Homes are not built as large as they use to be built, especially in urban areas like bukit panjang where developments are getting denser and units are getting smaller. In these situations, small space decorating becomes an even more valuable design skill.
Most designers tend to dish advice regarding small spaces under the assumption that you are willing to sacrifice soul and personality in favor of the illusion of an extra few square meters of space. However, we believe that you can truly live large but still within the limitations of your available square-footage. Below are a few rules that you should break in order to get the most out of a small space.
Don’t use dark colors
It’s often touted that you should stay away from dark colors in small spaces, as it can end up making smaller spaces feel even more closed in and overwhelming. However, when dark colors are used properly, it can enhance architectural features. Let us give you an example: imagine you had beautiful built in bookshelves. Painting the outer layer a dramatic blue and the back panels a deep red can make them even more visually interesting. The rich juxtaposition of deep colors will give your room drama and dimension, not only creating depth to make your room feel bigger, but also imparting warmth and coziness that keeps your space intimate.
Shy away from patterns
Patterns, especially in wallpaper, are often automatically dismissed in fear that they would end up overwhelming the space. It seems like the last thing you should want to do is add busy visual clutter in your limited-in-square-feet space. However, when pattern is used smartly, it can do wonders for especially small spaces. For example, having a bold pattern in a small bathroom can add visual interest and draw the eye upwards, distracting from the tiny space. Patterns in very small spaces can create a potent mix of graphic boldness that infuses tiny spaces with a burst of energy.
Use only small-scale furniture
When you’re dealing with a small space, it makes sense to scale down your furniture to proportionately to your space, right? Actually, not quite. While this idea is theoretically sound, some homeowners make the mistake of buying pieces that end up being too small. This would only end up throwing off the proportions of your space, making things smaller than they are and giving your space a “dollhouse” effect. The effect is that your tiny furniture ends up swimming in your space instead of feeling appropriately grounded. Instead, take the middle ground and focus on fitting full-size pieces, but keep them in controllable in number.
You can’t have a dining space
Dining rooms have steadily been falling out of favor. We’re not sure how that happened, but this trend should be reversed! Dining rooms are great gathering places for conversation and entertaining. What’s more is that they can also moonlight as a workspace. Just because you have a small space doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the dining table and eat on your coffee table or kitchen countertops. While you might not be able to fit a dining table that seats 20, you can down-scale your dining table appropriately and find that seating 6 is ideal. Just remember to keep the design simple, tailor and streamlined to make sure it doesn’t overwhelm your space.
Get rid of everything
If minimalism is your thing and you are hyper-organized, then getting rid of everything is fine. However, a small space is not a valid reason to force you to live minimally. For the rest of us, a bit of clutter is a part of everyday life. Things like our book collection, art pieces and personal photographs give our spaces true soul. While we say you don’t have to get rid of everything, this doesn’t mean that you should let all everything you own overwhelm every available surface. Practice moderation and display a selection of your favorite items. You can consider crafting vignettes by grouping a well-edited assortment of items to bring interest to bare shelves and empty corners.
Don’t use heavy drapes
Leaving windows bare does nothing to make a room feel bigger or airier. Instead of being misled by kind-hearted words of advice to keep your windows open and bare, consider adding tailored window treatments to give your windows the frame that it deserves. For maximal visual appeal, hang drapes close to the ceiling to give the appearance of more visual height, which can surely work better than leaving windows bare.
Don’t buy anything that is not multi-purpose
While furniture that does double- or multi-duty can be a space-savers haven in small spaces, this does not mean that you cannot buy pieces that only serve one purpose. Instead of asking every piece in your home to do double-duty, try having some pieces that do and some pieces that don’t. For example, your dining table can turn into your worktable when it is needed, but your sofa does not necessarily have to turn into a bed at night. The bottom line is that you should choose distinctive pieces for your space that suit your space and lifestyle regardless of whether it can perform multi-duties or not (though it is generally a plus if it can).
Don’t mix patterns
Small space homeowners often fear design elements that might look too visually busy or heavy. Like the fear of ornate wallpaper and dark colors, there is an unjustified resistance to mixing and combining patterns. This rule is usually touted in order to prevent overwhelming visual situations from occurring, especially in small spaces, and can often be a strong habit to break. However, start thinking outside the solid box. Mixing and matching patterns, when done right, can easily make your space more visually appealing, giving off a too-cool-for-school look.