Here are some things that are good to do with smaller homes and apartments. ( If it is an apartment - get the landlords approval before building or doing fix up kinds of things. Pick the things that you can do for an apartment that will not get you in trouble with the landlord.)
1. Hang the window treatments as high up as possible on the wall. From the ceiling down to the floor. This makes the room look taller than it might be and it draws the eyes upward, for a feeling of more volume to the room.
2. If you can add built-ins shelves (some with doors and some without ) this gives you much needed storage space without taking up floor space. It is a good place for your electronic, to hide all the wires ( tv, dvd player, stereo.)
3. When buying furnishing - look for things that might do double duty. Here are some examples: * End tables that also have a place to store things in as well.
* A sofa bed, for guests to sleep on if needed. A hide a bed is out of the way until it is needed, then it poles down when it is needed. Great for spare bedroom.
* An ottoman can be used for extra places to sit, to set things down on them. Some even open up so that you could store a blanket in (for when you get cold).
* A bench that has storage space in it as well. More seating and storage at the same time.
4. Open up one room to another. This makes both seem larger than they are. Some rooms still need to be private, like the bathroom and bedrooms. Here are some examples of how to do this:
* The simplest way would be if there is a door - take it out.
* Change the door form a solid door to one that has glass pains in it. This lets you see from one room to an other. This also lets the light from one room into the other to brighten both.
* If you can enlarge the doorway, make it into an archway. This opens up both rooms, but they still are defined as two separate spaces. It gives the illusion of having more space.
5. Extend the flooring from one room into the other. ( If it is hardwood floors, have the length of the wood go in the direction of the other room - it pulls the eye into that room as well.) This gives continuity to both rooms.
6. The paint color of the two rooms needs to be similar. One room lighter or darker in the same color than the other room -two different shades of green for example. ( On the paint swatch that you get from the store, they come with more than one shade of the same color. Pick one shade for one room then pick 1 or 2 shades lighter or darker from that one for the other room.)
7. Choose colors that are lighter for smaller rooms. If you get the rooms to dark than the room feels like it is closing in on you. Do not forget the ceiling, they can be painted the some color as the walls or paint them a lighter color than the walls.
8. These are some things that add a great look to any room.
* Crown molding - lifts the eyes up. Use stain or a crisp white to make them pop. If you are using the same color on the ceiling and walls this is a good way to give separation to them.
* Vertical striped also help a room look taller. It can be wallpaper or stripes that are panted on. The stripes that are painted on can be done in a bold way with using two different colors or a more mild way by using the same color but one is flat paint and the other stripe is a high gloss paint.
9. If you have a nice sized screened in porch, a patio or a sun room, then you have more living space. Treat them like an other room. Art on the wall (make sure that it is weather resistant if it is out doors ), chairs to sit on, table to eat on and do not forget lights of some kind. This adds value to your home.
10. Scale the furniture to the size of the room. If the furniture is to big for the room it will make it look cluttered and crowded. Use one larger piece of furniture in the room to give a little weight to the room. No wimpy rooms here.
11. Is there a focal point in the room? A fireplace, a bay window are good focal points. Make them stand out. Paint a different color on the fireplace or on the wall around the fireplace to make it stand out. The bay window use the window treatments to help it stand out. If you do not have these, make a focal point for yourself. Use the large piece of furniture like a sofa, put it in the place that you see it as soon as you walk into the room. In a dinning room - a very nice table and chairs.
These are the things that you should not do.
12. Do not overwhelm the room with to much furniture. Less is more when it comes to small spaces. It only makes the room look cluttered.
13. Do not forget to make your architectural detailing stand out. Crown molding draws your eye up, but only if it stands out. Using the crisp white or the nice stains do a good job with this. Chair railing, wainscoting, baseboards and other things like this should not be forgotten as well. These things add interest to the room. If they are not standing out then they add nothing.
14. Do not use to many patterns in a small room. Use them as accents, they will pop more without making the room to overwhelmed with patterns.
15. Do not let even an inch of space go without the best use possible. In the top of the closet or cupboard can you add an other shelf for more storage? The back of the door can be used for storage of shoes in the closet. Pantry door can hold more food stuff.
16. Do not forget to use closet organizers so that you can use every inch that you have. Go though the things that you have, weed things out so that you can have the room that you need (give things to charity or thrift stores, this helps others out as well as yourself.)
To summarize, find furniture that do double duty, built-ins that add storage. Find things that help you to organize closets, cupboards, pantry. Use all the space available to you in the best way possible. We would like to hear how you use your space to the best way possible. Others are looking for ways to do that for themselves. Let us have your comments that others might benefit from what you have done.
copyright 2009 Dan and Deanna Finlinson