Ten Tips for Decorating Small Spaces
Living Large with Less
Bigger isn’t always better. These days McMansions linger on the market. Homeowners no longer covet more space than they need. Households are shrinking. Homebuyers are aging and the number of single-person households is on the rise. People may be choosing to live in smaller spaces or have a cozier apartment or second home, yet they still want to live with grace and style, to feel comfortable and pampered in their homes. Decorating experts at Hunter Douglas, the nation’s leading manufacturer of custom window fashions, offer these tips for scaling style and elegance to fit more intimate spaces:
1. Clear out clutter
Most of us will admit to having more “stuff” than we need. A really rigorous editing of possessions collected over time will result in your home appearing more spacious. Contemporary window treatments that provide an expansive view of the outdoors work wonders for creating an open and airy feeling. Hunter Douglas window fashions like Silhouette® window shadings offer the light-control and privacy aspects of a blind together with the softened light and view-through of a sheer and protection from UV rays. For the most expansive view-through, the new four-inch vane size for Silhouette shadings has the widest spacing between fabric vanes.
2. Create space
Create the illusion of increased space by enlarging openings
between rooms and letting colors flow from one to the other. Mirrors enlarge a space by reflecting it and enhancing the light. They also act as virtual
windows, creating a view where there is only a wall. But be careful to place a mirror so that it reflects something you want to see and don’t forget the real windows. Even if your window faces a neighbor you can have a view plus privacy with products featuring the Top-Down/Bottom-Up design option that lets the window covering open from the top and stack at the bottom, thus allowing light to stream into the room from above.
3. Consider color
Pale tones advance, thus expanding a room, while dark tones recede and shrink a space. So for a small room, unless you intentionally want to make it feel snug, choose lighter tones and keep the colors harmonious. Color can be used to connect rooms – the lines between rooms can virtually dissolve with a shared color scheme. Layering on color with a glazing technique will add visual depth to a wall. With an almost limitless array of colors, styles and fabrics from which to choose, Hunter Douglas has the perfect choice to complement your windows and your favorite color scheme.
4. Add texture
Remember that texture can be used in place of pattern to add interest without interruption. Hand-woven from carefully selected grasses, woods, reeds and bamboo, Provenance® woven wood shades from Hunter Douglas bring natural texture to your windows with 18 fabric styles. New Pirouette® window shadings with soft adjustable horizontal fabric vanes attached to a single sheer backing are also offered in stylish textured fabrics in a contemporary color palette that combine to deliver understated elegance to any room.
5. Divide and conquer
Even if space is at a premium in your home, you can create a home office or even a separate bedroom without costly construction. Hunter Douglas Skyline™ Gliding Window Panels feature a versatile track system that allows them to be used as a room divider as well as a window treatment. They’re a great choice for both dressing windows and redefining a room’s layout while adding an attractive architectural element to both.
6. Add height
High ceilings can make a small room appear larger. One way to fool the eye and make them appear higher is to add trim five feet up on the wall and paint everything above – including the ceiling – a darker shade than the walls below. Also have window fashions start just below the ceiling rather than at the top of the window to add the illusion of more height and larger windows. Dark floors can make a room appear higher, provided the ceiling is light, because dark tones make lighter colors recede.
7. Choose furnishings with flexibility
Even upholstered seating can move elegantly between the living room and dining room when needed. Stacked tables may separate to provide dining surfaces for a buffet meal. Free-standing bookcases can serve as room dividers. In addition to providing storage space, a trunk can double as a coffee or side table or as a bench with the addition of a cushion. Dress the windows with products like Silhouette® or Pirouette® shadings that offer a multitude of lighting options that allow you to transform incoming light and, in turn, the aura in the room to match the mood of the moment. For a handsomely coordinated look in a den or library you could also use custom-crafted Heritance® hardwood shutters as doors for closets and cabinets, as well as on the windows.
8. Entertain with ease
Even if you do not have a formal dining room or are staying in a small pied-à-terre you can still entertain with style. Invite your friends over and create a moveable feast by setting up a buffet on your kitchen counter and providing your guests with a variety of trays and folding tables.
9. Make rooms multi-task
In between meals, the dining table can be used for arts and crafts projects, homework, meal preparation overflow, a library or home office. Children’s rooms need to accommodate bedroom, playroom and study space. With built-ins and flexible furniture, even a small child’s room can do it all. The room has to be appealing as well as efficient to encourage children to enjoy being there. Brighten up standard white or wood-tone storage units with vibrant colored paints or fun decals. Add decorative ‘themed’ elements around the room that appeal to your child’s interests and hobbies. Keep the window décor young-hearted with Playful Possibilities™ from Nantucket™ window shadings – a collection of stylish window fashions available in whimsical colors you can mix and match to create fun effects at the window while providing the light control and privacy your child needs.
10. Break the rules
But carefully! No matter how limited your space, it is still your home. If you have a large piece of furniture you adore, use it. A lot of tiny pieces may actually make a room look even smaller. If you love dark colors, take care of contrasting planes by using a similar shade on floors, furnishings and ceiling.
No matter what the bottom line numbers are on your stock portfolio, value is always a good investment. Remember that products like custom window fashions from Hunter Douglas, which are of the highest quality and workmanship and meant to stand the test of time, are a long-term investment that deliver benefits over the entire life of the product. Hunter Douglas window fashions are not just beautiful and highly functional, they are designed to help provide solutions to important issues like energy savings, child safety at the window and much more. What’s more, Hunter Douglas products come with an exclusive Lifetime Guarantee.