Top tips on decorating a small room
PUBLISHED: 15:19 03 December 2014 | UPDATED: 14:19 25 March 2015
Limited space should not limit your creativity when it comes to decorating smaller rooms. Interior designer, Charlotte Starling shares some tricks of the trade
Small rooms demand ingenuity when it comes to decorating. You may not be able to change the physical dimensions, but you can do a lot to influence the perception of a room’s size. Keep furniture to a minimum and get creative with storage. Cut the clutter. It’s important not to feel boxed in – so instead of choosing tall, vertical pieces like bookcases, look for long and low furniture like a credenza for storage, and then punctuate it with some verticals like lamps.
If you embrace the snugness of a small room and abandon the conventional rules like choosing small-scale furniture or painting the room in pale colours, the tiniest room in the house is the place where you can be most experimental. Spatially-challenged rooms can’t deal with a jarring array of shades, so keep contrasts to a minimum. A united colour scheme punctuated with a splash of pattern, say a chair or bedding, keeps everything looking sleek. The single biggest trick is to paint the room in one colour all over making the boundaries blur between floor, walls, ceiling and woodwork.
But something a little more unusual that really works too is to paint the ceiling in a darker colour with a gloss finish. This will reflect light and instantly add an illusion of space by camoflaging a low ceiling. Alternatively try using pattern to divert from lack of space. Small rooms look fantastic washed wall-to-wall in pattern; small bedrooms in particular look incredibly cosy with a mix of patterned textiles. When mixing pattern a good rule of thumb is to start out with one primary fabric that you love, then choose secondary ones which bring out one or two of the colours from the first. Mix large and small prints for maximum visual interest. If the worst happens and you don’t like it, it won’t take a Herculean effort to change.
Work out where the light in a room comes from and how can you maximise it. Mirrored panelling or mirrors strategically placed opposite or near windows will make the room feel so much bigger by bouncing light around. Keep window treatments light and minimal. Rather than using a blind - which would block out precious light at the top - use a single, inverted-pleat curtain that pulls cleanly to one side. Make sure the curtain pole is long enough to take the curtain completely out of the way of the window when it is drawn. Wall-mounted lamps are another space-saving trick, leaving surfaces such as bedside tables free.
Make the most of wall space where you have it, and use art to draw the eye to the parts of the room you want to accentuate.
In a tiny room good joinery can work miracles. Why not do away with freestanding furniture altogether? The spatial benefits can be extraordinary. Having pieces custom-built and shaped to the contours of the room means that the sky’s the limit, even if space is limited. Turn a tricky alcove into shelving where you can store extra items - or you can even use it in place of a traditional chest of drawers. Sliding doors are much more space-saving than hinged doors, which in small rooms can cause an obstruction. And remember storage doesn’t necessarily have to be in the room. Use corridors for built-in wardrobes and cupboards.