Apartments are getting smaller and smaller, and that’s a fact. Unless you have a fortune to spend on real estate, chances are the apartment you’ve rented or bought (say, in tampines) probably is lacking a bit in terms of available square footage. However, this by no means should be a reason to write them off so easily.
Small spaces, though they have a plethora of merits, are sometimes also the hardest to decorate. Talk about small spaces and the usual tips come out: light walls, downsized furniture, clutter-free spaces. These tips, however, can make your place a snooze-fest. Thus, we have compiled some of the normal small space decorating rules and presented guidelines on why and how they should be broken.
Scale down your furniture
Having a smaller space does not necessarily require you to scale down or downsize all your furniture. Conversely, this doesn’t mean you should fill up your space up to the brim with furniture. They key idea here is to decorate with the right intent. Sometimes, just one single piece of bulky furniture can add a lot of appeal to a small space. For example, if you have a small corner or nook, stuffing it with numerous pieces of small-scale furnishings will just make things feel cramped and crowded. Instead, fill this tiny space up with a large sectional sofa. This intentional incorporation of a large sofa in a tiny corner or nook will make your compact space feel even more inviting and cozy.
Less is more
Less is not always more. The often-touted rule in small spaces is to keep clutter to a minimum. While minimal design aesthetics would suggest you progressively reduce and refine your items to the bare essentials, this should depend on whether it fits your personality and subsequently suit your space. Instead, you should be the one to decide how many pieces go into your space. If you like a more-is-more décor theme, then embrace it by showcasing your most treasured pieces. Just remember to keep the walls and furniture in soft neutral shades to act as a backdrop for your knick-knacks.
Paint ceilings a light color
We’ve always heard it: paint walls and ceilings a light color to bring out brightness, lightness and airiness. However, this does not mean that dark ceilings are off limits in small spaces. In fact, dark ceilings can certainly add depth, as long as you keep your space bright with light colored walls. One small trick you can use to make this idea work is to use a satin or a semi-gloss paint on your ceilings. Flat dark colors only serve to add oppressiveness. Paints with a sheen help reflect light around and will allow you to have dark ceilings while still keeping things light and bright.
Use one rug to anchor your room
Just because you have a small space, doesn’t mean you can only put one of each décor piece into your space. While conventional design wisdom would have you place one big area rug in your space, multiple rugs can work equally as well. When done right, using numerous rugs of different sizes can create different zones in small spaces. For example, you can use a larger area rug to delineate the living room space, and use a smaller one to establish your home office or work space.
Paint walls white
We’ve all heard of the tried-and-tested approach of painting small spaces light colors to keep the space more visually open. However, the days of light-colored walls in small spaces is coming to an end. Dark walls can also add visual and architectural interest to a small space (if it is paired with a contrasting lighter shade, that is!). Everything you do in a small space should have balance, and this extends to wall colors. For example, you can offset dramatic dark walls in your kitchen with white ceilings and cabinetry. White details, such as painting the door frames white while keeping the doors dark, can also create architectural illusions that help keep smaller spaces visually interesting.
Furniture should match
While matching furniture pieces do make your space look pulled together, this by no means restricts you to being matchy-matchy with all your pieces. Sometimes, a mismatched set of furniture can also make a bold and stylish statement. For example, incorporate mis-match dining chairs around your dining table in the style of Monica’s apartment from Friends, which is sure to have a big wow factor. However, to adequately pull off the look, you need to make sure the chairs are all of similar seating heights for the dining table. This eclectic approach can create a cool bohemian vibe. If you’d like a more contemporary look, just keep them all the same style, but in different colors!
Recessed lighting makes spaces appear bigger
While recessed ceiling lights can certainly enhance small spaces, you should not be deterred from layering your lighting options. While floor and table lamps might take up some precious floor space, they do bring your lighting to the brightness and style that you want. For example, an oversized pendant shade can turn into a beautiful focal point while still serving its purpose of illumination. If saving space is your concern, you can also add in some wall sconces, which don’t occupy any floor space at all!