While there are plenty of McMansions popping up in suburbs across the U.S., many Americans still live in houses or apartments that aren't super-sized. So how can you make your small space seem bigger, yet not over-powered by decorating? Elizabeth Mayhew explains how to live large in a small space.
Decoding colorDon't be afraid to paint a small room a dark color; dark colors blur architectural lines making spaces often feel bigger (think of a black box theater). Just make sure that the trim and ceiling colors are from a similar palette.
Large, bold patterns in a small space can make rooms feel cramped. Instead, tone down color and pattern on larger furniture and add pops of color and pattern with accessories and smaller items to create visual interest around the room.
Keep it in scale Keep in mind the dimensions of your room when buying furniture.
Originally meant as a sofa table, most consoles are only around 14" deep and are a nice alternative to a bulky chest that can take up precious space in a small room. The console can be placed along a side wall, behind a sofa or in an entry way and is a great place to tuck additional seating, like upholstered rolling cubes. Choosing a geometric pattern like the cubes from West Elm is a small way of adding pattern without overpowering the room. Silhouette console table, $499, brocadehome.com; upholstered rolling cube, $99, westelm.com
Choose small-scaled upholstered sofas and chairs, preferably armless; armless furniture is less bulky and it allows you to seat more people. Gloria chair slipcovered in white denim, $745 and armless sofa, mgandbw.com; pillows, $24-29, West Elm
Reflect beauty Mirrors are a great way to make a room look and feel bigger — just make sure that they reflect something pleasing like a window or painting; you don't want them to reflect a cluttered corner of your room. Belladonna round mirror, $350,
Screen saverFolding screens can hide a multitude of sins. Place them in corners to cover up a radiator, air conditioner or a pile of papers. Trifold Nail screen, $699, ballarddesigns.com
Make it disappear
Use lucite or acrylic furniture because it takes up almost no visual space. Waterfall table, $338, plexi-craft.com
Stack and store
Nesting tables are a perfect solution for a small space. A set of three nests from West Elm compactly for an end table, yet separately, they offer extra table space for entertaining. The high-gloss saffron color adds a punch of personality. Nesting cubes, $199 for set of 3, westelm.com
Folding chairs have come a long way from the church basement. Now, they're actually models that are stylish and comfortable. You can store and stash them under a bed, in a closet or behind a folding screen, then bring them out when company comes over. Upholstered folding chair, $199,
Maximize wall space with tall bookcases filled with uniform boxes for storage. The boxes will help create visual order and cut down on clutter. Try a bookshelf with optional casters, so it can double as a room divider. Rolling bookcase, $549, westelm.com, Stockholm storage boxes, $9.99-12.99 and Pandan box, $34.99, containerstore.com