Designing for Small Spaces
As a city dweller or small-home owner in Pacific Grove, you know the struggle that comes with finding furniture for your place. When it comes to interior design, there are many tricks to make your space feel larger than it is – and Mum’s Place is here to help!
Doesn't Add Value to Your Space? Remove It!
The first, and possibly the most important part, is to start by reducing the miscellaneous items and bobbles that don’t add value to you or to your space. Take a page out of Marie Kondo’s book (if you don’t know about Marie Kondo, look her up, she’s amazing!) and say goodbye to anything that does not “spark joy.” This basically means, keep things that are useful, make your life easier, or have some kind of sentimental value. Not only will this clear out your space, it will also likely help you appreciate what you have.
Move Furniture Around
The next step is to explore all the dynamic possibilities of your floor plan. If you have had your couch, end table and side chairs in the same place for the last 20 years, try to move them around to see if there are any combinations that might make your room feel more spacious or improve the foot traffic. If you are moving into a new home and don’t yet have furniture, try sketching up a few floor plans with general sofa/chair/side table dimensions so you are prepared for all kinds of furniture possibilities!
Advantages of Multi-Use Furniture
Now the furniture is what we’re really interested in… and there are a lot of different ways furniture can improve your space!
Multi-use furniture will help you optimize your space by discovering hidden storage opportunities and encouraging you to use your space efficiently. Look for storage benches that can be used at the end of the bed, as ottomans in the living room, or as seating for a breakfast table in the kitchen. Even some sofa seats and chaises’ can be lifted to reveal hidden storage! Try consolidating your sofa table and desk into just one console table that you can pull up a chair to whenever you need to get work done. Expandable tables (like this Champlain Table with self-storing leaves) are also incredibly convenient. In case you don’t have a formal dining room, you can use a small dining table in your kitchen or open-floor plan space and expand it for occasions like dinner parties or holidays (and self-storing leaves are huge space-saving plus!). Nesting tables like these are great because you can pull them all out to create more surface area for a coffee table, or nest them all together to get them out of the way!
And not quite multi-use but still important, is taking advantage of vertical space. You can do this with tall bookcases or wall shelves. Trading table lamps and floor lamps for ceiling lights, chandeliers, and wall sconces will free up some floor space while brightening up the whole room.
Furniture Style, Color, Shape and Proportions
Another furniture tip is all about style. Mid-century modern furniture tends to be petite, which will help you to fit all your pieces into the rooms. The straight, sleek lines of these mid-century sofas, tables, and chairs will also make the space feel lighter, cleaner, and more spacious simply because there is less visual noise. If mid-century modern furniture isn’t your thing, you can also explore more bohemian styles with wicker furniture or natural wood pieces, like these. Similarly to the modern furniture, the bohemian style will bring about a more airy, light, and natural feel to your space.
Let’s talk about shapes and proportions when it comes to actually arranging your furniture. This part is essential, because even if you have all of the multi-use and low-profile furniture, you still need to make sure it’s in all the right places. Follow the two-thirds rule. This essentially means that your anchor piece, like a sofa or dining table, should not exceed ⅔ of the wall it is against. This proportion is going to be the best way to make sure your room doesn’t feel cramped. Consider round furniture as well, round coffee tables like this one, or a round dining table. While it may have the same dimensions as a square or rectangular version, the rounded edges will make it easier to get around, making your room look and feel more spacious.
Color scheme is going to be very important when designing your small space. Using monochromatic colors is going to be the best way to reduce the visual noise in your home, making it seem cleaner and larger. But this doesn’t mean you can only paint your walls white! While neutrals are a safe bet for small spaces, don’t be afraid to try some bold colors with an accent wall or chair, just make sure you are sticking to a palate!
Doorways Size Matters!
The last thing to look out for when designing for small spaces is to consider the size of your doorways! If your front door or the stairs leading to your 5th story walk-up are narrow, you might have difficulty getting some of these pieces into your home! Don’t let that discourage you from getting that really cool arch lamp or the sectional that fits your dimensions perfectly. Most furniture can be dis-assembled and reassembled in your home – but make sure you ask those questions before you buy!