There are many components to creating a comfortable and welcoming space; proportioning space to objects, and objects to space, is one of the most important ones. This is because the way we relate to a room determines how comfortable we feel in it. Getting the balance right between furniture/surfaces and the space that the objects occupy is the key to ensuring a room does not appear either too crowded or too cold and unwelcoming.
Key Point: The thing to remember when decorating small spaces is: the trick is not to reduce the number of objects (to the point of reducing the room to an un-livable space with no function), but rather to reduce the scale of the objects in order to give the impression/illusion of more space than there actually is! There are numerous ways of achieving this effect and reaching the perfect balance; the two key things to pay attention to are the furniture and wall/ceiling ornaments.
What to do about furniture:
To achieve the appearance of more space than there actually is, create space for the placement of more objects, and allow for freer movement in a small room, consider getting:
- Couches and chairs that are narrow, low, and have thin arms.
- Tall, raised furniture that lets you see the portion of the floor directly under it.
- Round, rather than square or rectangular, tables that allow for more movement around them.
- 2 or 3 small coffee/side tables rather than 1 large one.
What to do about the walls and ceilings:
Achieve the impression of higher ceilings, longer walls, and a create a less oppressive atmosphere with:
- Optical tricks; for example concealing cabinets and using more mirrors.
- Wallpaper: subtle, light colours and patterns can create more space, but even bold long horizontal lines can create an elongated effect!
- Unobtrusive downlights.
- The removal of cornices that can soften the wall-ceiling transition.
Key Point: Many people are afraid of over-decorating or placing too many objects and furniture in a large room and they decide instead to keep the room simple – this common mistake often results in large spaces reminiscent of airport lounges and large, cold, and official waiting rooms. Furniture can also have an aesthetic purpose, it doesn’t only have to be present for purely practical/functional purposes. Filling a room with aesthetically pleasing furniture and ornaments on walls and ceilings can help you turn a large, unwelcoming space into a cosy, warm room!
What to do about furniture:
Create a cosier, warmer atmosphere using furniture with the addition of:
- Large modular couches
- Coffee tables, side tables, sofa tables.
- Large armchairs that create strong silhouettes.
- Extra pieces of furniture that can serve aesthetic rather than functional purposes such as: étagères, consoles, etc.
- Separated areas for specific activities, for example a reading corner with a bookshelf and armchair.
What to do about walls and ceilings:
Walls and ceilings can be adorned with various forms of functional yet aesthetically pleasing ornaments, for example:
- Picture rails
- Bookshelves with displays
- Pendant lights
- Wallpaper with various patterns, or a slightly darker/warmer paint that can help soften the atmosphere of a room
- Large artwork, or many little clusters of artwork, or a combination of both.
No matter the size of the room you’re working with, it’s always possible to create a pleasing environment, and the above tips can help you do just that!