Small space living has its advantages: it is more affordable, easier to maintain, and leaves a smaller environmental footprint. A compact home is also easier to customize. When you have only a few rooms, you can dedicate more time and resources to making each room fully reflect your unique style.
When decorating a small room, remember that smart design is the key to living happily in a petite space. With good design, small does not have to equal cramped. Cozy does not have to equal cluttered. Here are five tips to get you thinking about the right approach to small decor:
1. Thin Your Collection. Clutter makes a room feel smaller because it creates the sense that there’s not enough space for all the objects. Reduce clutter not by getting rid of everything but by selectively removing items. If you have three nice bowls and five picture frames displayed on top of a bookcase, remove two of the bowls and three of the frames. If you have three stacks of coffee table books, reduce it to just one stack. Already your space will start to feel more open and breathable.
2. Let It Go. What do you do with those bowls, frames and books you removed in Step One? Give them away. Consign them. If they have sentimental value, pass them along to a family member who might appreciate them. One benefit of Living Small is it forces us to reduce the amount of Stuff we own. If you try to fight that benefit, you will end up frustrated. But you don’t have to punish yourself, either. If you have a little storage space, allow yourself one or two boxes to fill with things you are just not ready to release yet. You can even rotate them in and out of your decor so that you get to enjoy a fresh object every few months.
3. Think Big. It may sound paradoxical, but large objects make a small room feel bigger. One large sofa leaves more open floor space than two small loveseats and a chair. A wall with one sizable painting on it appears grander than a gallery-style wall filled with small artworks. The result is a room that feels spacious instead of stuffy. One of our mural clients discovered that a large-scale soccer ball mural on her son’s tiny bedroom wall actually made his room his room feel less cramped.
4. Use Pattern Sparingly. Solid fabrics create the same open feel that uncluttered surfaces do. Patterns can be fun and cozy, but use them as accents instead of main features. For example, buy a solid sofa with two patterned throw pillows rather than a patterned sofa with solid throw pillows.
5. Clever Storage. You can’t get rid of everything. You need remotes for the TV and a blanket for chilly evenings. But you can find clever places to store these items so they don’t compete with your carefully curated decor. A cubbie hidden under the coffee table is one way to hide the remotes while still keeping them within reach. Using a small dresser as a side table allows you to store blankets, linens and games away from view.
Take a look around your room. What simple changes can you make right now to open up your small space?