STRAIGHT FROM THE DESIGNER: RASHA AL-TEKREETI ON HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF A SMALL SPACE

Just like how magicians have their tricks to create an illusion, a small space needs interior design tricks to create an illusion that makes it look bigger. 

There are plenty of tricks that can be followed to maximize your space without having to minimize style. These tricks differ according to the nature of the space (residential, commercial, retail, hospitality...etc), the look you want to achieve, and the available area. 

The main points that you should focus on when designing a small space are as listed below: 

1. Choose the right layout 

Setting the right layout plays a vital rule in maximizing the space. Even with the space being small, it is always recommended to have flexibility on rearranging the layout. For example, rearranging the furniture in a residential space or moving display shelves around in a retail space.

2. Think thoroughly about your color choices 

There are contradicting thoughts about whether the light colors or the deeper dark colors make the space look bigger! 
Whether you prefer, light tones of paint or darker ones, here are a few tips that can help you pick the right paint according to your design intent:

o Blue based colors make small spaces feel bigger than the red base colors
o To create unity, you can use more than one shade of the same color. For example, applying lighter shades on the side walls and leaving the darkest shade to the back, this will add depth to the space as deeper colors make corners disappear 
o Paint an accent wall with a bold bright color that is different than the color on the rest of the walls. This will make the space look like it is receding.

3. Think vertically 

If your horizontal space is small, then maximize your vertical space. Use vertical displays and elements to draw the eyes upwards and create an illusion of a larger space.
The same results can be achieved by painting the ceiling in black or any other dark color. 
The usage of pendant lamps/decorative elements can also give the space a vertical continuity making it appeal bigger, if chosen wisely.

Photo Source: Burger Boutique Black designed by MMAC Design Associates. The BOH consumed much of the space in the layout creating a narrow walkway. The design is focused on creating an interesting vertical connection to maximize the space. The wall-to-wall flooring in light grey concrete finish is chosen to brighten the space more.

4. Use wall to wall flooring 

Avoid changing the flooring under spaces to highlight them or placing small rugs as it provides visual stops and so makes the area appeal smaller, instead, use wall-to-wall flooring. It can help making the space feel bigger by providing continuity.
Use light color flooring to brighten and enlarge the space even more.

5. Choose the right furniture

Minimal clean lines furniture is your best pick. Avoid small furniture pieces, for example in a living area an oversized piece would work better than a lot of tiny furniture pieces that clatter the room.

Use furniture with exposed legs to see the flooring under which makes you visualize the room bigger. Also, pull the furniture away from walls to create the illusion of spaciousness.

Another major tip is to make use multi-purpose items, like a hidden storage when selecting your soft finishes and fabrics, avoid using busy patterns and textures as they make the place look busy and decrease the visual space. Choose tone on tone patterns and fabrics instead to create a visual coherence that make the space feel open.

Photo Source: www.pinterest.com. The photo shows clever selection of furniture with exposed legs and clever choices of accent pieces. Placing them away from the wall and selecting wall-to-wall flooring helped to add breathing space.

6. Brighten your space with lighting 

Having more light makes your space look more airy, however, it is very critical to choose the right lighting techniques as it’s a two ended sword, it could make the space look smaller if not used effectively.

Variety of lamp styles is recommended including floor lamp, table lamps and pendant lamps that are well-chosen. 

Another important tip is to avoid using blackouts and dark curtains and leave the windows uncovered to allow for more light to pass. Sheer curtains can be used to soften the space, and if you need to have privacy you can go for roman shades or blinds

Photo Source: Frangipani restaurant designed by MMAC Design Associates. The double height shelving unit is used to connect the lower floor to the mezzanine. The shelving design was focused on creating depth in the space by using different types of reeded glass panels, reflective metal panels, and leaving some shelves open. This strategy helped to add virtual depth to the space.

7. Decorate carefully 

First thing to consider while decorating is that ‘more is less’.

Selecting a few accent pieces works better in smaller spaces than a multiple of smaller ones. 

Let the accessories create an illusional extension, the best way to is to use reflective surfaces and metallic finishes Placing mirrors on opposite walls gives an illusion of an infinite depth. Alternatively, placing them across a window way will reflect light and as a result will brighten and enlarge your space. When decorating your shelf, make sure your choices have lots of variety and depth. 
For homes, you can throw a pillow or a piece of cloth on the floor which makes it look like there is enough space in the room. 

With the modern world trending towards occupied and tight urban cities and the rising prices of properties, its more crucial than ever to efficiently utilize space while properties, offices, and houses are getting smaller and smaller. As a result, our work as designers is getting harder by the day. Using those tips, hints, and optical illusion will ensure you make the most of a small space. Hopefully, you have enjoyed this article and will make use of ideas presented throughout!

 

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