Small Spaces. They Don't Have to Appear That Way


Small rooms can be challenging to arrange and decorate in order to make the most out of the space. However, depending on the remaining layout of your home, a small room does not necessarily have to remain that way. Some homeowners feel limited with their spaces because they see the existing layout and walls as a permanent restriction. Not so! It is often possible to resolve small room dilemmas by removing walls, redesigning access doors and borrowing or reclaiming space from an adjacent closet or hallway, thus combining rooms to create a brand new space. It is even possible to combine smaller rooms on one floor and then recreate the incorporated space in a different location such as a basement or attached garage.

There are situations in some small homes where the purpose of each room makes that impossible and a small room must remain that way. In such cases, there are still options for making this small space more functional and feel larger.  Depending on the roof structure and room, it is possible to make a small room appear to be anything but by creating a cathedral ceiling or adding a consistent flow of natural light via larger windows, skylights, or glass exterior doors. Adding floor to ceiling windows and/or doors draw your eye to the outdoors and give the illusion that the room is so much larger than it is and the additional natural light can allow you to repurpose the room.

Wherever possible and functional, remove interior doors from small rooms. Either create pocket doors or a large archway to a hall or adjacent room to remove barriers and create the illusion of space.

Rooms can be redesigned into multipurpose spaces by utilizing built-in custom cabinetry that conceals a murphy bed, a home office space, and/or a dining table, depending on your personal needs. This type of cabinetry provides a means of reducing clutter and freeing up floor space when needed. By customizing your cabinetry, you can ensure that there is a place for everything you specifically need to store.

If your small room happens to be your bathroom, a new layout with different fixtures may help you turn a cramped space into a luxurious one. Through the use of floating vanities, pedestal sinks, multifunctional mirrored vanities, combined tub and shower areas (if a tub is desired), custom-built storage towers, or other options it is possible to create a functional tranquil, albeit small, space.

Decorating tips such as the following also help to make a small space appear larger:

  • Unclutter – Use built-in cabinetry, floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall shelving, and/or multipurpose furniture (ottomans with storage inside, trucks, etc.) to store away the essentials and discard the items you no longer need. Uncluttered spaces look airy and properly designed shelving can add a dramatic look. Be sure to colour coordinate your items or books and do not over fill your open shelving. Leave space –after all you are trying to create the illusion of more space. In a kitchen, include as many built-in elements that you can to store everything in an organized fashion (spice racks, pull out shelves, built in garbage/recycling receptacles). These will ensure that your counters remain uncluttered and spacious.
  • Continuity – Flooring should be the same from within the small room to the adjacent space. Continuity in colour, and if possible, materials, creates flow and reduces barrier lines. Continuity in design and colour is key in all aspects of the room.
  • Colour – Choose light or neutral colours for walls, ceilings, and floors as these work as a space expander. Darker colours define space drastically. When choosing your colour, consider all neighbouring rooms or elements that are visible to this space. They will need to be harmonious. The use of cool colours on the wall will make it visually recede. Use monochromatic shades of one colour for trims, mouldings, details, and even a few pieces of furniture. This will create a consistent backdrop for your favourite artwork and focal point. Drapes, if needed, should be the same colour as the walls. If privacy is not an issue and the direction of the sun will not cause fading of your floors and furniture, keep your windows exposed. The natural light filtering in unencumbered will make the room feel more spacious.
  • Simple Lines and Proportions – Keep to small prints or patterns or plain colour, and keep your lines simple. Do not add frills or unnecessary details. A larger piece of artwork may be more effective than several small ones. Much like the art, fewer pieces of furniture tend to reduce clutter and keep walkways free. Therefore, an oversized multifunctional furniture piece is likely to be more appropriate, even though the space is small. Keep in mind the more furniture and accessories you have, the busier it may look. Furniture does not necessarily have to be up against a wall. Be daring, but remember foot traffic rules and visual balance.
  • Electronics - If your room has a television in it, treat it as art by using a wall mount. This may allow you to discard any otherwise unnecessary cabinet/furniture.
  • Mirrors – Use of an oversized decorative mirror, wall of mirror, or several different stylish mirrors can allow you to reflect light and fool the eye; therefore creating the illusion of space. Mirrored backsplash in a kitchen creates the illusion of a much larger space.
  • Lighting – Not only do you want to maximize natural light through large windows and glass doors, skylights, solar tubes and/or archways, you need to consider lighting as well. Depending on the purpose of the room, you may want to consider adding recessed lighting (potlights), torchiere lighting, sconces, or task lighting to help layer the flow and draw the eye to your focal point.

At Vanderzalm Construction Inc., we are expects at renovations and additions. Whether you want to add more square footage to your home, or renovate your existing space to make it more efficient call us at (905)562-4463 or (905)684-5823 for a quotation today.