Decorating Smaller Spaces

As smaller homes gain popularity, whether it is a condo, a rental, or a much smaller house, many people struggle with how to transition their furnishings from a large house to the new space. There is the consideration of smaller rooms as well as fewer rooms. Some creativity and planning is beneficial in order to achieve the highest level of functionality and comfort.

Start by identifying what functions are still important to you. Do you need that extra bedroom, for example? Chances are the games room and bar area will have to go. Is the office space still critical or will the laptop suffice?

Consider pairing up functions, such as an office or den which becomes a guest room when needed. Pull out sofas and wall beds are a great option for this scenario when there is limited floor space.

Create a room design for the main living area and for the main bedroom, considering all the functions they will fulfill and the traffic flow through the rooms. If there are specific pieces you definitely want to bring with you, fit these into your design. New purchases may be worth the investment, such as a small sectional instead of a couch and love seat which will take up less space yet offer more seating.

Set up your rooms for the everyday functions you need, rather than the occasional events such as having the whole family over. There is likely not the space for a dining room or living room which seats the whole extended family. Many condo buildings offer a guest suite which can be rented when you have overnight guests.

Consider a colour and style scheme which flows throughout the whole home. Not only will this increase the flow and feeling of spaciousness, it will make it easy to bring in a chair or table from another room when needed for a guest, and still look great.

Usually in smaller spaces it is better to place fewer pieces than to use smaller pieces. Be careful of small scale furniture which lends a doll-house feel. There is, however, a good selection of condo-sized furniture available today which is very appropriate for smaller spaces.  Carry a measuring tape and your desired measurements with you when shopping because everything seems smaller than it is in the big furniture stores.

Use colours and materials effectively to maximize space. Light colours tend to feel farther away and can make an item feel lighter or a room feel larger. Using fewer accessories, solid fabrics and subtle patterns can have the same effect. Glass top tables add to spaciousness as does uncovered glass at the windows. The interest and coziness we get from darker colours and busy patterns may be desired, but too much of these in a small space can overpower and diminish the room.

When buying new pieces, think practicality as well as beauty. Choosing an entry table? One with drawers to hold gloves and scarves may help free up your entry closet space. Looking for a side board for your dining area? One that holds your files as well may be really helpful while you use your dining table as a desk.  Or one that opens into a bar may be just the thing for entertaining. Side pieces have been developed for transitional usage, such as a coffee table which turns into a dining table.

Quite often storage can be a challenge. Purge what you can, identify what you will want to stash and in what containers, then install the appropriate shelving or cupboards in closets and storage rooms to maximize the capacity.

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