Laura Lochhead, Pocketspace Interiors
No one likes to feel overwhelmed in a small space, yet it happens so often. How many times have you thought "I wish this room could be larger?" Well reality check it isn’t going to get any bigger, but with my help we can make it appear larger. With every space, it has at least one good thing going for it – whether it be the amount of natural light, or the shape or something existing within it. Here are a few stages to help you on your journey of transformation.
Stage one: Basics
Lets start with the basics. Floor…walls…ceiling. Lets start with the ceiling. White is the key, as stark as possible. This will give a galaxy and beyond feel. It becomes harder for the eye to determine where it ends. With the walls, it is pretty much free range – except for dark colours. What I suggest here is light colour hues with a semi gloss to reflect light. Now this could be a beautiful pastel palette. No one likes the hospital feeling. Also while we are at it - don’t do a dark colour skirting trim. Choose a lighter colour than the wall shade. You may have seen a lot of homes with the ceiling colour white trim to pop the wall colour. Yes – this does give a fresh look, but it also makes the wall boundaries obvious. I’m all for breaking those parameters; so I would opt for a shade lighter than the wall colour. Up to you. And then there is flooring. This is a tricky one because not everyone can afford to rip up the entire floor-plate. If you are – wood go for lighter shades. Some people say to lay them on a diagonal. This works in theory but sometimes it can just look outright odd. Tiling – go for larger tiles. A physiological affect that because you think big, it looks big. Carpet should be a lighter colour and neutral.
Stage two: Selection
First of all we need to de-clutter your space. Figure out what really is needed for that space to function and then sell the rest. Just do it, it acts as a room cleansing process too. You will think its bigger because it is not as heavy with belongings. With furniture – choose colours that semi blend in with the colour you chose for the walls. For example if you have a big black leather couch it becomes the anchor point. The whole idea is to make everything in your space of equal value so it balances out. Decorate with items like glass, light wood tones, and varied textures. I would restrict your room to 5 textures, one-two patterns. Textures add a layered aesthetic; patterns provide vibrancy and rhythm to a somewhat neutral space. Rugs frame a space drawing your attention to a confining space, but if you have; to do a simple and bold geometric pattern, or a few shades lighter than your flooring to create a seamless merger. Also remember the walls. Using the space around the room for storage rather than a freestanding unit. It will take some of that heavy clutter out. I also like to place furniture or coffee tables on angles. It gives additional perspective to the room. Now re-add all your personal items that you had saved, and then take out a further two things...did'nt expect that now did you. But you will agree that it didn't 'need' to be there. Make sure the space feels soft, light, textured and still oozes a bit of personality.
Stage three: Lighting
Lighting is so important. We all know that good lighting can make or break a restaurant or bar, same applies here so please don’t run out of budget for this stage! Evaluate your natural light situation. If you have good natural light, you are lucky! But remember light changes all year round so you do still have to invest in some good lighting. First of all if you have curtains or blinds, make them look as light as possible. If it’s dark wood, then you will have to get these replaced or sanded back to original colour. Drapes, as transparent or at the very least as ‘floaty’ looking as possible please. Now add a few lamps, and don’t be stingy and not turn these on. Use them! If possible add a ceiling track. Pay attention to the dark spots in your room and try and trouble shoot them.
With these three stages you should be well on your way to a bigger, brighter space in no time. Like I said though, if you cant change your flooring – I would use that as a starting point for your process. Remember – if you cant change your room then change the way you think about the room!