Small Room Decorating Tips

Small room decorating tips – Small rooms have their challenges for decorating, as you need to make your small room liveable and comfortable, but without being claustrophobic.

Let’s begin with color. Dark colors make a room appear smaller. In clothing, it’s well known that black and dark colors are very slimming. These colors will also “slim” your room and make it appear smaller. Avoid dark colors in large amounts in a small room, especially on the walls or (even worse) the ceiling, as this will turn your little room into something resembling a dungeon or cave. Darker colors are all right in smaller amounts and low down (e.g. carpets). But keep to lighter colors as the basis for your small room decorating palette.

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When we talk about the small room decorating tips, we should consider lighting. Windows and natural light give a sense of space and openness, even if the room is actually small. Once again, this is related to the narrowing/slimming effect of darkness. Even if all you are able to do is to add a skylight to allow more natural light in, do so. Another old decorator’s trick is to use mirrors in strategic locations. Mirrors will reflect light back into a room rather than absorbing it, and they give the illusion that there is more space in the room.

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Have an eye for scale and proportion when choosing furniture. You may be able to fit a large, comfy sofa or a big leather-topped desk into the room and still have space to move comfortably, but larger items of furniture will seem out of proportion to the room and emphasize the smallness of the room. Yes, you will need to make sure that you have enough space to sit down and/or work, but choose items that aren’t bulky – narrow legs and other details help here.

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Also watch out for the prints on upholstery – a big chintz floral looks out of place in a small room, even though it is bright and cheerful. Go for smaller prints like paisley or Laura Ashley style florals, or pinstripes, checks or plain colors. Don’t clutter up horizontal surfaces with too many ornaments and nick-nacks. This will really make the room seem crowded and claustrophobic. The same goes for ‘busy’ pictures on the walls with lots of detail. It can be hard getting the balance right with pictures, as a too-large picture can look out of place, but little pictures can clutter. Tidy up as often as you can. While you wouldn’t notice one small bit of dirt in a larger room, you will notice it more in a smaller room. However, looking on the bright side, you have less space to dust and vacuum in a smaller room.


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Choose items that can provide hidden storage. Divans that have drawers underneath, trunks doubling as coffee tables and the old-fashioned type of piano stool that has a hollowed out seat help you get the most storage area for your space. Be careful, however, with items that stack. You may be able to stack boxes, containers or shelves up to the ceiling, but this may dwarf the room and emphasize the small space.

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However, if you are in a tall, thin room, this is a wise use of space. From a purely practical point of view, bookshelves are the best things to have going from floor to ceiling (if you must), even if the resulting “look” reminds people of a library. However, this does give something of an air of sophistication, culture and literary taste, even if the shelf is filled with paperback thrillers and romance books, cookbooks and CDs rather than the glossy art books and leather-bound Shakespeares that appear in interior decorating books.

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