It could be the cost of renting or personal preference. Either way, living in a small space can be a fulfilling experience. If in doubt or simply feeling stuck with too much in a seemingly limited space, you can play around with some décor ideas and discover what different choices in creativity can give your living spaces; an ideal look and arrangement.
“First and foremost, if you talk about interior, you have to consider what makes up that space. You have the ceiling, walls and floor. Then you can think of the accessories that go into that room,” explains Joanne Awori, an interior designer with Koncepts-Infiniti.
She adds that one aspect that determines the size of spaces is how high or low a ceiling is.
“When the ceiling is low, the space tends to be very small and you find yourself feeling restricted with the type of lighting you can use. When you have a low ceiling, you want to avoid chandeliers, pendant lights and things that drop to the floor so that you have enough headroom and don’t feel like cluster phobic in the sense of having the light too low,” she adds.
In addition to consuming space, low lights naturally bring heat to the room Awori recommends the use of recessed, sport and LED lights in small spaces for their checked consumption of space since most of these sit directly into and onto the ceiling.
The interior designer advises use of a very light colours right from the ceiling so that they do not suck up all the light. For that, light and grey colours are ideal, something that Sheila Nakitende, director of Zaabu Interior Art and Design company, agrees and recommends too, observing that such colours are light on the eye and naturally create a feeling of expansion.
“Neutral paint colours work well in small spaces. Cream and grey on walls and on furniture are complimentary, with a painting with some mustard yellow or light orange. You can use a colour palate with your designer to get the best combinations,” Nakitende advises.
In an article on her blog, Feng Shui expert, Diane Gallin, explains that when she works with small rooms, homes or offices, the objective is to be sure that the space doesn’t appear to be cramped or cluttered.
Feng Shui is a Chinese traditional practice which uses energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. In an email with this reporter, Gallin, in agreement with Nakitende, roots for use of neutral colours such as white, cream or pastel shades for the walls and furniture as preferred choices since the eye and energy seems to flow more easily when not distracted by dark or dramatic pieces of furniture or art.
The US-based consultant observes that when one is organised, the chi energy flows unobstructed, like a river, and not get caught in a dead end. She explains that in order to make the space appear larger, it’s best to let lighting to shine to make the room appear more spacious and the ceiling appear higher.
“Windows and doorways should never be blocked. There should be open spaces around the room for easy access. This is good for bringing new opportunities,” she adds.
Awori also advises that windows should be kept open and light curtain used, running along high enough rods, above the windows, so that the longer the curtains are, the higher the ceiling appears to be.
Treat your floor
“When it comes to the floor, you want to use light colours. If possible, instead of using 400 by 400 centimetres, you are better off using parquet tiles of 600 by 200 centimetres and arranging them in a stretcher form which allows you make the room appear wider than it really is,” Awori further tips.
In accessorising floors, the interior designer recommends using rugs that have stripes and horizontal patterns in them so that they help make the room wider. Gallin roots for use of darker shades or earth colour on the floors and lighten the walls and ceilings to help ‘lift’ the energy in the room. On the other hand, Nakitende adds that the rugs and curtains have to be light. She says that when setting out to decorate small spaces, one can choose to have a theme to follow.
“It is best to choose one focal point for the room – sometimes this is a window with a view, a colourful rug or a lovely piece of artwork. The remainder of the space should be fairly neutral and not detract from that vision,” Gallin argues.
With small spaces, multi-functional furniture comes in handy, for example a couch converting into a bed or extra storage or a dining table that can be folded away, making the space reusable.
“If you are in a small space, you might find that a four by six or five by six consumes a lot of space. You can opt to have a foldable bed and have more room to do more,” she adds.
Nakitende tips that mirrors are another trick for small rooms since the reflections create continuity in a room. Gallin adds that mirrors make a room look larger, especially if they reflect a beautiful window view or wall with artwork. “A good way to increase depth of a room is to put a mirror directly opposite a window. That way, you have the light bouncing from the window into the mirror and into the rest of the room but also gives the illusion of the room being bigger,” Awori further advises.
“A good way to increase depth of a room is to put a mirror directly opposite a window. That way, you have the light bouncing from the window into the mirror and into the rest of the room but also gives the illusion of the room being bigger,” Awori further advises.