Refresh Your Space


Big Style Ideas for Small Spaces

You don’t have to have a large apartment or house in order to make your lifestyle work for you. In fact, having a small living space might be just the thing for your needs and tastes. Nevertheless, if you find that you want to maximize your style and feel challenged by the perceived limitations of a small space, it may be time to reconsider how you do style in your place. There is no need to clutter the apartment with lots of eye-catching furniture or decorative items or to call in a renovations expert, as there are plenty of ways to make the most of what you do have, stylistically speaking. This article introduces you to some basic principles of making style work for you in small spaces.
Making small spaces appear open should be a top priority and it’s not just about maximizing what’s available; it’s about creating an eye-pleasing aesthetic. Choose visually “light” furniture such as light and bright colors, simple patterns, pieces with legs, and metal or glass coffee tables. Choose neutral paints for your walls to complement this sense of openness and how you arrange the furniture depends much on what exactly you do in it. Do you like to entertain? Arrange the living room for conversation by putting the couch and chairs, if you can fit them, around a centrally located coffee table.
Specific rooms might be smaller than you’d like, but that doesn’t have to be a hindrance. For the bedroom, make the bed your eye-catching piece by visually placing it in the center of the room. Pick bright bedding and accent pillows or a uniquely crafted or painted headboard, perhaps a wood item that you can stencil paint yourself. The general idea is to create a focal point that gives the illusion of having a larger space. Use windows if you have them and also try to make the room greater in height and depth by drawing the eye upward with a bright ceiling or paint vertical stripes on the walls. For depth, make the back wall an accent wall; your bed’s headboard should also be resting on this wall. Again, you are not just creating the illusion of more space, but making the room more visually interesting.
The same principles for opening up space without sacrificing style in your living room or bedroom also apply to the kitchen and bathroom. Choose light, bright colors and patterns for the paint and use techniques that create height or depth. If there is a window, make it the focal point by installing a shelf above the sink and putting decorations and food staples in cute containers on it. Ceramic or glass jars with chalkboard paint labels are good examples. You can also create an accent wall by painting it a bright color and adding some black-and-white prints. For small bathrooms, mix prints and textures with a clean, neutrally colored background with light walls and a shower curtain that pops. Jazz up your sink with a paisley soap dish and paint a shower caddy and install it above your sink or toilet. You can fill it with accent decorations as well as toiletries.
Making smaller spaces pop with style does not only mean creating the illusion of having a bigger space – it’s how you use what you have available to you. Creating style in small places is not a subtractive process even though it does involve avoiding clutter and visual weight at all costs. Whether it’s a small abode in general or a specific room in particular, there are plenty of ideas here to make the most of it.


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Jennifer is in her first year with MyNewPlace.  She is excited to be a writer for the company while she finishes her Ph.D. in Anthropology, which she expects to receive from American University this May. ...