually separate a room. Curtains or drapery panels hung all the way from the ceiling to the floor is another genius trick to add height. Even if you don’t have a window, an interesting textile or pattern simulating an opening behind the fabric is an easy magic design idea. Anytime you can draw the eye upward, a more expansive space is perceived.
If you can double up on duties, so much the better. Do you need an extra bedroom? Don’t even think of sleep sofas- bulky, ugly, messy and uncomfortable. Shop for a convertible couch to turn your living room in a modern guest room. Do you have a stairway to tuck a slim desk into for you or the kids? How about a laundry room with a tiny bathroom or a laundry/office combo? You do have to be creative in finding the right small furnishings that will give you double duty.
Trash the nightstands and any extra side tables that just scream clutter traps. Instead of using table lamps, mount lights on the walls. Design with sconces and install a small bedside shelf for your electronics and other gadgets and your bedroom will be more luxurious. Use as much wall space as you can for interesting shelving for storage instead of bulky furniture. Tack up mirrors on the wall to make a room seem bigger. The reflection from mirrors also adds a brightness and don’t neglect other choices for mirrored surfaces on consoles or small bookshelves.
Using a few large scale pieces of furniture is a wise choice even if it seems counterintuitive. Instead of a lot of little dabs, fill up the space with a few well chosen, comfortable and functional pieces to actually make a bigger and more design-worthy room. Don’t be afraid to outfit the space to the maximum- not cluttered- but a small space feels grander when designed properly.
Small rooms need to be soothingly spacious and using even-toned colors throughout establishes this sense of tranquility and comfort. Use a similar color palette in all the rooms to maintain the integrity of color, such as a whitewash theme on the floors, ceilings, walls and furnishings. Window treatments should be light and breezy and minimal such as sheer shades or cell shades which should color match to the walls. A cohesive color zone is imperative for small homes.
It goes without saying that in small spaces, you have to curate and pare down to the things you really love. Resist the urge to display everything which is a good mantra for all places-big or small. For those of us who live little, we don’t have any choice but to display only the precious and the most poignant objects of our lives. Remember the 90/90 rule. If you haven’t used something in the last 90 days and you don’t think you will in another 90 days, maybe it is time to be rid of it. Of course, common sense always rules as we do have seasonal choices and needs, but just keep this rule in the back of your mind as you try to de-clutter. Believe me, I know how hard this is, as I love all my collections and all of my “stuff” that make a house a home.
If you are living large or living small, live fresh!