Unless you live in a sprawling mansion, chances are, you won’t have a massive living space to work with in your home. This is especially true of London property and, we know how important it is to eke out every inch of a room, making it as spacious and stylish as possible. As mindful property developers, we strive to maximise space in our investment properties. We will always make use of even the smallest of areas – and if we can find a way of squeezing in another bathroom or utility space, we will. However, with some décor tricks and clever use of light and colour, everyone can create the illusion of size. Look at some of these ideas that will show you how to make the most of small rooms.
Starting from scratch will make it easier to follow these suggestions but, if you’re already in situ and it feels cramped and cluttered, you can still make simple changes to make your home feel roomier and brighter.
Let it go
A good starting point is assessing how much furniture you have in your living room. Are you squeezing everything in just because you can? If you have a compact lounge, now might be a good time to re-assess if you really need it all or if you can streamline down to the essentials. You’ve heard the phrase ‘less is more’ – let this be your mantra.
Be ruthless – ditch or rehome pieces you don’t need. Sometimes we have tables or cabinets that serve no purpose yet takes up valuable space. You’ll only end up filling it with stuff because it’s there.
Are you sitting comfortably?
One of the most important items in your living room will be your sofa. When planning your room, put this in first and work everything else around it. See how much floor space is left over once that’s in place and go from there. If you’re buying new sofas or chairs, opt for smaller pieces. There’s no point in cramming in a large, grand suite if your room isn’t big enough.
It’s that simple. Obviously, you need to consider how many people live in your house but if you stay by yourself, consider buying ‘love-seat’ chairs instead of sofas. These are bigger than an armchair but smaller than a couch. They’re trendy, but, they’ll also save on space. And, don’t worry, they do seat two people – you can still cosy up with someone special!
Consider investing in a sleek nest of tables that can be tucked away and brought out as and when you need them. For example, when you have guests round for drinks or coffee. You can also eliminate the need for lots of tables by swapping your lamps for wall lights or slim up-lighters that sit on the floor. Up-lighters are also useful for creating the illusion of space – they direct the eye upwards but they also bounce the light onto the walls and the ceiling. If you prefer wall lights, these can create ambience and more importantly, they won’t take up valuable floor space either.
A magic looking-glass like the one the evil queen had in Snow White is a bit far-fetched but, mirrors can and do add a bit of illusion – especially when it comes to making rooms look bigger than they are. A well-placed mirror will reflect light. Try placing it on the opposite wall from the window. By day it will catch sunlight and, as night falls, it will capture the ambience of your lighting. The overall effect is one of space – the object of the exercise.
Dark bold colours are going to draw a room in and make it appear smaller. Yes, it might be cosy but that’s not what we’re trying to achieve. When choosing paint for your walls, stick to a limited palette. Avoid using too many different colours and instead, stick to light, neutral shades. Whites, creams and soft greys work well as do pale greens and blues.
Loud, fussy wallpaper is a no-no for small rooms but subtle stripes are fine. Vertical stripes can create the illusion of height, whereas horizontal ones will make small rooms look wider. These decorating tricks will work in your living room or your bedroom if you’re stuck for space in both.
Is it a tiny bedroom that’s bothering you? There are ways of sorting that out too. In addition to the wallpaper and paint suggestions above, you can also make better use of the space in your boudoir. For small rooms, consider buying a new bed, especially if there’s a huge super king taking up the whole area. Consider downsizing – a regular double could suffice. If you’re by yourself, it might be an idea to buy a small double. At 4ft, they’re slightly smaller than a standard double, but they’re roomy enough for one person. Or, if it’s a guest room that’s too small, why not get a sofa bed which can be pulled down on the odd occasion someone is staying over?
Privacy is of paramount importance in a bedroom and windows need to be shielded but avoid heavy fussy curtains and consider light coloured wooden blinds or shutters instead. Another faux pas in small rooms is a huge television stuck on a dressing table. If you must watch TV in your room, mount it to the wall but hide the cables – they will make the room look messy. Alternatively, you could ditch it altogether and do your bedtime viewing on an iPad. Besides, electrical appliances are said to alter sleep quality. Removing it might be beneficial in more ways than one.
If you’re serious about creating more space in your bedroom, you really need to organise like a pro.
Clutter is out of the question and there’s no excuse for it. Did you check out our storage solutions piece?
Just because a property is on the bijou, compact side, doesn’t mean it can’t look bigger or feel airier. Above all, it can still be stylish and fashionable. Size isn’t everything and, it’s definitely not a barrier to having a bright and beautiful home.