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Tiny Spaces, Big Ideas

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Tiny Spaces, Big Ideas

Today's house photos are those of Archival Designs' Luxury Mediterranean Mansion, Caserta.

Living in tight quarters? You'd be surprised by how much your small spaces can do. With a few tricks (easy ones, nothing overly complicated here), your small rooms can be living large in no time.

Small-Space Scale

Scale - the visual size of objects in relation to one another - is key to a successful small room. But don't think everything has to be small-scale. Avoid oversize furniture, which can eat up floor space. Include a mix of small to medium-scale furniture pieces. And remember that scale is relative, so what looks like a small sofa on the showroom floor may be just the right size for your small living room. Always take room measurements when buying furniture.

Make Your Own Room

 

Similarly, use physical barriers to designate spaces. The front door of this home opens directly into the living room, but a folding screen creates a functional foyer.

Double Up

Tap into wasted space for storage in a small space. Drawers built in beneath this daybed corral files, extra linens, and more. Are built-ins out of your budget? Invest in a bed skirtand shallow plastic bins that can slide under your bed. The skirt conceals the affordable, but not always pretty, bins and the space beneath your bed now houses more than just dust bunnies.

Design Small Rooms to Multitask

If your house is too small to meet all your needs, gear spaces for double duty. A daybed anchors this living room by mimicking the look of a trendy, extra-deep designer sofa - and scores space for guests to sleep. Look for a daybed with a solid back for all-day lounging support. Cap off the ends with a pair of bolster pillows to imitate the rolled arms of a sofa. Two small tables work together as a larger coffee table but move aside easily to give guests more space.

Add Mirrors to Small Spaces

Hang a large mirror with a decorative frame (or prop it against a wall) to create the illusion of depth in a small room. Even smallmirrors expand the sense of space by reflecting views and light, but an oversize mirror like this one has a dramatic effect because it reflects a large chunk of the room.

Float Furniture in a Small Room

Create a sense of movement and make a room feel larger by floating big furnishings away from walls. Allowing elbow room between the wall and seating pieces gives the impression of depth and space. In this open floor plan, the living room "floats" in the middle of the space, creating a distinct living area within the combination kitchen, living, and dining room.

Make Small Rooms Feel Taller

Increase the apparent height of the room with vertical lines that lead the eye from floor to ceiling. A ceiling-skimming étagère draws the eye upward, making this living room feel more voluminous. For a similar effect, hang a collection of artwork on a wall that is arranged toward the ceiling. Addcrown molding around the perimeter of a room, or add architectural molding on the ceiling and an intricate medallion around a light fixture to enhance the details overhead.

Keep a Small Room White and Light

 

It's an age-old decorating adage: light colorsopen up a room, while dark colors keep a space cozy. To give your room the illusion of spaciousness, bathe it in white. White surfaces bounce light around the room, keeping a small space feeling bright and open. In this narrow bathroom, white walls, a white bathtub, and an off-white vanity reflect light, giving the feeling of spaciousness. Dark tile floors ground the room. White grout lines break up the tile, ensuring the black tile doesn't weigh down the room.

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  • Joanne Loftus
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