When my husband (then boyfriend) asked me, my two children and my dogs to move in with him I was a bit apprehensive. Not only because this took our relationship to a new level, but also because my rental house was 2000 sf. His house was already crammed with his own stuff…..all 800 sf of it. You know, I never thought I would really have use for the word “quandary” but this was a perfect time to use it. Yes, I found myself in a quandary. What would I do with everything? What I learned were some key points to merging two households. And I also learned some key points to decorating a small house.
FURNITURE: I found that low furniture gives the appearance of added space. If you like modern or retro looks, this would be perfect for you. I actually prefer low furniture because I am fairly short. It just seems to fit me better. Also, try to select a sofa that is on legs. There is something about allowing air to freely circulate that make a room feel bigger than it actually is.
CLEAN LINES: If you’re looking to create an illusion of more space, try keeping everything simple. Avoid floral or patterned fabrics over large surfaces such as furniture or draperies. Try lining up pictures or arranging a few items neatly instead of displaying every knick knack ever given to you. I mean really, is it necessary to display your grown childrens’ kindergarten clay ashtrays?
GLASS: Glass top coffee and end tables are a great way to give the illusion of more space. The eye is drawn to other parts of the décor rather than to the tables. A simple yet elegant candle garden on rocks or clear marbles placed on the table appear to float.
STORAGE: If removing clutter due to the lack of storage is an issue, fold a couple blankets and stuff pillow shams with them. Or put linens in trunks at the end of the bed. Trunks can also be used as coffee tables if needed. These are great for storing extra pillows, towels and those knick knacks you’re putting away! Underbed storage bins are also wonderful for tucking away winter clothing, Christmas decorations, year round gift wrap and more.
LIGHT: Light is very important in making a room appear larger. To maximize the use of light, try placing a large mirror in the room. Just don’t place it opposite an entry door. Some believe this creates a bad energy in the room. Another way to enhance natural lighting, is to minimize the use of heavy draperies. Blinds with valances are great, sheer panels are also very nice and create a soft light throughout the room.
COLOR: Paint is one of the least expensive ways to add dramatic change to a room, yet it can make a small room appear tiny. Instead of painting the entire room, try painting a focal wall with a color. Perhaps a wall that has a fireplace on it. Sprinkle matching accessories around the room like a couple of accent pillows, vases or candles.
SEATING: If you entertain in a small home fear not! Stick to one sofa and use upholstered chairs for extra seating. Not recliners, they’re too big and bulky. Upholstered ottomans are also great for an extra seat as well as storage. It is not recommended in small rooms to have both a sofa and loveseat. They take up too much space and give a cramped feel to the room.
Going from a spacious home to a very small home can be an adjustment, but with a little creativity, you’ll find that it cozy doesn’t have to mean cramped. You’ll also find out that it takes a lot less time to clean!