Whether it’s a shoebox sized city flat or “the awkward room that’s not quite big enough to do anything with” – small spaces have always had a reputation as being a bit of problem when it comes to making them “work” without them looking overcrowded, dark and unwelcoming. But with some clever interior design ideas from the pros, you can make a small space feel bigger, better and ultimately more enjoyable to live in. We’ve teamed up with interior design gurus Athina Bluff and Amy Brandhorst of Topology Interiors to find out how to make the best use of small spaces through some stylish hacks, which won’t break the bank.
Hack 1: Hang a mirror opposite a window
Simple but extremely effective – both in terms of cost and visual impact. The mirror will reflect natural light and instantly brighten up your space, as well as making the room appear more spacious. If you’re feeling creative, play around with different shapes or multiples to reflect as much light as possible. More light = more sense of space.
Hack 2: CONTINUE HALLWAY FLOORING
When it comes to floors, an easy trick to is to continue the hallway flooring into your small room. Creating an unbroken flow of space will make it appear as though it’s one big area and it also creates the illusion that the floor is expanding.
Hack 3: Stick To One Paint Colour
Try painting your walls, skirting boards and door frames all the same colour. Painting them different colours can actually break up the space and emphasise the shape and (small) size of the room. If they’re all the same colour, they will blend in and make the room appear bigger.
Hack 4: Cross Over To The Dark Side
One for the brave! Don’t be afraid of going dark in small spaces. It may sound daunting but dark shades – navies, greys – can actually disguise the perimeters of a room, blurring boundaries which can make a room appear bigger than it is. So, don’t feel like you have to ‘Brilliant White’ absolutely everything to achieve a sense of more space – trust us, it works!
Hack 5: Opt For Multi-Tasking Furniture
Go for dual usage furniture that can be folded / expanded as and when you need them. If there’s only two of you most evenings, opt for a folding table by weekday which can be turned into a 4-person dining table by weekend. Same for when you invest in a sofa – check to see whether there is a sofa bed option which will turn sitting room into bedroom for guests to stay. And always think about storage – storage ottomans, pouffes, attractive looking trunks, coffee tables. If there’s a design that also hides clutter (the enemy of small spaces), then do it!
Hack 6: Choose Transparent Furniture
When you’re considering furniture for a small living space opt for “weightless” or transparent furniture. The more you can see around the object (or though the object) the bigger the room will look as you’re allowing light to flow through the room and maximising the sense of space. Glass furniture, sofas raised on legs, skinny framed shelving – these will all help.
Hack 7: Light It Up
Ensure you have multiple light sources within a room to maximise light at night. You should aim to have around 6 light sources around the room which will ‘replace’ natural daylight and flow through the space, as well as being reflected from mirrored and metallic surfaces. [Metallics are also your friend for small spaces as they again reflect warm light, again creating a sense of more space].
Hack 8: Avoid Bulky Furniture
Bedrooms can be tricky if you don’t have any built-in storage and your bed seems to take up most of the space. Our advice is to again follow the ‘weightless’ idea. Avoid bulky, heavy furniture. Instead of a wardrobe how about a clothes rail for a lighter, more compact look? For bedside tables look for wire mesh / perspex or floor lamps that have a shelving element to them.
Hack 9: Consider Sliding Doors
These are a great alternative to traditional doors in places where you’re short on space and couldn’t install a 90-degree open door. Particularly great for en-suites and small bedrooms which just fit a double bed and also for wardrobes – if you don’t go down the clothes rail route – sliding doors mean you won’t have to fight for space with other pieces of furniture (or people when you’re trying to get ready!)
Hack 10: Think Vertically
As you don’t have a lot of floor space to play with, think upwards and make use of walls instead. Think floating shelves, wall lights, clothes hooks, wall mounted magazine racks, bike hooks. That will allow you to store things like folding chairs or display belongings without taking up valuable square floor footage. Also make use of dead space areas such as corners – adding wall mounted shelves into corners is a great way of maximising storage space.
Feeling inspired? Topology Interiors will be hosting special workshops at Habitat’s flagship store on Tottenham Court Road on Feburary 24. Sign up for tickets or head over to Topology’s Instagram page for more interior tips and tricks.