If you're like me, I don't like to walk into a room and feel that it is closing in on me - this probably means that it is crowded with too much furniture and accessories - or just "stuff". I love an open, spacious feeling in a room - even if the room is small. Whether it is in a house, an apartment, condo or dorm, decorating small areas can be challenging.
One of my "fans" has asked me to address some solutions to the crowded feeling. In response to her request, I've enumerated some decorating tips below that may help with those rooms and areas that are smaller than we'd like.
Some of my suggestions are merely optical illusions which attract the eye and center it on the focal point. The end result is a room that feels larger than it is and much more spacious.
One thing to remember: dark colors usually make a space feel more intimate and cozy while light shades make a room feel more open and spacious. If you want that spacious feeling, choose white or light neutral shades for best results. "Neutral" colors can range from off-white to various tints of beige and grey. But any light color - green, blue, yellow, etc., can make a room feel more spacious. I'd like to suggest that you paint the ceiling white or off-white to draw the eye upward.
However, if you're in love with a dark shade of paint color, it will make the room feel more cozy and less spacious. So if you have your heart set on a darker paint color, you could use it as an accent wall. An accent wall can be dramatic and can be the focal point of the room.
Here's another idea if you're stuck on a dark color - use a high gloss shade of the paint. Light will reflect off the gloss paint like a mirror. Still another suggestion - paint the ceiling a deeper shade than the wall color. The ligher color on the walls will expand the space, while the darker ceiling color will make the room feel cozy.
I love vertical elements, such as moulding, which can draw the eye upward and make the ceiling appear higher. Make sure that you paint the molding a high gloss white for it to pop!
Horizontal elements, such as chair rails, borders or picture frame molding below the waist, draw the eye downward and make walls seem farther apart.
If you deside to keep or add a chair rail, paint the wall in two different colors, with the darker color on the bottom.
Picture rails and moldings generally lower the perceived wall height. If you wish to have them, for a more spacious feeling, paint the picture rails the same color as the wall.
Baseboard and crown moldings should be kept thin to ensure that the walls are accentuated.
To draw the eye upward, mount drapery rods for curtains as close to the ceiling as possible. The optical illusion will make the ceiling feel higher and may also may the window appear higher.
Vertical striped curtains from ceiling to floor will make the walls seem taller. (Match one of the stripe colors to the wall paint if possible.)
Sheer curtains will allow more light to enter the room -- adding more natural light in a room.
Ceiling lighting casts the light downward and creates shadows which can make a room feel smaller. Wall sconces and accent lighting (and uplights) reflect upward and make the ceiling appear higher.
Reduce visual clutter — try to keep it clean and clutter-free.
Make sure your furniture placement and arrangement is open as well. In furniture arranging - if you have room - pull the furniture away from the wall into a conversation area. This is an optical illusion but it will give the room the appearance of more space.
You can use mirrors to help to reflect light and expand the room. Tall mirrors can help draw the eye upward and make a ceiling feel taller. Be sure to consider what the mirror is reflecting for best placement.
Although decorating small rooms is challenging, it can be fun. Hopefully these ideas will help you - happy decorating!