Making the most of limited space
A good designer can make an excellent living out of being deceptive. Not with his business, but rather with his art. He can make a tiny room appear much more spacious with a few tricks that, when combined, create an illusion of expanse. These are the same strategies you may apply in your home to help make the most of a relatively small living room. The idea is to turn a cramped area into one that is perceived instead to be quite agreeable.
How do you make a limited area appear spacious? To begin, you want to decorate in a manner that maximizes light and space. Be mindful of your use of color, scale and weight. Each of these may make a profound difference when manipulated correctly.
Be bold, new ideas can be more effective than traditional ones. Traditional applications in a living room aren’t always the ideal solution for limited space. For instance, forgo blinds as a window treatment for the benefit of long flowing drapes. They emphasize the vertical space and draw attention, thereby expanding the area of the room. And that’s a good thing, because it doesn’t matter what size a living room is, it needs to be able to serve as a space for entertaining. People should be able to relax comfortably within.
You’ve likely heard before that mirrors will make a room seem larger. But really think about it. Consider how strategically placing mirrors of different sizes in specific places will contribute to provide the illusion of depth. When done exceptionally well, the existence of these mirrors won’t even noticed immediately.
A popular technique common to small living rooms is the hanging of a large mirror in a central position. It serves to create a focal point. If you wish to reflect light for the benefit of a pleasant ambience, place a mirror behind a light source (a candle or lamp). Also, to create the effect of an additional window in the room, position a mirror across from a window. It will reflect the view and essentially appear to be one, at first glance.
In order to get the illusion of increased space, you need an understanding of diameter. A room has a vertical dimension and a horizontal one. You can exploit a high ceiling by decorating the extra space in a manner that draws attention upward. One way to achieve this is to have floor to ceiling drapery. They are stylish and contribute to the feeling of spaciousness. You can additionally use the vertical space by filling it with an array of mid to small size art. It’s a method that will make the room appear larger than it is because it directs the viewer to look beyond the eye level horizontal space that may appear cramped. It’s all about creating a high focal point leaving the space below size-ambiguous, to the room’s benefit.
Popularly, to achieve this goal of space illusion, neutral colors are used exclusively. On walls, the floor, ceiling and even the furniture upholstery, you will find neutrals carefully placed. A range of off-whites or beiges can expand an area as if to push back walls. Subtlety lighting a room are the reflections off of the soft hues. The neutral selections can ‘enlarge’ a room while imparting certain sophistication. The dull hues are also believed to calm and relax those in the room.
Interestingly, your furniture can contribute much for maximizing space. Besides choosing pieces that may be smaller than average, look for those that have low visual weight. This means that the perceived heft of an object is slight. Depending on its size, color and design, a piece of furniture may successfully appear more lightweight than it is. Since heavier looking pieces will cramp a space, the lighter ones free it up.
It is important to choose smaller furniture that does not overpower a room. You don’t want a single chair, for instance, to dominate the space. It all needs to appear comfortably relative. A sofa with thin arms and a tight back is better than a bulky one. You may choose to go without a couch even, if space is too tight. Instead you could introduce a loveseat or a coffee table with two armless chairs.
Also, when choosing the furniture try to pick those of pale colors over dark ones. Select furnishings that have legs, rather than those of large inelegant appearance. Instead of wooden coffee or end tables, choose them in glass. They take up less visual space. Anything that does not obstruct much of the view behind it helps to make an area appear to be open.
If you implement these ideas you will surely be successful in creating the illusion of a living room that appears much roomier than it actually is.