When you need to decorate small spaces, the task isn’t actually that different than decorating large ones. You just need a bit of ingenuity and understanding of what works in the space and what doesn’t.
While your focus will be different when you’re working with less square footage, the basic rules of design are actually very much the same. I’ve taken this challenge to task with a recent property development I’m working on in conjunction with Dunpar Homes, the Kingsway Village Square.
This luxury building offers upscale condominium living in a carefully-crafted boutique rental residence, and as Creative Designer, it’s my job to decorate our first two model suites with all the right interiors and finishes. (Believe it or not, the property has more than 30 floor plans!)
It has proven to be a really fun project to manage because it’s made me look at design differently. Naturally, I have less room to work with, so it means I have to think about furniture, finishes and lighting in a way that works for small spaces.
Whether you’re looking to update a condominium, studio apartment or small home, check out some of my tips below on ways to optimize your space.
Find the right light
First, if you have plenty of natural light, let it shine through! Keep window treatments airy with sheer fabrics so light can come through easily, and you’re not weighing down your space with heavy curtains or blinds. Add additional lighting throughout your space but avoid any big floor or table lamps – they just add “bulk” – and opt for wall sconces, pendant lights or string lights that don’t take up too much real estate.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
If you aren’t blessed with a lot of natural light in a room, mirrors can add additional light and the feeling of additional space by reflecting back any natural and non-natural lighting you do have. It will give the illusion of more square footage, so think about using one large mirror in your room or arrange a few smaller ones throughout.
Avoid heavy furniture
When dressing a small space, your furniture has to look light. For example, instead of investing in a sturdy, block of a coffee table, opt for a piece that has legs on it. Why? It helps carry the eye in and around your space, which gives the impression of a bigger room.
Use furniture that is multi-purpose
For the Kingsway Village Square, I also picked pieces that are multi–purpose, such as a high top table that I put in the kitchen area that acts as a work station as well as an eating area. You can get creative with storage options, too: Ottomans that can store your linens, or built-in cabinetry under your bed. Nowadays there are so many chic storage options that work double-duty as a piece of décor.
Try “floating” pieces
Shelves and nightstands that are built into the walls keep your floor clear of any obstacles and free up some extra space as well.
The bigger the rug, the better
Believe it or not, you don’t want to skimp on size with your rug. A tiny rug just makes the room feel equally as small, so pick a floor covering that’s large enough so most of the furniture will sit on it or go wall-to-wall.
Keep colours neutral
This feels fairly obvious, but lighter walls give the illusion of a bigger space, where darker walls do the opposite. My favourite hues are from Benjamin Moore: CC40 or Chantilly Lace. I use both of them often in design.
Add some colour
Yes, you can! Use colour for your pillows, bedding, artwork or carpets, but I always caution about going too overboard with really bold patterns of palettes. You want to minimize the “noise” as it were, so my advice is to add your colour, but keep it fresh, light and harmonious.