If you’re like me, you’ve rented many apartments and/or small houses in your life, and only spent the money, and time to decorate minimally. Maybe you are an awesomely important and busy person who doesn’t have the time to pay attention to your decor, since you are hardly home anyways. Do you have style that is larger than your small apartment, but don’t have the bucks to style a lavish home base? Do you suffer from small-space-good-taste-itis? Then I have some very helpful tips to make your small space not only seem larger, but for it to look fabulously decorated and seem like you spent way more money than you did.
Mirrors: Mirrors not only brighten up your space by reflecting light into dark spaces, but they also reflect the width, and or depth of your apartment deep into the mirror, making your place look twice as big. The bigger the mirror, the bigger the space looks. You don’t want to get one so big that it takes up your whole wall and therefore taking up too much space.
Layering mirrors is a good way to create a bright grouping. Placed in a corner, they reflect the light from the rest of the room, making the space seem larger.
This is a nice way to group mirrors that don’t match, by selecting ones without frames. It’s a great way to bring in the sunlight.
This wall of mirrors would work well for a small narrow space to elongate it, or in a bedroom or other small room with low light. It would be a great way to reflect light into the space.
Let there be light! One great way to make a small space seem larger is to let the light in. While dark curtains are great for sleeping in, light or sheer curtains are a great way to let any natural light in while still lending a hand to privacy. Using brighter bulbs in your lamps will also shine some light in your small space, and keep the dark from creeping in the corners. Try using a CFL (compact flourescent lightbulb). Not only will you save money on your energy bill, (A CFL of 15 watts is about equal to a standard bulb of 60 watts and will last over 1000 hours longer) your light will shine brighter.
This room looks larger than it is with it’s light airy curtains, and pastel accent colors. One great trick to making your windows look larger than they are is to hang them on the outside of the windows.
This is a great example of how to hang window treatments.
The curtains in this room bring in ample amount of light, and make the room look taller with the way that they are mounted up high by the ceiling.
Paint: If you choose the right paint colors, your space will not only look bigger than it is, it will also look fresher, newer, cleaner, and more stylish, for little money. Most landlords would love for you to paint the walls, in a neutral, approved color of course. And some will even let you paint the wall if you paint it back to the original color when you leave. Using a crisp gray with a hint of purple is a popular color right now, and will make the room look large, and glamourous, with the way it will fool the eye into seeming almost shimmery, and metallic. A light blue will bring the outdoors in, and bringing the wall color onto the ceiling will make the room seem open and airy (as long as the color is light enough.)
This beachy, natural looking room with it’s brightly colored walls is perfectly designed. Both rooms seem to flow together into one, and the light furniture opens the space up.
This example is proof that gray doesn’t have to be a cold sterile color. Mixed with creams, neutrals, and deep wood tones, it is a very warm and inviting color.
Painting one wall is an inexpensive way to add instant style. You can choose a brighter and more outgoing color without having it feel overwhelming. The mirror on this wall reflects into the bright areas of the room, opening up the dark wall. In this picture: Try Hallman Lindsay’s colors “Dusty Path” and “White Lightning” to re-create this look.
Art: You can add style and personality to a room with a simple piece of art. I have many friends that are artists, and have very different style, and would love a chance to paint a picture (for a small fee) for a friend, and have their art enjoyed. You can also purchase a nice piece of art for a small price at retail stores like Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and many furniture stores. You can even browse your local art galleries for inspiration to do your own art.
The art on this wall is the perfect size to fill the space. Not overly large and obscene, or too small. Too many pieces of small art grouped together can sometimes look clutter-y, and mis-matched. Large art draws the eye over a larger area of the space, making the wall look bigger.
This is a piece of art by a personal friend of mine, Tatiana. You can see more on her Facebook page, under “Tatiana Le’Artist”. Amazing, cheerful, and full of color. Love it.
Texture: You can add big style with a mix and match of textures in a room. A faux fur rug is great. You can get a big ‘ol piece of faux fur at the fabric store, and cut it to look like a skin rug for a fraction of the price of the real thing. A woven hemp rug adds great texture to a room, and is eco-friendly. Curtains that flow and drape with small splashes of color like fringe, or a pretty curtain rod look rich and add a little eye candy to a room. Don’t forget my favorite thing, pillows! Pillows are a great way to change out color and style for little cost, and little effort. You can splash some great color in a room like red satin, faux fur like a zebra print, or a beautiful cobalt blue.
These pillows add a great splash of color.
How cool are these?
Doesn’t these pillows from West Elm look expensive, and super cozy? Starting at $25, they aren’t too shabby on the budget.
Shop with simplicity and style in mind: When you are at the store, shop for what you love. Do you love it? Is it “you”? Then get it! You don’t have to buy something that doesn’t fit your personality just because it’s cheap. You want to make sure your room flows and that your style is consecutive. And of course, like I haven’t mentioned Target enough, it’s a great place to go that has stylish lamps, rugs, bathroom items, chairs, entertainment centers, dressers… and many other home accessories for a great price.
Where to start… Lost on your own style? Not sure what you are looking for? Hit the books! Check out Pinterest! Go through magazines, put post it notes on every page that jumps out at you and go from there. Did you love the rug in the picture? The sofa? Take your pictures to the store, bring a friend, grab a coffee, and have fun. Decorating is a great time, and even better when you see the end result! Happy decorating!