Six Secret Decor Tricks to Transform Small Places into Big Spaces


If you are a fan of Tiny Homes, you know that America is slowly evolving toward downsizing for many practical reasons.  Whether you live in a high-rise condominium in a big city (where square footage is at a premium) or enjoy a smaller home in the suburbs, creating a spacious interior design can be challenging.

What do interior designers know about using color, texture, arrangement and select furnishings to help make a small space look larger?  Simply everything, and the average homeowner can emulate some of the best interior design tricks and tips to recreate the look in your own home.

1. Mirrored and Transparent Accent Furnishings

The illusion of more space is created when transparent and mirrored accent furnishings are used.  Why does it work?  By allowing light to travel through, transparent furnishings enhance the appearance of spaciousness, and mirrored accent furnishings (such as side tables or coffee tables) reflect the light, creating a brighter, more open feel.

Some ideal design ideas including using transparent dining room chairs in the kitchen area, where space is usually confined.  Pair clear poly chairs with a wood table, or glass top table and a colorful area rug, to create an artful dining experience.  Bedroom night tables, and entrance hall tables are an excellent application for mirrored designs.  They enhance the light, without overwhelming small spaces.  Decorate lightly with minimal accessories on top, to balance the look, and avoid accessorizing mirrored furnishings heavily.

2. Applying a Minimalist Motif

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How do you feel when you walk into a room that has excessive decorative accessories, such as pillows, throw blankets, pictures frames, art prints and sculptures, or baskets?   If you are downsizing to a smaller space, the best place to start is by paring down your use of accessories by less than half.  The more accessories you have in a small space, the less perception of open space there is.

Using a monochromatic theme is a traditional interior design trick, that helps the eye create the illusion of more space.  Light colors and minimalist fabric prints can also enhance overall spaciousness, so avoid chunky accessories or the use of too many bold prints.  Bold color toss pillows can be added with neutral white or tan fabrics to add a playful splash of color, but stick to solid fabrics with minimal texture, if you want to create an open concept feel.

3. Hang Wall Mirrors

The Egyptians were the first to use mirrors at symmetrical angles to light large spaces, including underground rooms.  In the same way, the placement of mirrors in your home can help reflect natural light in corners where adding accent lighting is difficult.  Whenever mounting mirrors on the wall, remember to select minimalist designs, but explore oval or circular shapes, which are relaxing to the eye and unobtrusive in an otherwise neutral interior palette.   Avoid heavy wood frames, wrought iron decorative frames, or other designs that draw too much attention to the mirror.  In a small space, a mirror should never be the focal point, and can make a small room look even smaller when an ornate style steals the show.

Not all accent mirrors have to be wall-hung, as well.  Small mirrors can be propped up on bookshelf, and full-length mirrors can look charming by simply leaning against a wall.  If there is an extra space, install a wall mirror with hooks or hangers to organize scarves, hats and umbrellas. Surfing websites like Only Hangers may help you in order to keep all in well-organized way.

4. Symmetrical Placement

In a large open concept floor plan, you can get very creative about placement of sofa, loveseat and accent chairs and ottomans.  However, in homes where square footage is limited, stick with a linear, more traditional placement of focal furnishings.   Since there will be less furniture, try to keep accent furnishings to a minimum (they take up too much space), and stick instead with a quality sofa and one chair, versus a love seat and multiple pieces of accent seating.

If your sofa is going to be the focal point of your living room area, embellish it with a shelf and a collection of accessories above it, including picture frames and art.  It’s a great look, and one that draws the eye to the center of the room, creating impact in an otherwise neutral floor plan.

5. Upstaging Neutral with Accent Colors

Many people think that a small space means a palette of only neutral colors; but that is not the case.  You can cleverly combine bright splashes of color to harmoniously accent neutral furnishings.  Choose quality accessories or object d’art to stand out in your decor.  As the eye travels to a bright toss pillow, or an elegant vase, it is still relaxed as the color is framed as a point of interest among other more calming neutral themes.

In fact, a small space without the addition of a few choice focal colors can be sterile and feel boring.  Avoid using too many bright colors, or competing patterns or stripes in a small space, as the textures can clash and become overwhelming.

6. Reduce Texture Elements

When you want to make a room feel full, cozy and organic, you add texture.  However, when your object is to create the visual impression of minimalism and open space, the last thing you want to do is add heavy pieces of furnishings, accessories or floor accents to your space.

Reducing texture starts from the ground up.  Avoid chunky floor rugs and carpets.  One textured toss pillow nestled in with neutral options works, but too many wild or obtrusive textures becomes somewhat stressful, in a very small space.  Adding a wood element or centerpiece to a clear poly table works very well, as it grounds the transparency of the piece.  Adding high textured accessories to a mirrored piece of furnishing clashes, and has the opposite effect.

Small spaces are not devoid of charm, elegance and spaciousness if they are thoughtfully designed. Take the time to devise a plan in writing, or sketch to visualize your space, or consult with an interior design professional for expert advice.

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