As a trend, small space living and working is fast catching on. Imagine Interiors, a Bangladeshi interior design firm with a global reach, reveals to you some things you should avoid while designing a small space.
Small space interior design can give rise to some pretty big problems.
And why is that?
Because, designing a small space does not merely mean making sure everything is at a proper scale. In fact, ‘scale’ is a superficial concept, in my opinion.
The objective should be to not draw attention to the size of the room; and to make the room appear warm and inviting as opposed to small.
And, as a leading interior design firm in Bangladesh, and internationally recognized, Imagine Interiors is well-placed to reveal all the finer details.
To start off, let’s see whether there are any general principles we’re following
You bet there are!
- Like I said before, the focus should be on boosting the size of the room in the eyes of the visitor. In other words, the intent should be to not make apparent that the room is small.
- Light, especially natural light, should be allowed to play throughout the room freely. This goes a long way towards making the room look cosy and inviting.
- And, yes, scale does have a part to play. You need to make sure nothing in the room is out of scale, that is, too big to fit in.
I think you’ve guessed this already. In a small space, less is more.
I know eclectic design – just snapping up small pieces and accessories that one fancies and keeping them throughout the room – is in fashion but that is really, really out of sync with a small room.
I call it the KISS rule – Keep It Spare and Simple.
Only keep what you really need. Also try to invest in multi-use furniture like beds with pull-out drawers.
Pro tip: Make a list of all the furniture you want your small space to have.
Don’t limit yourself to only what you think you need. Note down everything you want to have.
Now, start eliminating items that are similar in purpose. For example, if you have a sofa, a chair may not be necessary.
Next, see whether the remaining items can be made compact. For example, in place of standalone chairs, use foldable ones.
Finally, try to do a sketch of the room with your shortlisted furniture and see whether it looks cluttered. Adjust accordingly.
Scale things properly
In other words, ensure that nothing in the room appears out of place. ‘Out of place’ can happen two ways – furniture is too big or there are too many things in the room.
Neither situation is ideal.
You can go for several small scale pieces of furniture as you have use for. Or, just get one big piece to fill the room, giving it a sense of wholesomeness.
Lighting is the one thing that can really boost the image of the room and make it appear spacious and inviting. Especially natural lighting.
- So, at the very least, avoid dark corners.
- Do not place anything in front of the windows, blocking the natural light.
- Try to invest in some accent lighting.
- Make the main overhead light very strong so it can light up the entire room.
Pushing everything up against the wall
It might seem tempting to push everything up against the wall, freeing up space in the middle of the room to make it appear large.
Don’t do that.
It makes the room appear unplanned and cluttered. It can actually work the other way, making the room seem small and unattractive.
Focus on making the room a better space to be in rather than just trying to free up space here and there.
Trying to ‘whitewash’ it
This is a tendency that I find most peculiar – people tend to choose white paint for the walls for a small room.
Some people tell me they don’t feel like experimenting with a small space; hence they choose the least risky colour.
Let me say two things about that logic.
One, only the room is small. Don’t allow it to make your mind small as well. Think big. Think outside your comfort zone. Think bold colours. Experiment. Mix up colours and see how it turns out.
Two, white in most contexts, always looks uninspiring and tired. It will accentuate the smallness of the room, not attenuate it.
Pro tip: I know I suggested bold colours but you should also avoid deep red shades. They can make you feel trapped in a small room.
In short, to create a winning small space design
- Don’t think primarily about ‘scale’. Think about making the room warm and inviting.
- Allow light to play about.
- Try to keep furniture to what you really need; and even then, make it as compact as possible.
- Don’t push everything up against the wall.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with colours.
Keep these pointers in mind and your small space design should have your neighbours green with envy!