Making your apartment feel “right-sized” is part attitude, and part thoughtful application of a few basic design principles that can make small spaces feel larger and less cluttered.
Design Ideas for “Right-Sized” Apartments:
Smart use of wall color:
Wall color treatments are a powerful tool. It’s not just that light wall colors make rooms feel larger, and dark colors do the opposite. Pale greens, pale blues, and light cream colors all make a room look bigger, but they each impart a different feel to a room.
Painting wall trim boards an even lighter shade of the wall colour you choose can have a big impact on the perception of room size.
It’s worth considering changing up the colour scheme, so check with your property manager to see what changes you can make.
The right furnishings in the right places:
It isn’t a hard and fast rule, but really large furniture pieces – no matter how much you love them – don’t usually work in smaller rooms. Properly scaled furniture makes rooms look bigger.
Many pieces designed for apartments can be used for more than one purpose and/or incorporate extra storage space. Fewer pieces of furniture allow better spacing. The extra storage helps reduce clutter – a very meaningful contribution.
Smart use of colour and pattern in furniture and accent pieces:
When you start designing a small space, keep colour contrasts to a minimum and upholstery patterns muted. You can add colour and bolder patterns with accent pieces later.
Think room lines and focal points:
The longest line the eye sees in a room affects our perception of room size. If the line between the carpet and the wall, for example, is visible for much of its length, the room will appear larger.
Smaller and multi-use furniture pieces that reduce clutter help, but so does the way the pieces are positioned in the room.
Placing a piece of furniture a bit out from (or at an angle to) the wall can accentuate the impact of the line on the eye. Putting an attention-getting accent piece at the end of that line, or at a focal point between two lines further enhances the effect.
Lighting is the most important tool of all when it comes to affecting the eye’s perception of room size. The more natural light that you can get into a room, the larger it will look.
If you use curtains, make them sheer, and place supports close to the ceiling and wider than the window to make the window appear larger while allowing the drapes to be pulled completely clear of the window opening.
Keep the space in front of the window clear, unless it is obvious that a couple of hanging plants will look better than what’s outside the window. If windows are small or few in number, try using a floor-length mirror on the wall across from one of the windows. You probably want a floor-length mirror in the apartment anyway, so put it where it can serve more than one function.
There are thousands of fixture choices for nighttime illumination and many of them are inexpensive enough to allow for experimentation. Just make sure you have enough lighting power in each room. There may be times when you want reduced lighting, but rooms look and feel bigger when brightly lit.
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