Small spaces shine with right decor

White back­drops with pops of colour make rooms feel big and trendy

Calgary Herald - - NEW CONDOS - AN­DREA COX

Trans­form­ing a small space into a work of art isn’t al­ways easy, but with the right de­sign and decor, you’ll soon have even the tini­est of pow­der rooms shin­ing with style and liv­abil­ity.

“The first thing to re­ally think about is scale,” says Rachel Sawyer, co-owner of KIT In­te­rior Ob­jects, a trea­sure-trove of mid-cen­tury clas­sics and one-of-a-kind Scan­di­na­vian de­signs. “Ev­ery­thing we carry re­ally has a bit of a story to it,” she says.

Her small space de­sign ap­proach is sim­ple. “Don’t be in a rush. Get to know the space and what you need. Slowly add to it over time and let it tell the story of your life,” says Sawyer.

Start with a neu­tral back­drop — Sawyer is a big fan of white walls — and then layer on the tex­ture, shape and colour to add drama and in­ter­est.

“White is uni­fy­ing and it calms the eye when you are work­ing with one big room in open-con­cept de­signs,” says Sawyer.

She re­cently worked with Cal­gary de­vel­oper Rnd­sqr to de­sign its Grow show suite in South Cal­gary. Mu­uto light­ing pen­dants in black take cen­tre stage.

“They re­ally have this un­usual cur­va­ture and it looks like in­dus­trial-school-type light, but then it’s made from rub­ber so it plays with ma­te­rial. It comes in a huge range of colours, but the black jux­ta­posed with the white walls is clean, mod­ern and crisp,” says Sawyer.

Katie Rioux, founder and cre­ative di­rec­tor of DWK In­te­ri­ors, agrees that the back­drop should be neu­tral.

“But it is re­ally im­por­tant to add in pops of colour to brighten up the space — navy blues and camels are re­ally in right now,” she says.

“All of it cre­ates that ex­tra co­zi­ness that small spaces need,” says Rioux.

She adds that wallpaper is an­other great op­tion to con­sider.

“It cre­ates big im­pact at a low cost,” says Rioux. It is also one of those de­sign el­e­ments that lay­ers on the tex­ture. Toss in a few silk throw pil­lows and sump­tu­ous draperies to add to the mix.

“All of it cre­ates that ex­tra co­zi­ness that small spaces need,” says Rioux.

Shapes from cir­cles to hexagons also weave some juicy eye candy.

“Rooms tend to be square and your couches are a cer­tain shape, so I of­ten think that cof­fee ta­bles that of­fer some­thing dif­fer­ent, whether it is a cool shape or a tac­tile ma­te­rial can be re­ally fun,” says KIT’s Sawyer.

When it comes to fur­ni­ture, think about how you live and move through a space.

“Fur­ni­ture pieces should be refined. Noth­ing over­sized or over­stuffed. There is re­ally some­thing to be said for pur­chas­ing fur­ni­ture that will have a long life. Whether it is a de­sign clas­sic or some­thing that you truly love, find items with a pres­ence,” says Sawyer.

She’s a fan of Scan­di­na­vian de­sign for smaller spaces be­cause of its de­sign ver­sa­til­ity and scale.

“We have chairs that seem small in a large show room, but put them into a smaller space and they are per­fect,” she says.

Both Rioux and Sawyer agree that multi-func­tional items are golden in small space de­sign.

“Choose items that can be used for more than one pur­pose — sleeper so­fas, wire bas­kets that have a wood lid that could be used as a ta­ble, but also have a stor­age com­po­nent, chairs that stack,” says Sawyer.

And lots and lots of nat­u­ral light is a def­i­nite must.

“We sug­gest plac­ing mir­rors op­po­site the win­dows to help re­flect and spread light around the space,” says Rioux.

But the real key is to make the space yours by adding the touches that speak to you.

“Sit in the fur­ni­ture be­fore you buy it. Make sure it is com­fort­able and use soft light­ing to cre­ate a re­lax­ing, peace­ful mood,” says Sawyer.


The great room in the Grow show suite. Don’t rush to get fur­ni­ture — get to know your space first.

This DWK In­te­ri­ors de­sign shows that wallpaper can bring life to a small space, such as a bath­room. Neu­trals also make a room seem big­ger, but don’t be afraid of a pop of colour.

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