In current times, with the development of vertical spaces and lesser built-up land, people are opting for spaces that are small, yet usable. With compact living scenarios and minimalism taking the lead, the demand for such spaces is more pronounced. Moreover, an endless pandemic has resulted in less human interaction. Therefore, the demand for multi-user compatible spaces has surged.
Architects and interior designers are having a field day catering to all of these and more. But the one problem that everyone faces is how to make these small and awkward spaces look good. In addition, how must one enhance the aesthetics of each room, and each corner?
Here are some tips to make your small interior spaces look bigger with more usable space.
The importance of space utilization and functional furniture
Noted architect Lee. F. Mindel–cofounder of the architecture and design firm SheltonMindel–famously said, “One should intend at creating spaces that transcend enclosure and become an art form.”
When doing up your small pad, go the Marie Kondo way: de-clutter and use any space, furniture or area for multiple things. A lot of shelving is an easy way out. Any awkward corner, storage beds, sofas, space under a staircase — all of them can be used to store things that are not required daily. These can be rolled up or put away until their next use.
While designing or buying furniture, choose items that can do double duty. Smart space utilisation is important for decking up smaller spaces. For example, a box can be used as a coffee table and also to store your drawing room linen. A convertible or wall folded bed is the newest thing on the block. A pull-out sofa cum bed saves a lot of area when not in use. Similarly, a kitchen side counter can be designed allowing use as a breakfast table, for ironing clothes or even for a child to sit and study under the watchful eyes of the parent who may be attending to other chores.
Choosing colours and creating visual balance
Along with maximum space utilisation, aesthetics needs to be kept in mind. The colour of a room makes immense difference as far as visual impact is concerned. It can make a room or space seem larger or smaller. Choose light colours or themes for a room to impart elegance. Balance the colour combination with the furniture, drapes and flooring.
One thumb rule to be borne in mind when choosing colours for your house is to select three colours. Then use them creatively in a ratio of 60:30:10. Use bright colours for larger rooms and cool colours for smaller ones.
When doing up your space, always try to keep your room visually balanced. This can be done by keeping all furniture below eye level so as to have wall space available aplenty. Ensure wall hangings are put up at the same height as curtains. These should be at door level. This will free up ‘negative space’ visually, enabling an easy view of the whole room. Doing s0 not only reduces visual confusion but it also makes the space look neater, bigger and more organised. Alternatively, you may place drapes closer to the ceiling rather than at the window lintel height. This will create an illusion of height.
Well known interior designer Juan Montoya summed it beautifully when he said, “A room should never allow the eye to settle in one place. It should smile at you and create fantasy.”
Mirror mirror on the wall
Everyone knows this hack! Place a life size mirror on one wall and see the effect it imparts to the room. Mirrors reflect light and make the room seem larger than it really is. For enhanced impact, place the mirror opposite a window so that it reflects the outside image. This will make it seem like another window and, in turn, make the room seem brighter and more spacious. Remember to invest in a good quality mirror that resonates with your room’s theme — one that is both affordable and comes with a hint of glamour.
Another great idea to use every space of your small home and make it seem clutter free is by hanging everything and freeing up more floor space. Place numerous hooks and hangers behind your doors and use them to hang your umbrellas, clothes, pots and pans. Curate shelves in unused spaces and put out the bulkier stuff to make space.
Sustainability is the key; less of clutter, dual space use and careful selection of furniture and colours will only make a small space seem more attractive.
Keep in mind what Aarron Walter, author of the book, Designing for Emotions, mentioned, “If everything yells for your viewer’s attention, nothing is heard.”