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How To Decorate A Small Space

How To Decorate A Small Space

This is a guest post by Bruce MacDonald.


Space is a concern for many people who are focused on home décor and interior design. While some homes have challenges associated with decorating incredibly large rooms, decorating challenges also stem from small spaces. The last thing you want is to decorate a small area in a manner that is unattractive or that creates a claustrophobic feel. If you are preparing to redecorate or redesign a small space, avoid these unfortunately common errors to enjoy beautiful results.

Avoid Choosing Dark Colours 


Dark colours have a way of making a space feel more enclosed. The walls can feel as though they are moving in on you, and the result is that the room can feel smaller than it actually is. On the other hand, when you choose lighter colors, the walls may feel farther away. This creates a more spacious feel in the room. Keep in mind that lighting is more reflective on walls with lighter colors, and this also plays an important role in how large or small the room feels.

Don’t Select Busy Flooring Designs 


The flooring you select for your small space can also affect how large or small the area feels. Just as you want to choose brighter or lighter colors for the walls, it also makes sense to do the same for the floors. You can also use shapes and patterns to create the feel of an even larger space.

For example, the striations on wood flooring can create the illusion of more space. On the other hand, busy tilework, such as a mosaic comprised of very small tiles, can have the opposite effect. When in doubt, get a large sample to place in the room so that you can get a feel for the impact that a design or material will have before you commit to it.

Never Fail to Maximize Natural Light 

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You can see that the key to decorating a smaller room is to create a lighter space with an airy feel. Dark colors on the walls and floors as well as busy flooring patterns can work against this effort, and shadows in any corners of the room can also be counterproductive. Maximize the benefit of natural light by decorating the windows with light sheers rather than heavy drapes. Keep the window coverings pulled to the side, and use blinds for privacy and light control.

If you are renovating the space, consider enlarging small windows or even taking out a wall to create the illusion of more space in the home. If natural lighting cannot be maximized, ensure that you have ample artificial light. This may include ambient and task lighting that reaches all corners of the room. Regardless of the type of light in the space, decorating the walls with mirrors is a smart idea. Mirrors reflect any light in the space, and they magnify this light as a result. If possible, place mirrors on the opposite side of the room where the windows are located for maximum effect

Don’t Forget the Importance of Storage 


Small spaces are typically challenged by a lack of adequate storage space. The result of this deficiency is usually items cluttered in various corners of the room, stacked on tables and more. As you might imagine, this type of clutter can make the space feel claustrophobic and smaller than it actually is.

Removing all unnecessary items from this area is a first step. However, there are likely some items that you need or want to keep in this specific area of your home as well. There are various creative storage solutions that you can consider. For example, buying a coffee table with a hidden storage solution is one idea that may work well in your room. Vertical shelving or even hanging shelves can also be used to maximize the use of space.

Learn How to NOT Make Poor Furniture Decisions 


You understandably have specific intended uses in mind for a small space in your home. For example, you may want to create enough seating space for your family and perhaps a few friends to sit comfortably. However, in a smaller room, cramming the space with too much furniture can create an uncomfortable situation. People may barely have room to move around.

More than that, very large furnishings or too many furnishings can make the space feel tighter and cramped. When you select seating, choose pieces that are to scale with the size of the space and that most closely meet your needs. It may be smart to choose sofas, chairs and tables that extend the line of sight underneath them to create the illusion of more space.

Remember that the colors and patterns of these pieces can also affect the overall feel of the room. Some pieces may even have multiple purposes and serve the function of two separate items. For example, an end table may also have built-in storage underneath it. Some vertical bookcases have built-in lights. Spend time exploring all options with a creative mentality in mind.

Not Creating a Focal Point is a Mistake


Another common mistake that people make when decorating a small area is to make the space bland and uniform. An important decorating element that can be used to create the illusion of space is a focal point, such as an accent wall or a noticeable wall hanging.

For the best results, this focal point will be located directly across from the primary entry point or doorway in the room. It is the first thing that people will notice when they walk into the room. While you want to create a focal point in the room, it is also important that the room has ample balance for a pleasing ambiance.

Final Thoughts

While many people approach decorating by simply choosing pieces that are appealing to them, you can see that there are many other factors at play. When you are tasked with the challenge of decorating a smaller area of your home, these factors become even more significant. Now that you are aware of some of the ways people err when decorating a smaller area of the home, you can make a thoughtful and strategic decorating plan. Remember that each of these concepts has a different impact on your space, and you should blend them all in your decorating plan for the best results.


Bruce MacDonald leads the team at MacDonald Hardwoods, a Denver-based hardwood flooring company. For over three decades they have serviced Colorado with hardwood installations and cleaning, flooring equipment rental and conducted flooring installation classes.

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