Design basics for a small home
Cut a rug
Large, oversized area rugs help to create the illusion of space. Used over carpeting or hardwood, rugs in lighter hues, in particular, can make a room feel larger. So get creative and start shopping for those floor coverings.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Employ one of the tried-and-true visual tricks of design by using mirrors to give the illusion of added space. Whether it's an oversized wall mirror, a strategically placed standing mirror, or multiple mirrors of various shapes and sizes, use them to make your room appear larger than it is.
Design to scale
Choose furniture that is sized appropriately for your rooms. A drop-leaf dining room table can help to maximize your space while giving you the option to expand seating capacity when you have company. Floating nightstands add efficiency to your bedroom without taking up precious floor space.
From coffee tables to dining tables to bar stools, clear pieces of furniture make your room feel larger by not taking up visual space. Strategically placed, clear furnishings can do wonders to give an open feeling to your rooms.
State of the art
Create a focal point to divert attention away from your lack of space. Design experts advise that large, oversized pieces of art work best in small spaces. Monet or Pollock not your style? Try having one of your own photos printed on stretched canvas, or use creative paint or wallpapering to achieve a similar affect.
Tap into unused spaces
Make the most of your limited square footage and tap into untraditional spaces. From closets turned home offices to new uses for the space under your stairs, try to think creatively about how to use every square foot in your home.
Stacking is a fail-safe strategy of small design experts. From stackable chairs for extra seating and stackable containers for organizing the kitchen to rollaway stackable shelves for home offices, stacking makes the most of your limited square footage without taking up precious floor space.
Check out the shelf life
Similar to stacking, shelves tap into unused vertical space and can drastically change the face and functionality of a room. Floating shelves offer added storage without taking up visual space with brackets or other hardware. Open shelving creates a more open feel than traditional cabinets and can give kitchens and bathrooms a dramatic facelift.
Make light of it
Making sure your space is well-lit is one of the easiest ways to make your home feel more open. Natural light will make your rooms appear airy and fresh while the use of multiple lamps will help to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Keep clutter under wraps
Nothing can make a small space seem like it's closing in quicker than uncontrolled clutter. Use a few key pieces of furniture with doors (media consoles or sideboards are good choices) to hide creeping clutter. Strategically placed baskets, bins, and other containers can help keep surfaces clutter-free by ensuring everything has a place.
Katherine West Slevin is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.