Five tips for small spaces
Let’s face it; whether by choice (downsizing) or geographical location (downtown Toronto), so many more of us are living in smaller spaces. I delight in designing small spaces because slight square footage means every decision you make is that much more important. Here are five tips I use when designing small spaces you can implement in your home:
1. Be consistent
If you have a small space, too many colours and patterns can create visual clutter, but if you’re looking to create a homey space, multiple patterns and colours work well to help make the space feel smaller and cosy. If you entertain a lot, stick to a consistent colour palette throughout your home as this will help make it feel larger. When planning your colour scheme, treat your whole home as one large space. If you’re looking for more variety between your spaces, consider using pops of colour and pattern in each space instead of changing up the whole colour palette room to room.
2. Get organized
This one is two-fold. First, get yourself organized and use this opportunity to get rid of things that either don’t serve a purpose or make you happy (I mean REALLY happy, not mildly pleasing). There are so many charities that would be happy to receive items that you no longer need, or many items can be recycled (less to store means more room). Second, think about closed storage. Clutter always makes things look smaller than they are, so for major pieces of storage, look for items with doors and resist the pull of chachkas or knick-knacks for the sake of decor. In small spaces, keep items that are meaningful to you or make you happy.
3. Less is much more
The less-is-more adage also extends to furniture. In locations where space is at a premium, the perception of space in a home is a luxury. This means that in small spaces you need to resist the urge to pack a room with the furniture you would normally put in a larger space. Make sure items are in proportion to your room, and always ask yourself these two questions: Do I need that or do I just want that? And second question: How much do I use that? Remember to measure the space and the furniture you’re bringing in before you buy! I never just look at a piece before I purchase it for a client, I always check that it fits the area as well as the other items going into the space.
4. Do double duty
When possible, choose furniture pieces that serve multiple purposes. One great example is seating that also provides storage or beds that lift up with storage area beneath, or ottomans that double as storage. Do you really need a bed for guests or will a sofa-bed or a sofa long enough to sleep on do? Maybe you could get a murphy bed that doubles as a desk in your office, a bed for guests when you need it, but doesn’t clutter up the space when you don’t.
5. Choose “light” furniture
I mean, what does the weight of the furniture have to do with anything? When I say light, I mean visually. Choose sofas and armchairs that are off the ground on legs, the space under the sofa makes it appear lighter. It’s also easier to clean under. Choose tables that are open on the sides with legs or a slender frame. The more floor you can see, the more spacious the room seems. You can also use glass or acrylic in larger pieces, like coffee tables or dining tables. This is always an easy way for these pieces to disappear visually and help create the look of more space.
Melissa brings a “white glove” approach to every project she handles, taking pleasure in project coordination, interior design, permit drawings and submission, and everything in between. She enjoys pushing clients past their comfort zone to design and execute spaces they love with custom designs tailored to her clients and their tastes and lifestyle.
Melissa Tossell, NCIDQ, BCIN, ARIDO Owner and Registered Interior Designer of Sanura Design.
Courtesy of ARIDO