Yes, it's true; a small living room and interior design can become happy bedfellows. Although you may think interior designers spend their time in large houses with limitless budgets, a good designer can employ their tricks anywhere. In fact using a number of visual tricks, correct furniture and using color and pattern to your advantage, you too can employ these designer fixes to make your small space feel larger and less confined.
Make Friends With Pattern
You've no doubt been told before that patterns won't work in a small living room because they will make the room look busy. Well, this is only half true -- you really just need the right pattern to make the space feel larger.
Patterns are big news in the world of interior design right now as wallpaper is making an almighty comeback. Now, before you shudder at the thought of B&B style rose wallpaper, allow me to convince you.
Patterns do not have to be fussy, and neither do they have to be on wallpaper for that matter. Creating your own wall mural, trompe l-oeil (trick of the eye painting), or even stamping or stenciling a design directly onto your walls are all good technique to try in a small space. You also then have the added benefit that you can choose exactly the pattern and color that you wish.
The latest in wallpaper designs though really are a friend to smaller spaces in the home as patterns are large, and many feature metallic elements -- the light reflecting from these also makes the room feel larger.
Go careful with pattern and don't overuse it though or it can have the reverse effect. Definitely do not use it on all walls; especially if it's a slightly darker one like the fashionable gray print above.
Use the Right Color
The right color used in the right way can really transform a small space and make it feel larger. While you may not want to stick to the usual magnolia or cream walls, it does make sense to stick to colors from the lighter end of the spectrum to really open the room up.
Great color choices for small rooms, that also retain a modern feel, are:
- Sea Green
- Sky Blue
- Sunny Yellow
Of course some of these colors work well together, but overall you want to stick to only one or two main colors, using darker colors as accents (cushions, throws, pictures, art etc.). Overwhelming a small living room with too many color choices can make the walls feel like they are moving in, when we really want to be opening up the space.
If you have a small alcove or fire place surround that needs painting, try using the same color that you have on the other walls only in a lighter shade as this gives a greater sense of depth in these areas.
Interior Design Golden Rule: Go Large, Downgrade Clutter
Despite what you may think, using smaller or "half" sizes of furniture is not such a good idea as you may think. All this does is draw attention to the fact that you don't have room for full sized pieces, and can in fact make the room look cluttered.
It's better instead to opt for full sized pieces but not so many of them. A good plan is to sketch out your room on paper to see if you are making the best use of the space. Use cut outs from squared paper as your large pieces of furniture and play around with them to see where you can better place them; not forgetting the space underneath the windows.
Using a pedestal table for example means that you still get to benefit from the usefulness of a table, but the under section is open so the sense of space is that much greater.
Quick Interior Design Tricks to Use
If you are after some quick fixes to make your living room feel more spacious then why not try these for size:
- Use alcoves and hidden areas to hang pictures and mirrors - your eye is then drawn to these areas and you make the most of every part of the room. Of course mirrors help to reflect light which is another good trick to use.
- Change your curtains to a bold patterned fabric (only if your walls are plain) to create visual interest - a bold drape makes a focal point out of a window area. It also draws the eye to the lightest area of the room giving the illusion of more space.
- Look for dual purpose furniture. A coffee table that can also double as a storage space for DVDs will become a great addition to the room.
- Paper just one of your walls with one of the latest wallpapers featuring large florals or leaves.
- Stick to a neutral colored carpet or a wooden floor.
So there you have it. Now you can see for yourself how small living rooms and interior design tricks can work together so well.