Month: June 2012

Energize small spaces with bold color

Decorating a small apartment can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be impossible! While a small living space can seem like a recipe for blandness, cramped living quarters don’t have to mean cramped style. One of the easiest ways to turn a small space into an inviting and visually pleasing room is to use color to your benefit. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to switch to an all-white palette to enlarge a small room; in fact, doing so can hurt, rather than help, since a bland room gives the eye nothing to ‘settle’ on, and will only reinforce the concept of small size. However, it’s usually a good idea to use lighter, warmer colors on walls, since they reflect light and open up a room, so look for a lighter shade of your favorite color: robin’s egg blue, lavender, or warm terra-cotta are all great options. Now, use similar shades of that main color throughout the room to create a unified look. This cuts down on the visual ‘noise’ and streamlines a space, and also helps to visually enlarge an area by subtly leading the eye around the room. To add depth without clutter, use complimentary shades throughout, with darker colors on smaller accents (like throw pillows or candles). A white sofa with a couple of warm navy throw pillows will look punchy and crisp...

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Using lighting to visually enlarge a small space

One of the keys to making any small space seem larger and more open is using light correctly. A room with plenty of natural light and lighter decor colors will feel much more expansive than an identical space with limited light and a dark decor palette. While leaving windows uncovered will probably not be an option, choosing the right window coverings will dramatically enhance your space. Skip heavy layered draperies for sheer window panels, and hang them slightly high and outside of the window frame to visually enlarge the window. Letting in lots of natural light is key to making a space feel larger, but if you must, use blinds instead of thick curtains, since they don’t have the same visually shrinking effect as voluminous curtains. Strategically hung mirrors also help open up a space, since they reflect natural light. If your natural light is limited, it’s important to add plenty of lamps with bright bulbs to mimic natural daylight; look for hanging, recessed, or track lighting over freestanding lamps if you’re eager to save floor space. Spend some time choosing quality lamps, shades, and bulbs, since poor lighting can make any space look smaller and will also strain your eyes when reading or working. Make a good reading lamp a nonnegotiable necessity for your apartment; it’s worth the loss of tabletop space. There’s more to using light in...

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Double-duty furniture and decor for studio apartments

Achieving a sense of order and privacy in a studio apartment can be very difficult, since everything is essentially packed into one large room. When that one room has to accommodate a multitude of needs including entertaining, relaxing, sleeping, and perhaps working you need furnishings and decor that can adapt to suit your needs. If you want to be able to section off part of a studio apartment say, to disguise a dressing area or a cluttered desk, or hide a sleeping area when company comes over a folding screen is indispensable. It can be folded flat and tucked away when you don’t need it, and since folding screens come in a variety of stylish colors and designs, they can be just as beautiful as they are functional. In a very large studio apartment, you can even use several to divide the space into separate rooms, essentially creating a bedroom or other private space away from the main living area. Double-duty furniture lets you easily move from one function to another. A sleeper sofa eliminates the need for a separate bed and is one of the most obvious choices of apartment dwellers, but you’d be surprised at some of the other options available. Chic coffee tables that raise to dinner table height for company; ottomans that double as storage containers; and wardrobes with fold-out desktops all offer you ways...

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