From The Magazine:
Design Tips for Maximizing a Small Space with Style
By Brian Ogan
The challenge of any small space is to make it functional without sacrificing great looks. I’ve designed several small loft spaces, from San Francisco to New York, and I’ve discovered that the following tips will help make even the smallest rooms feel big and stylish:
1. Choose gentle colors. Light colors are peaceful and make a small space seem larger. Painting the walls in a light color with the ceiling in a clean white finish makes a room feel airy and bright. Another trick is painting three of the walls using one color with the fourth in a muted or slightly darker shade of the same color.
2. Do not super-size your furniture. Overstuffed sofas and chairs crowd a small space. For a roomier and cleaner appearance, choose a few good pieces that are functional and attractive. Contemporary furniture, with its simple clean lines, minimizes the feel of a crowded room and can bring a sense of calm.
3. Eliminate Knick-Knacks. Although purging is difficult, be ruthless. A handful of small, colorful accessories and pictures will warm up a room without overwhelming it.
4. Create open space. If you can see far into a room, it seems bigger. Arrange furniture so it does not block views to windows and doors. Modern benches, stools, and ottomans are great because they do not obstruct views. If you get more ambitious, consider opening walls to visually connect adjoining rooms. Finish the cut openings with wood moldings to draw the eye through as if it were looking into a picture frame.
5. Add sparkle with mirrors. Reflective surfaces extend space and make a room feel more open. An oversized mirror on the floor leaning against a wall is oftentimes more effective than more traditional placements, such as over a mantle or sideboard. Consider placing interesting objects in front of the mirror to break things up, and use a mirror top to add shine to any table. A professional glass shop can make mirrors to fit most simple furniture shapes.
6. Pick unpatterned upholstery. Big and bold patterns on sofas and chairs are distracting and can take up valuable “visual space.” Instead, cover furniture with plain or textured upholstery to create a continuous flow. If you really love wild patterns, choose just one piece to have fun with (a zebra pattern on a single chair seat, for example).
7. Carpet creatively. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to area rugs. Contemporary carpets come in a variety of unusual shapes and geometric patterns, perfect for small spaces and odd-shaped corners. A striking carpet can also be the focal point of a room, attracting the eye and eliminating the need for extraneous accessorizing.
8. Simplify window treatments. Elaborate, poofy curtains block light and make a small room feel stuffy. Sheer fabrics are elegant and let the light shine through while adding softness and personality to most spaces. Usually, you cannot go wrong using colors for curtains and blinds that come close to wall colors.
9. Go see-through. Clear glass furniture allows light to pass through a room. Coffee tables and lamp tables with clear glass will give you extra surface space but won’t make a room look cluttered.
10. Let there be light. Dark rooms feel crowded, so make sure that natural light is not obstructed (a mirror can help reflect light from a nearby window). If the room does not get enough natural light, consider adding lighting that does not take up excess surface space. Track lighting, cove lights and bookshelf lights are just a few of the modern choices available.
11. Layer your bed linens. A large bed automatically fills up a room, even more so when it is covered with a bulky and solid color comforter. To make a small bedroom seem more spacious, choose bedspreads, shams, and throws that use a mixture of patterns and colors. A neutral bedspread can be turned down to expose blankets and sheets in slightly different colors and textures. Accent pillows in contrasting colors and bold, contemporary patterns add visual interest without taking up room.
12. Trim your headboard. To free up precious wall space in the bedroom, don’t anchor your bed with a huge or intricate headboard (or footboard, for that matter). Contemporary bed frames are a terrific choice, as many have sleek, small headboards that add style without taking up too much space.
13. Store with style. Storage options in a small space need not be unattractive. There are a variety of contemporary storage baskets, bins and folders that will help keep you organized with style. If all else fails, an interesting room divider will help hide any clutter.
14. Create an illusion. Give low ceilings an illusion of height by choosing furnishings that are low to the ground and by mounting artwork high on the wall. Painting ceilings in a clean white finish makes a room feel open.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
From The Magazine: