Tricks to make the most of small spaces
Clever use of colour can help you stretch out your interiors, making them seem larger.
Dark or light paint? That’s the ultimate question for small-space dwellers.
After all, we’re frequently told that smaller rooms should be painted with light colours. But in reality, you needn’t be afraid of embracing either.
EXPERIMENT WITH COLOUR
While white might be the ultimate space creator, certain colours and combinations can fool the eye and make interiors seem more spacious than they are. Pale blues and greens create a calming atmosphere that simultaneously enlarge and brighten a space. They also combine well with other colours. Sea-foam greens and soft tones of yellow are equally versatile.
DON’T FEAR THE DARK
Darker shades can work well in smaller spaces too, but stick to neutrals like blacks, charcoals, navy blues, chocolate browns and plums. Reds, greens and mid-tone blues can call too much attention to the walls, making a room feel smaller. Accessorise with blankets, artwork, rugs and furniture in similar tones but different textures, and include pops of bright colour with cushions or lamps.
Using colours with a high LRV (light reflectance value) percentage help bounce natural light around the space and give it the illusion of being larger and brighter. Glossy surfaces which reflect light are ideal for small rooms, particularly when using darker paint. Use a higher gloss finish on kitchen cabinetry, builtin shelving and fireplace surrounds, but keep the walls lowsheen. Placing a mirror near a window to reflect the outdoors is especially effective at visually expanding a room. Mirrored wardrobe doors and cabinets, glass tables and acrylic chairs are ideal for small spaces.
TRICK THE EYE
Another trick is to paint the walls and trims the same colour, which makes your rooms appear taller. Place curtain rods close to the ceiling to make it look higher, and extend the rod about 10cm on either side of the window to make it appear bigger and allow more light in. If there isn’t much natural light, add more lighting. Stripes can also alter perception. Horizontal stripes visually widen a narrow room, while vertical stripes make a low ceiling seem taller. Sofas and armchairs with open or no arms and exposed legs allow light under the furniture and make a space feel bigger.
Too many knick-knacks and pieces of furniture can make a room close in on you. Sell or give away surplus homewares on Neighbourly.co.nz; one person’s junk is another person’s treasure after all. Keep tabletops clear and use multifunctional furniture – ottomans double as coffee tables and extra seating as well as providing hidden storage. Floating shelves are ideal when there is no floor space.
To find out how you can make your small room feel more spacious, talk to a colour consultant at your nearest Resene ColorShop.
Resene advises teaming your favourite dark colour with a lighter neutral and good lighting to keep a smaller room feeling spacious.