Reclaiming space in a small home
Knocking down internal walls to combine rooms may seem like a bold move, but it can help you make the most of the space you already have. A single open-plan room encourages a more communal style of living and can improve the flow of activity (and fresh air) throughout your living areas.
If you’re stuck with your walls the way they are, though, opt for a consistent floor covering between your rooms, creating the effect of one continuous large room.
Sliding or folding doors can give you back some extra room, as you don’t need to keep as much space free for when they’re open.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, consider replacing a blocky stairwell with a spiral staircase, as they take up less floorspace while adding a unique and unusual look and feel to your home.
Maximising interior light
Sometimes the problem isn’t that a space is small, but that it’s dark, creating a sense of being closed in. If your room is facing the right way, installing a bigger window could go a long way to brightening up a gloomy space. But what if structural changes are out of the question?
Here’s where your interior decor comes in. Pale, natural finishes for flooring, skirting, countertops, windowsills and furniture reflect more light from their surroundings, brightening up the ambience in the room.
Similarly, lighter, natural fabrics for curtains will give you adequate privacy whilst allowing diffused light to pass through. If light-blocking curtains are an absolute must for night time, consider layering them with sheer, lightweight curtains for use during the day.
When dividing a room, choose screens in transparent or translucent materials like glass or paper. Alternatively, shelves with no backing can perform the dual function of providing storage and separating spaces without blocking light.
Reducing visual clutter
Rooms can seem a whole lot smaller if they’re busy and full. In this case, minimising clutter doesn’t mean giving up your possessions, but reducing the appearance of chaos. Something as simple as painting a door the same colour as the walls can help it go unnoticed, adding to the sense of space in a small area.
Avoid big patches of intricate textures, like multicoloured mosaic tiles or large geometric carpets, as visually noisy elements can contribute a feeling of messiness. But be warned, you can go too far with this — plain, single-colour rooms won’t give you a comfortable sense of space either if they’re too stark and foreboding.
Aim for somewhere in between: start with a base of plain, light and neutral tones, and add small pops of colour and texture to add personality and life. Carefully coordinated houseplants, bright cushions, or even feature furniture will help you get the most from a small room while keeping visual noise in check.