Below is a list of 10 things NOT TO DO when designing for a small space. They are written by Libby Langdon. S Interior Design added additional commentary where relevant. (Shown in italics)
The top 10 biggest mistakes people make in small spaces are:
Leaving your walls white: White walls won’t technically make your space larger and they lack personality. Spice up your space, have a little fun, and paint some color on your walls!
A great example of this is powder rooms. Chose a bold, rich color and wrap the room painting all walls and the ceiling.
Using large-scale furniture: Oversized pieces can hog square footage, and using better-proportioned furniture will help you to create a more functional and comfortable living space
It is best to use multi- functional furniture in small spaces such as a upholstered storage ottoman as a coffee table.
Lack of light: Not lighting your space effectively makes it look smaller, and if you can’t see an area in your room, it’s as if it’s not there! Capitalizing on natural light, while also bringing in artificial light is imperative.
Use light to highlight architectural details and artwork.
Using short shelving and cabinetry: Using full-scale shelves and cabinets that go all of the way up to the ceiling will visually draw the eye upward, making the ceiling seem higher, and your space feel larger.
Apply this same principal to your drapery. Bring it full height, ceiling to floor regardless of the actual window height.
Keeping clutter: Holding onto too much stuff and not throwing away clutter can make even a large space feel small, so when in doubt, throw it out!
I echo that sentiment ‘when in doubt, throw it out!” If you cannot bear to get rid of something, put it in storage and rotate bringing it into the room trading it out for another item, not adding it on.
Using small-scale accessories: Large lamps, artwork, candles, vases, and accessories will create the appearance of a larger space with more height. No wimpy lamps!
Think big impact with one or two accessory items versus a lot of small items that get lost among one another.
Not using mirrors: Mirrors reflect light, whether it’s daylight or lamplight, and they visually make your space appear and feel larger by adding depth and dimension to your interior.
When possible make sure the mirror reflects something pleasing to the eye such as a floral arrangement, or colorful piece of artwork.
Not capitalizing on your wall space: Think vertically and get your walls working for you! Mount shelving or storage systems up on your walls to display collections, and store additional items so that you don’t waste precious table space. This will also help to focus your items in one spot, so that your space feels more organized.
No one has ever complained that they have too much storage space regardless of room size . You can cover shelving with decorative fabric treatments if you want to add color and interest
Using all wood furniture: It makes a room feel clunky and bottom heavy; by mixing in glass-topped tables with wood pieces, you give your room a lighter, airier, and more open feel.
I adhere to this even in larger rooms. Mixing materials will always give you a better end result.
Using small area rugs: A small area rug can look like a postage stamp and make your room feel cramped; using a large rug creates an extended visual line and gives the illusion of more square footage.
Libby Langdon, founder of Libby Interiors and interior design expert addresses these very issues on HGTV’s celebrated show Small Space, Big Style where all of the featured spaces measure in at less than 1,000 square feet. Edited by Suzanne Lasky, S Interior Design