Every person’s home is their castle and there’s no need to feel that it is inadequate just because it’s a little on the small side. A lot of smaller living spaces have every bit as much drama and livability as homes that are much larger. We all love a sense of home, freedom, and ease. Space and square footage do this for many of us, but space costs money. Until we can afford space, we most likely will live many years without it. This does not mean that our homes need to lack style and a sense of space and openness. To do this, they must be efficient. They can also be beautiful, however small. There is a joy in triumph over inefficiency and dreary surroundings. There is no need to put off living in a beautiful home. Perhaps your small home just needs some tweaking.

funky and colorful kitchen eating area with multicoloured wall tile and red chair

The furnishings that we choose are key to creating an open feel in a small space. Get rid of pre-conceived notions in order to be successful. Armless furniture is comfortable and can gain you many inches where previously there were none. Armless furniture has a contemporary look and is comfortable if it is well made. An armless chair gives the illusion of space. In a small space you are not restricted to using only small scale furniture. In fact, many people find small furniture uncomfortable. An armless chair can feel comfortable to some clients, and others feel that it is too much of a concession to the size of the home to lose the arms on the chair. 

funky condo loft living room with royal blue sectional sofa and rustic wall panels in blue

We live in interesting times where many are drawn to a more industrial style in their homes. Rustic and funky room designs appeal to many clients. Not limited to the younger clients, fun and funky appeals to anyone who has a relaxed outlook on life. Section furnishings do away with small, often not very functional tables and add a little more seating. Often the corner seat on a sectional sofa is the most comfortable seat in the house because you can stretch out and put your feet up. 

wide view of relaxed upscale living room with black wall colour, grey marble fireplace and lambswool chair

You may find that using only comfortable chairs, rather than a sofa is a way to gain space. A larger chair or sofa will still look good in a small space, and it will be comfortable to live with, as long as it can be brought into the space. Sometimes you just cannot get larger furniture into a smaller home. The use of single chairs retains the sense of comfort and you can put your feet up on a coffee table or ottoman. whether it’s to be a sofa, chairs or what have you, they can be upholstered in a plain or patterned fabric, and the colour can be bold or subdued.  Large artwork will also work in a small space. Once the sofa has been chosen, we can layer in colour and texture to make the space look  homey. An area carpet brings colour and texture and adds balance. Carpets come in standard sizes which likely will fit into a room in your future palace. Excellent quality carpets are meant to last a lifetime. 

It is a mistake to buy poor quality furnishings. There is no need to buy poor quality because you are in a starter home. Quality will still be quality when you are ready to move on. Buy what you love and you will still love it when you are in your bigger home. The area carpet will anchor the furniture and add balance. The sofa can be entirely on the carpet or just the front lets can rest on it. Both front legs must rest on the carpet; not just one leg off balance. The sofa need not be against the wall. A sofa table is very useful behind the sofa. Two lamps can provide light to read, or, a small office area can be set up behind the sofa, out of sight and this takes up very little space. This flat surface, used mainly to work, can be cleared for use as a buffet when entertaining.

Rich and even dark colours add presence and drama to even a small space. In smaller homes clients often think that colours must be kept light. Not so. Painting a room in a beautiful dark shade will not change the size of the room and make it smaller. In fact, it will feel rich and cozy. The room design will be far more dramatic in the darker colour and you are not left with the feeling that you are waiting until you have a large home before you are able to enjoy some colour. A coffee table that has a storage function is desirable. A leather storage ottoman with a tray on top provides the same function and more that we see in much larger homes. Toss cushions and throws can be stored in it. An ottoman is also an option for additional seating. A pair of ottomans create  seating for guests. Trays can make these an option for serving food in a casual style. Accessories can grace the top of the coffee table. These adaptations can be just as interesting as those in a much larger home. We all need storage but it need not be drab and merely functional. Bookshelves can be repeated to create a storage wall. Colourful doors can hide everything that lies behind. The entire thing can be concealed with a beautiful paneled blind to co-ordinate with the window treatment. When the contents are visible, magazines and cd’s should be contained in lovely storage boxes to avoid a cluttered look.

Shelves should not be over-filled. Family photos and vintage accessories add charm. Your personality should be present in your home décor. A series of interesting mirrors whether displayed vertically or horizontally with add the illusion of space as well as adding drama. They will only take up wall space, rather than floor space that is in short supply.  A mirror placed in the centre of a storage wall gives the impression that the room is far larger than it is. In the home office area, low file cabinets can be hidden with fabric and Velcro skirted panels. A dramatically coloured storage piece can make the room design pop. They will add a decorative element while being extremely hard working. A glass top with decorative wallpaper or photos below can look good all the time. When entertaining, the top surface can become a buffet. Storage boxes that are coloured to suit the overall scheme will look decorative, rather than utilitarian. Electronic equipment for the home office can be hidden below the desk or in an armoire. This is also a great solution for craft supplies. A small filing cabinet can store warranties, income tax receipts, and kitchen utensil overflow. Guests need not know that room functions are doing double or triple duty. Lable drawers neatly so you can find those things again when you need them. In the home office, buy new pieces of better quality than your old student pieces. Providing extra seating for guests is a problem in a lot of apartments and condos. Floor cushions suit the younger crowd, but not the over 40’s. Stack the cushions in the bedroom to store them. Graphic fabrics, wallcoverings, and large artwork pieces can add a lot if dramatic impact to the décor.

We have been working with a young career woman in Oakville to optimize the small living space in her upscale Oakville condo. She has a large window in the living room and another in the master bedroom. We will provide protection from ultraviolet rays in the form of fully closing draperies, but we will ensure a light feel with modern sheers. The sofa will be replaced and one armchair added. These furniture pieces will be comfortable and will allow a guest sleeping facility. The client enjoys a touch of dramatic red with deep brown. In a way, it is her signature theme and we will reinforce it with artwork. This client has dramatic taste but does not want to feel overwhelmed in her own small home. Balance will be a large portion of this interior design project. Window treatments, artwork and accessories in a small space can be just as luxurious as in a larger home. Window shutters with large louvers lend a feeling of presence and allow a larger view through. Draperies can be floor length as in a larger home. In fact, floor length draperies are preferred in any home. They draw the eye up to the ceiling and make the room design look finished. Roman shades or window blinds are also good window treatments for a smaller space. They are a vehicle for colour and texture and add interest to the room design. Hunter Douglas has a great many fabulous and luxurious choices that can be used to control light and look great in a smaller home. Artwork is a problem for renters who are not allowed to put holes in the walls. Large artwork can stand on the floor or on an interesting platform. Large pieces of artwork bring such impact to a room design and there is no need to wait for them until you are living in a large home. You may never move to a larger home if you are quite happy in your small one.

live edge sliding barn door in a transitional decor style living room

 Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home. You may stay a lot longer than you had planned, once you begin to like living right where you currently are.

Full Décor Service                                                                 Flooring

Colour Consultations a Specialty                                         Space Planning

Window Coverings including Draperies and Blinds          Accessories and Wall Art