How to Make a Small Space Feel Larger
While my husband has just over a year left of grad-school we are already discussing ideas of where we would like to move to and the type of space that we would like to move into in the years to come. Our dream is to find a small space, anywhere between 1,000 - 1,500 square feet on the out-skirts of a city. Homes like these are hard to come by in the age of McMansions however we've got our fingers crossed. After living in our current apartment for the past three years we have found that we really enjoy living small. The space that we're living in now (1,031 sq ft) seems almost too large for us as we've continued to minimize our possessions. We are aware that the potential addition of children may change things though so we're shooting for 1,500 sq ft or under. There are many benefits to living small such as less to clean, less maintenance and thus more time, more money, more energy, and less stress. However living small can have its challenges. If its an older home (aka there's no open concept plan) rooms can sometimes feel choppy, dark and closed off. These problems shouldn't be a deal breaker though! If you have the funds and a great design team you can always tear down a wall or two to open a space up. If that's in the cards for you though I have written some tried and true tips for how to make a space feel larger.
The addition of mirrors to a small space is one of the best known secrets the room appear larger. Not only do they add a nice designer touch but they reflect sources of light whether that be interior or natural light. Leaning a large floor mirror against the wall is always a chic, edgy choice.
Before moving into my own place I had every intention of painting every room in my apartment so that none of the walls would be white. I had for years dreamt of painting my living room olive green, my dining room brown, and my office black. I loved the drama and depth of these colors, and still do; however I have grown to love our white walls, that we simply kept. Our apartment is dark enough without the help of dramatic paint colors. I've found that not only does it feel lighter and happier painted white but larger as well.
Avoid anything whether it be furniture or wall art, that makes a space appear choppy. When my husband and I first moved into our apartment I did not have a clear plan for the look or design of our space. Gallery walls very popular and so I decided that I would make my own. Now while I love a good gallery wall, this particular one was just too choppy. The frames were dark and small. They just broke up the wall in a weird way. Furniture can to do the same thing when arranged in a way that is fighting the design or architecture of a room.
Minimizing the Use of Rugs
I never realized how the use of rugs can make a space feel smaller until I began to work with clients of my own. I would walk into their homes and notice that either there were a lot of rugs all over the place or rugs in the wrong places, resulting in the room appearing much smaller than it really was. While I love a good rug along with the layering of rugs (ahem), I believe that it must be done intentionally.
No Dark Furniture
Okay, you can have some dark furniture but it should be minimal. Similar to the white walls having light-colored furniture tricks the eye into making a room feel larger than it really is.
Keep Items Off the Ground
This is a trick that I learned while working in retail. My boss explained to me once how a space appears much cleaner, orderly, and larger if there are not a lot of items on the ground. Its okay to have a few decorative items such as a tree, basket, floor pillows, or a stand however the cleaner the floor space, the larger the room will feel.
Photography by Zoe Grant.
Both husband and wife coming from metropolitan backgrounds (Chicago, Norfolk and Northern Virginia) their desired look was Urban Modern with a dash of Scandinavian and Fixer Upper. The spaciousness and contemporary finishes of their home provided us with the perfect launch pad for pulling off this look.
One of my favorite things to do is to create a gallery wall. I think that they’re great as an accent wall, down a hallway or in a home office. So many of you have reached out asking how we put together our gallery wall in our home office, so today I wanted to walk you through how.
This fervor has continued over the years resulting in spontaneous gallery walls and painting of furniture (as well as many holes in the wall much to my husbands dismay); all the while teaching me many valuable lessons, one of them being that not every one is going to be as enthusiastic about the design choices that you make, and that’s okay.
We are still jumping up and down over here after learning that our home has been featured on Apartment Therapy!
Have you ever felt blessed by simply being in someone’s presence? That’s exactly how I felt working with the Rivera family on the styling of their home this past winter.
While the bones of the room are neutral, we added in pops of color via hanging plants, caned furniture, and the colorful vintage area rug. A sleek mid-century modern table is centered in the room, beckoning for a game of monopoly or for a cocktail, which can be concocted within the discreet bar-set up we made in the pie-safe.
Over the past couple of years, we have methodically worked together on styling the Hurt’s home, infusing their love of vintage and travel finds with the more traditional bones of the space. It has been such a pleasure getting to know Rebecca not only as a client but as a friend. Today, Rebecca shares with us a little bit about herself and how she is currently making room for peace.
After reading through my friend’s core family values, listening as they shared their dreams for their home and walking through their space, my heart overflowed with gratitude. I could clearly envision a design for their home that would capture warm hospitable vibe that they were going for; creating a space that would be enjoyed by family, friends and neighbors alike.
When you first walk into the Hurt’s home one of the first rooms that you see is straight ahead, the den. A small room, right off the kitchen and the sun-room the den is the gathering space for the family. Between the deep leather sofa and the cozy swivel chairs, there is truly a place for everyone (including their 60 lb. puppy, Bacon!) to rest and to recline.
Our homes are supposed to be our refuge but did you know that they could also be making us sick? Asthma, headaches, coughing, and allergies are just a few of the signs that you may need to make some changes to your home. Lucky for you, we've outlined some of the problem areas and what you can do to create a healthier environment for you and your family!
When discussing the design of her office, Meghan was looking for something that was professional while also being fresh and serene. We selected a soothing color palette of grays, blues, and warm woods with pops of brass and greenery.
We all feel this pressure, whether we are comparing ourselves with others or we are competing with an idealized version of ourselves. It is healthy to have goals and to use our gifts as long as you don’t let those desires distract you from the beauty of the present.
Most of y'all know by now that I love shopping second hand. Consignment stores, thrift shops, antique stores... You'd be amazed at what you can find. Whether your looking for furniture, home decor, clothing, books, or appliances - these places have it all and more; gently used and at great prices. Not only that, but as these pieces are "gently used" your automatically taking your style and sustainability game up a level.
To celebrate this turn of tides I recently partnered with my friends Anna Hubbard of Hip Innovative Studio Boutique and Diane Fulton of Front Porch Flower Co. to host a brunch for some girlfriends. It was a wonderful excuse to play with seasonal flowers, eat some wholesome food, and catch-up with the girls.
I've never been a fan of a perfectly precise bouquet much preferring something organic and wild. Local florist, Diane Fulton of Front Porch Flower Co. is the same way.
There are many benefits to living small such as less to clean, less maintenance and thus more time, more money, more energy, and less stress. However living small can have its challenges.
My rule of thumb is that when you can't find a piece of artwork that you either love or can afford, make your own! I can already see some of you are doing a double-take right now.
Not only are natural storage containers a healthier choice for you and your family, they are also less harmful to the environment. Bonus they are way more stylish and are often more durable! For example, items made out of real wood, especially older wood, are quite strong.
It may sound simple but incorporating trays into your home is a great way to minimize clutter! These objects are not just pretty and fun to use when styling but they are extremely useful in providing boundaries.
One of the services that we offer here at Making Room for Peace is getting your home ready to sell. Whether that looks like a decluttering session or a home-staging session, we are here to help! No matter what type of service your looking for, your end goal is to create a space that is bright and airy, spacious and clean, and one that buyers can envision themselves living in.
This 362 square foot home is tucked inside the quiet, artistic streets of Venice, California and is home to Whitney Leigh Morris and Adam Morris, along with their two pups and baby boy, West... By only having what they use and love, they are able to make their small space work. Whitney's motto is that: you don't have to live large to live beautifully.
Ever since I was young and particularly in college, I've been drawn to the chic, sexy, and timelessness of the color black. It goes with everything, it's slimming, and it's comfortable. It's safe. Color on the other hand takes courage. To me, it requires more of an investment. By wearing color you are saying to the world, "look at me! I am a confident and vibrant being."
Like most engaged couples, my husband and I were blessed to have been gifted with furniture from family. Even better, everyone was so kind in not being too pushy with their gifts. If we didn't like it or felt that we didn't have space for it, they were okay with that. While most of the pieces of furniture, we kept as is, one of the pieces that I altered was our sofa and love-seat.