Our home is our palace, no matter what the size challenge. Sometimes, small places are all the more charming and interesting because they give you license for minimalist simplicity, vertical boldness and secret storage places. But first and foremost, lighting is key in small spaces. If you are lucky to have natural light pouring in through your windows all day long, half your job is done; there’s nothing worse than those depressing overhead lights most apartments are built in with. So if you use your space for multiple functions such as working, entertaining, and meditating, invest in a dimmer for the illusion of many rooms in one little switch. Anitra Mecadon, host of DIY Network’s living room design show Mega Dens, told Woman’s Day: “I like to think of a dimmer switch as a mood switch. You can turn on the mood just by turning down your dimmer!”
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Choosing to paint your small living space in a neutral palette is also one of the best ways to allow the eye to roam freely; choose colors like whites and creams, so that your space feels more expansive. Coziness is also a must for a personal sanctuary, so choose diminutive furnishings such as a small computer desk, dining table, and armless chairs.
Drapes also create an atmosphere of luxury and add character. If you have very high ceilings, hang fabric to lower the eye’s vision and create a warmer space. Go for dark or velvet fabrics if you crave a writer’s or lover’s hideaway or lighter fabrics like gossamer muslin if you prefer soft and brighter light filtering though.
Some of the best furniture pieces you can invest in if you live in a studio apartment or small one bedroom is to buy furniture that moonlights as either a storage piece or fold-out bed if you have guests stay over. For instance, a luxurious looking leather multi-use ottoman can be used as a coffee table, a place to sit on or a place to store blankets and sheets in. If you’re ready for a new bed, consider looking at one that has drawers underneath or at least enough height to store some under-the-bed bins.
In small homes, it’s super important to maximize from floor to ceiling, so start thinking vertically. Start by hanging shelves above your desk for magazines, books, pictures, pottery, and cute boxes or baskets for filling with small items. If you can’t fit a desk in your place, opt for one of those retro secretaries that allow you to play peek-a-boo with your working table and store plenty of clutter away in its many drawers and cabinets.
Bulletin boards and magnetic boards are also creative places to display artwork, school reminders, travel plans etc. These don’t require a lot of space, but can be super helpful for clearing things off surfaces.
When it comes to furniture, consider buying transparent furniture like chairs and coffee tables because they play optical illusion games on your eyes and look less bulky than dark colors. Stackable tables and chairs are clever ways to clear space as well. Your sanctuary is a place that begs for non-clutter, so quickly clean up and throw things out whenever you have a free moment. Chances are you don’t need most of the papers or souvenirs that you’re keeping and if you haven’t worn those jeans in years, donate them. Clearing out even a few items a week will make you feel calmer, because remember, pack rats don’t live in sanctuaries.