Posts Tagged ‘small space’

Portland Interior Designer’s Top 10 Tips to Make Your Small Space Look BIGGER: part 2

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Are you selling a small home that is vacant? There is a bonus tip at the end of this article just for you!

Have you moved into a small home, either because you’ve downsized or it is what you felt was best for your budget? If it’s feeling a little claustrophobic, it doesn’t have to be that way. Click here to read Part 1:  Top Ten Tips To Make Your Small Space Look BIGGER!

6.  Paint Color Tricks of the Trade: Lighter and cool, soft colors like pale aqua, pale blue or pale green all tend to recede and help make a small room feel larger. Conversely, vibrant warm colors like red or orange, advance and feel closer to you, so opt for lighter, cooler colors. Painting adjacent rooms in the same color makes them feel visually more like they are part of the same room. This is especially effective if you have open entryways between the rooms.

7. Monochromatic Color Palette: A serene, monochromatic color palette will go a long way toward making a room feel larger. Highly contrasting color schemes and lots of pattern tend to make the room feel smaller. This doesn’t mean you have to make everything beige! Not by a long shot! Look at these three rooms in shades of lavender, aqua and neutrals.

Rafael de Cardenas

Besides a monochromatic color palette, the lavender room above also employs a see through coffee table and a minimum of furnishings. Notice there are no side tables. The floor to ceiling curtain panels make the most of the ceiling height and pull all the way back from the windows to expose the entire view.

via Decorpad

Although I would like to see all the clutter off the floor, this small room is enhanced by the shades of aqua.

Neutral monochromatic color palette by Jeffrey BilhuberJeffrey Bilhuber

Notice that the single large painting makes the space feel big even though it just accommodates a loveseat and two smaller chairs. The side chair and coffee table are not bulky and have long legs, allowing you to see the floor. Notice also that the pattern on the rug is on the diagonal.

8. Move Away From the Wall: When furniture is all pushed back against the wall, it feels like they are lined up like prisoners in front of a firing squad. Whenever possible, create furniture groupings that are away from the walls and that leave room to walk around them. Keep natural traffic patterns clear and avoid placing the back of a sofa toward the entry. It feels like a barrier to entry and immediately psychologically shrinks the room. In super tiny rooms, you may not be able to group furniture away from the wall, but might be able to angle a loveseat in a corner. This is another great trick to making a room feel a little bigger by directing the eye along the diagonal, which is the longest line in a room.

9. Light Expands Space: A well lit room always feels bigger. Maybe it’s because you can actually see the whole room! Provide lighting in all 4 corners. To preserve precious floor space, consider using track lighting, wall sconces or table lamps instead of floor lamps. Accent lamps pointing upwards and torchiere style lamps wash the ceiling with light and make the most of the volume of the room.

10. Stealthy Secret Storage: Clutter is the nemesis of a small room. But you do have “stuff” and need to keep it somewhere! Choose closed storage over open front storage to keep a room serene. A book case with doors will hide paperbacks & other less attractive belongings. Think floor to ceiling and wall to wall when building in storage units. The long lines don’t break up the room and give you maximum storage space. Find secret spaces like a storage ottoman to keep extra items. Entertainment units that hide all of your dvd’s, cords and audio-visual equipment are a blessing to the small room.

Bonus Tip!! Selling a Small Vacant Home: If you are selling and your property is small and presently vacant, this tip is just for you. PUT FURNITURE IN THE HOUSE!! It is absolutely true that a tiny room will look bigger when furnished than it does empty. If you are looking at the small rooms and worried that they will look crowded with furniture — potential buyers will be worrying about the same thing. A professional home stager — ME of course :D — will use all of the above tips to furnish your property so buyers will see that it can look beautiful and that furniture fits with room to spare.

For more help with any of these tips for making your small space look and feel bigger, call me today to set up an in home consultation. You’ll be on your way to getting the Look of Large! 503.816.4394

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Posted in Colors, Cool Ideas, DIY, Design Tips, Furniture, Home Staging, Interior Design, Lighting, Living Room, Space Planning, Storage Solutions, Top Ten, Uncategorized, Window Treatments | 1 Comment »

Portland Interior Designer’s Top 10 Tips to Make Your Small Space Look BIGGER: part 1

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Are you living in a smaller space than you have in the past and feeling a little cooped up? Do you want (or need) to downsize, but you’re not sure how you’ll feel in a smaller space? If you are selling a smaller home, your place could be perfect for those looking for smaller or starter homes. But the very people who are looking for those smaller spaces may have a hard time imagining how to live in them. Whatever your reasons are, I’ve got 10 great tips for making small spaces feel B-I-G-G-E-R!

Bedroom with country farm wall mural


1. Fewer Pieces … of Anything! In small rooms, the more pieces of furniture you put in, the more crowded it begins to feel. Think carefully about each piece you put in. If you have a coffee table, will you really need side tables too? It also begins to feel more crowded with lots of accessories on top of tables & shelves. A few nice, large accessories will create stronger focal points and give the illusion of a spacious room. Even with art, which is hanging on the wall, a single large piece of artwork will make a place feel larger than groups of small pictures.

2. Reduce “Visual Weight” of Furnishings: Believe it or not, the style of your furniture is even more important than the actual size. Select seating pieces that have open space under the cushions (8″ or more is good) rather than upholstery or skirts down to the floor. Think “leggy”! Because you can see under the furniture, it doesn’t stop your eye, and the room feels bigger. Glass table tops can be seen through, so they don’t take up as much “visual space” even though they may be just as large as a wood table. No sharp corners on these because it is a bit easier to bang your shins. I’m speaking from experience here. Simple, clean lines are also easier on the eye than very ornate pieces and keep the room looking bigger. I would tell you this even if I didn’t love modern design. I swear!

3. Smoke & Mirrors: Okay, well I was kidding about the smoke. That won’t help you at all. But mirrors are pure magic when it comes to adding the look of large! Consider putting sheet mirror on an entire wall. In a miniscule kitchen I once had, I had mirror custom cut to fit on the wall behind the sink and continued it under the cabinets above the backsplash. It was amazing how much bigger my kitchen felt with the windows on the other side reflected in this mirror. Or you can try standing a large, framed floor mirror against a wall. It will feel like an open doorway into another room, thereby expanding the space. Just remember the one cardinal rule of mirror placement: The mirror needs to reflect something beautiful and bright – not a vacant white wall.


4. Floors – the Foundation for an Expansive Feel: That’s expansive – not expensive! Having the same flooring continue throughout your home will allow your eye to move past the boundaries of the doorways, making each room feel a little bigger. If you have tile flooring, setting it on the diagonal always makes the room look larger than setting it square. This is a great trick for tiny bathrooms!

5. A Room With A View: Opening up any views the room has will improve the feeling of extra space. Window drapery panels should be floor to ceiling and the curtain rod holders should be set at least 8″ to 10″ past the sides of the glass so that when the drape is pushed back, it exposes the entire window and gives the maximum view. Hanging the draperies this way makes the window look larger too. Do you own your home? If you have smaller windows, replacing them with larger ones or with French doors will visually expand your space into the great outdoors. If you don’t have a view, consider a full wall mural of an outdoor scene. A good one can really make you feel like you have more space.  Continue reading part 2, tips 6 through 10 … PLUS Bonus Tip For Home Sellers!

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Posted in Cool Ideas, DIY, Design Tips, Flooring, Home Staging, Interior Design, Space Planning, Top Ten, Uncategorized, Window Treatments, windows | No Comments »