10 keys to unlock beautiful spaces in a small apartment

Srijanaa Sagar Srijanaa Sagar
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Compact living is the face of urban culture today! Many of us live in small apartments and understand the constraints of a small space and the consequent value of every inch. There are times when the small apartment feels much more functional considering today's busy-urban lifestyle and nuclear family setup, and then there are those times when the house feel too very small to accommodate your favorite couch or that family dinning table and remains visually and physically cluttered all the time.It becomes a behemoth task to ideate design and figure out ways to arrange the
furniture along with other household items, for achieving a more spacious, clutter-free, bright and airy home.

But, a few simple tricks can help you turn the dream into a reality and what once appeared a behemoth task will appear like a few small and easy steps.These tricks are based on the simple concepts of scale, light and movement which when manipulated can  lead to a beautiful, easy and practical space that appears voluminous and emanates style.

So, let not the small space confine you,  go ahead and re-discover the charm of your home with these simple tricks to transform a room of petite proportions into a spacious-bright area.


Choose a wise color scheme

The most obvious and well-known trick to make any space look bigger is to paint the walls and the ceiling in light-soft shades. Light pastel colors like white, creams, pale yellow, peach, light blues, light greens or even grey, tend to reflect light and make the room seem visually bigger, brighter and open. So decide on a color palette for your home by selecting a light single color and then layering it in it's various shades, maintaining uniformity through spaces and furniture fabric. 

Tip: Keep the ceiling in the same color as the walls to eliminate the surface boundaries and make sure to paint the skirting white.

You can go on to add some color and pattern through paintings, rug, cushions or other accessories. The trick here is to balance the lighter elements with darker ones to create depth and brighten the room.

Its good to change focus

Change the focus in the room from small spaces towards a creatively done accent wall. You can do this by painting one wall in a stronger color which will not only break the monotony of white walls but also add some color. Believe it or not, it will  create an illusion of more space! The accent wall can become the focal point in the room and you can draw more focus towards it by arranging the furniture around it. 

Tip: If you are not confident in choosing the strong color then hang a large- colorful artwork (vertical composition) to the wall. This will add vertical dimension and color to your room.

Lighten up the space

More the natural light in the room, more will be the perceived openness in space. During the day time, allow natural light to flood the interiors and at night, make the space well lit with wall lighting fixtures, floor lamps and track lights. When selecting curtains for the windows, make sure to choose the color same as that of the walls for a more seamless look. Hang them high, allowing them to fall all the way from the ceiling to the floor. This will make the room appear taller.

Tip: If privacy is not a concern, you can ditch the curtains all together or choose sheer drapes to allow natural light and outside scenery to brighten-up your interiors.

The choice of furniture…

Ditch your overstuffed heavy pieces of furniture and make way for the low profile-leggy furniture. The leggy furniture will create a sense of openness and the low profile will visually make the room seem bigger. For the living room, you choose a L-shaped corner sofa (also called a sectional sofa) instead of the regular 2+1+1 sofa. The sectional sofa provides efficient seating while utilising the otherwise wasted corner space which is created when arranging the multiple sofa seats. This one larger piece of sofa can be paired with two slipper chairs or ottomans or an accent chair and a center table.

Tip: Match the color of the bigger furniture to the walls. This will make it blend into the background and make the room appear bigger. The smaller chairs can be used to add pattern and color but in shades coordinated with the room color pallete.

Organise the clutter

Throw out the unnecessary items and unused pieces of furniture to create more space in your home. The remaining useful things can be re-organised and re-arranged to create an illusion of bigger space. This can be done through clever furniture arrangement (talked about in the next point) and create additional storage in home. The additional storage can be created in the form of shelving units/cupboards/ racks and by having multi-functional furniture items like ottoman table, day-beds, etc. Organised storage options will lead to more visible space in the room.  

Tip: The floor to ceiling high shelving unit will draw eyes upward and accentuate the vertical dimension of the room, making it appear taller.

Remember organised furniture leads to more perceived space

Organising the furniture appropriately can make a lot of difference. You can arrange the larger piece of sofa against the wall but ensure that some breathing space is left between the wall and the sofa. Place the coffee table and arrange the chairs close to it. Make sure to move out the furniture away from walkways and this will open up the space and make it feel larger.

Tip: You can also place the larger sofa floating the room to demarcate spaces and utilise the wall for TV unit or racks.

Open up spaces

Open layouts can give the illusion of a larger space and that is all we are talking about today. For a small apartment, it is a wise idea to open up doorways or walls to blend spaces together into a much bigger space (only if does not require major structural changes). For example, a living room can be a larger combination of a living, dining and kitchen space if you take down the walls that separate them. And, if incase, you do feel the need to demarcate functionally different spaces then avoid a solid wall partitions and instead go for a shelf partition. This not only will improve the sightlines and light in each room, it will also allow for an easier flow of movement.

Tips:  You can arrange furniture and place rugs to delineate spaces.

Use of rug to delineate spaces

Rugs can be used to effectively delineate functionally different spaces without creating an visual or physical block. If you have a single space, like a studio apartment, you can break it up with different rugs and create more interactive spaces within one. Go for a rug that is big enough to position the front feet of all your room furniture on it.

Tip: For a rug, choose a pattern with small repeats to help make your living room look bigger.

Add mirrors

Mirrors can create a greater sense of openness by reflecting light and views. Placing a large mirror piece will add more depth and dimension to the small space by reflecting the view and tricking the eye into perceiving more space. One can also try grouping smaller mirrors together for an overall bigger impact.

Tip: For maximum effect, position a mirror across from a window or reflecting the most used furniture/space.

Accessories with colors and patterns

For the accessories like cushion covers, throw blankets and rugs, keep the patterns small and delicate. One or two throw pillows with large geometric patterns will not do harm, of course, but, too many bold prints can make a tiny room feel cluttered. Also make sure to limit the artifacts to a few and bold ones. Remember, Less is more.

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