Tricks to make the most of small spa­ces

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - MEANWHILE, OUTSIDE AUCKLAND -

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.

RE­FLEC­TIONS

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.

BAN­ISH CLUT­TER

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.

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