Max up your space….

Very few of us have enough space.  I am pretty sure Her Majesty or various Russian Oligarchs are not reading this blog… so what can the rest of us do? Moving house, adding an extension or building in clever storage, great, but can be expensive and time consuming.  Don’t we all have an area in our home that we wish was just a bit more roomy?  For me I always end up in houses with the world’s smallest entrance hallways (except, of course, when I was a student and didn’t care) and my current house is no exception! Well I would like to share with you a few design tips to make your tiny space feel bigger… that together with a good dose of declutter/recycling could do the trick!  Who knows, you may not even need to extend or move.

http://michaelchagala.com/resume/jazz/ colour

the colour wheel

One easy/less expensive way is to change the colour. There are a zillion books about colour, but when it comes to maxing up your space using colour, then all you need to know is the following.  Warm colours advance towards you and cool colours recede away from you. Making a colour lighter tends to make it cooler therefore recede i.e. pink is more receding than red. Reds, oranges and yellows will draw a room in and make it feel warm and cosy.  Blues, greens and blue-violets will have the opposite effect and make a room feel more spacious and open. Yellows and violets can be warm or cold.

source url why?

Well to cut a long story short…. warm colours have longer wavelengths and cool shorter.  Seeing a warm colour makes the lens in our eye flex inwards ‘drawing’ the colour towards you and the opposite happens with colder colours.  Interesting,  green does not make your eye lens flex much and is therefore the most relaxing colour. (e.g. green room in T.V. studios)

Green is relaxing. Source: muralspro
Green is relaxing. Source: muralspro

In the spectrum where there is no colour as in room below, (i.e. white/grey/black) known as achromatic – when tinged with a warm (going towards sand) tone will advance slightly and recede when there is a cold (going towards taupe) tone. In picture below achromatic only really works when there are warm and cool tones and plenty of texture.

source: Pinterest
source: Pinterest

 

The sand and and taupe family (below) are widely referred to as: The Neutrals and you need a good eye to distinguish between what goes and doesn’t ……… there is a multitude of colours to choose from.  My advice to you is don’t go crazy buying dozens of sample paint pots – choose a few and paint pieces of stiff card or wood to move around the room you will paint – don’t paint the wall as the existing colour will cloud your judgement and tint the sample. 

sand & taupe

By altering the perception of the space using enter site colour/pattern/texture/light we can make a space look bigger/wider/taller…. well to a certain extent!

 

colour alters room size 

In theses two libraries,  roughly the same size,  the green seems more spacious and tranquil, whilst the red looks smaller and more vibrant.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 13.33.11
Source: Pinterest
Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 13.33.41
Source: Pinterest

 

light ceiling/darker walls = rooms appears narrower and taller. dark ceiling/lighter walls = room appears wider Sketch by me.
Optical illusion – light ceiling/darker walls = rooms appears narrower and taller.
dark ceiling/lighter walls = room appears wider
Sketch by me.

pattern alters a room size

Horizontal stripes can widen a narrow room. Source: Pinterest
Horizontal stripes can widen a narrow room. Source: Pinterest
Painting diagonals on a floor makes it look wider. Source: Pinterest
Painting diagonals on a floor makes it look wider.
Source: Apartment Therapy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a doorway more imposing and create an architectural feature. Source: Apartment Therapy
Make a doorway more imposing and create an architectural feature.
Source: Apartment Therapy
Source: designsponge.com
Source: designsponge.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

foto © elisabeth heier Oliventrærne
foto © elisabeth heier Oliventrærne

Of course you can paint out the floor, walls and ceiling in a cool shade of white (Scandi style) to max your space but keep some items to contrast, (black door, recycled bench and metal planter) to give pop of interest…..

texture & light 

Having surfaces that are smooth and reflect light is a great way to maximise the space.  Another tip is to use furniture with legs because the more floor space you see the bigger the floor seems (oops – another blog!)

Source: Pinterest
Narrow hallway triples in size by simply using mirrors with a light ceiling and floor Source: Elle Decor
Narrow hallway triples in size by simply using mirrors with a light ceiling and floor
Source: Elle Decor

 

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

Sometimes you can keep a smaller space dark and just use floor pattern and gloss walls and full length mirror to create space.

At the end of the day,  when a room is super small, sometimes it is better to embrace it (as I will be doing with my guest WC in another post!).  Make things dark and mysterious add lighting for a bit of drama and make it special that way. As with all white, all dark needs that pop.

Source: thepottedboxwood.com
Source: anoushkahemple.com
Source: anoushkahemple.com
Source: abigailaherne.com
Source: abigailaherne.com

Thanks for reading and I hope that you might have found a little inspiration for your smallest space! Let me know…. would love to see what you have done.

Amanda x

P. S. I couldn’t sign off the post without of course saying that when you do paint your space it’s worth opting for a paint that is non-toxic.  Many paints leach into the air,  we breathe these fumes in  for months and years to come and is not healthy.  There is now plenty of choice……..

  • farrow&ball.com
  • nutshell.co.uk
  • auro.co.uk
  • liv0s.co.uk
  • mythicpaint.com
  • littlegreene.eu

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Author: Amanda Jacober

I am and interior designer sharing tips and inspiration on how to create your dream home and garden using authentic materials and sustainable practices

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