Decorating small spaces

I have a bit of thing for small spaces, big cavernous open plan rooms leave me a little cold so I am forever cosying them up and creating a series of small vignettes, impromptu seating areas, a library nook that sort of thing. However I digress as we are not talking open plan today we are talking small, bijou micro spaces and how to make them work. Well its pretty darn simple as long as you don’t go for the less is more approach. If a room is small do not sparsely decorate – i.e. sofa, side table, few lamps – DULLSVILLE! Instead decorate as if you have the largest space on earth, stay with me here because I promise its the only way to decorate small spaces. Use every wall surface and plonk as many pictures as you can on them. Not only are you creating a super cool gallery you are distracting the eye from focusing on the size of the space. This is a no brainer but you will need to paint your ceilings out the same colour as your walls because the idea being we want to diminish the junctions between them.  We want walls to merge into ceilings as the space will look immediately bigger, truly it does. Next up focal points we need more than two, again its all about distracting the eye – this could be a mirror (mirrors by the way are essential for small spaces as they expand horizons and add depth)  a cool artwork or lamp or rug, anything that packs a visual punch.

Also anything multi functional that double duties as something else, so I’ve got a cool Ikea shelf that floats on the wall with hidden storage, coffee tables which double duty as storage, the trick is to not let any square footage go to waste. Build wardrobes and storage units to the ceiling not only will they look cleaner you can store a whole host of stuff like out of season clothes, bedding etc. etc. Nor do you need to go down the bijou furniture buying route, messing around with scale putting something to big in a room to small will actually make it feel far grander. Finally dare I suggest you cross over to the dark side not only will you be happier, you’ll cosy up the space so you will never ever want to leave.  Supper with friends, thanks but do you fancy coming here? Weekends away (amazing but how about next month), meetings in town feeling a little queasy any chance of skyping! That’s what I predict you’ll all be pulling if you venture across.

Delusional?

Possibly but I can dream right!

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16 thoughts on “Decorating small spaces

  1. You’re speaking to me again Abigail…spent last night googling “ceiling same colour as walls” while contemplating my small low ceilinged back hallway with six (!) doorways. Walls, ceilings, architraves, doors (bar two feature doors) all being painted out in the same colour. Pinned up instructions for the decorators this morning. I can guess what they’re thinking…

  2. I can “scientifically” prove you’re not delusional! I live in a modern apartment and have seen the identically sized bedroom in the apartment downstairs. Despite my having twice as much furniture I’m my room it still appears to be much bigger than my neighbours thanks to a large mirror leaning on one wall. My 12 year old by the way is a big fan and would love to turn to the dark side in her bedroom, unfortunately the landlord may not agree!

  3. I agree!! So when dealing with a small space, I know you said about following the painted wall through to the ceiling, which is okay when it’s a light colour (right?!) and the only decor you would add to the walls would be picture frames etc would you not contemplate painting any of the other walls in another colour or wallpaper the odd wall? Would you say, it would look too busy?! I really love layering and overcrowding areas (to a certain extent!) I think it gives so much character!

    • No when I say painting the thru to the ceiling I mean with dark colours, works equally well with light but its more magical and transforming with dark. You can totally add a feature wall of wallpaper of a different colour although there is snobbery attached to feature walls I am a fan and have a double height wallpapered wall with dark ceilings and dark walls

  4. You are so right about the dark side. I started with one dining room wall in our cottage and now have two down pipe rooms; dining room and kitchen, ceilings and all! And I thank you big time, they finally feel right, all cosey and gorgeous, after many different shades of impulse painting

    As my downstairs rooms flow from one room to the other, without doors, I now feel as if my living room (double apex ceiling, comes off the kitchen) and playroom (glass roof, off the living room & glass bi-folds onto garden) should join the party. The garden wall and fence are Railings, again big thanks for your suggestion, they look fab.
    So my big interior question is; down pipe or railings for living and playroom?

    Thanks for the introduction to the dark side & sorry for long message!
    Sarah ( bit of a paint chart anorak)

    • Both would equally work it all comes down too I would say the orientation of your house and personal preference. So I have down pipe walls in our west facing house and they get alot of sun during the day which is great but I prefer the colour when the sun moves lower in the sky and they go inkier and darker. Again its so personal I also have a railings hallway with rooms leading off downpipe so they co-exist and hang out together beautifully. Probably I not much help right?

      • Thanks again Abigail

        The problem, I know, is that it is a question of personal taste. And it’s that almost impossible task of finding a colour you love as much at all times if the day. Sorry to be high maintenance on the paint front, but if I put brush to wall again and don’t like it, especially as I need his help with this room, I could be on the naughty step! House is SE, that is the front of house faces this way and this is where my dining room is, this gets great sun in the morning which then moves round to the playroom in the afternoon.

        I know it’s putting you on the spot but what does your gut say?

        By the way your Pheonix lamp sounds fab. I wish we had some moochy vintage shops nearer as I never really get the time to mooch.

        Thanks Sx

  5. Thanks Abi, all great advice. My new flat is tiny! I am papering the veyr small hallway with black and grey wallpaper and painting the woodwork and ceiling black. The flat is all white at the moment and it’s making me feel ill. Everything just looks wrong against it x

  6. Thanks for this post, which is validation for me, Abigail! I need to have some thing beautiful to look at anywhere I turn ( probably what I actually need is therapy) and have kind of managed it in my small living room.

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