Urban and suburban areas in South Africa have seen massive growth in the last few years, as more and more people are heading to metropolitan regions to work, live and play.
Of course, this means that the demand for property is getting higher. And to keep up with the demand, land that would normally accommodate one property would now become a space that can house multiple properties – ultimately this means that properties have been getting smaller and smaller, especially in urban areas.
If you find yourself living the reality of what looks – or just feels – like a matchbox, don’t worry! Below are seven DIY tricks that can help you make the smallest space look and feel into the roomiest area. So get your shopping lists and visual boards ready, once the lockdown restrictions are eased you can get down to your local hardware store to get the essentials and start with these DIY projects.
- Paint it neutral
Many people think that if they accentuate an individual wall in a room with a deep, darker or bold colour will make the space feel bigger – this is a décor faux pas from the 90s that is, sadly, still perpetuated deep into the 2000s; the only thing that it is accentuating is the tiny space.
Instead, paint the walls (and trimmings) of a small room in different shades of neutral colour such as white, off-white and cream – the brightness and contrasts of the white-shades will work wonders to open up a room and make it feel more spacious.
2. Draw the eyes up to the ceiling
While neutral walls and trimmings will have an expansive effect on a small room, a bolder colour on the ceiling can make the size of your room go through the roof. Why? A darker ceiling creates an impression of depth; in addition the darker colour immediately draws the eye upwards creating an illusion of height. Win!
3. Mirror, mirror on the wall, make my home the biggest of them all
The number one not-so-secret-secret of every interior designer is the use of mirrors in small spaces – especially with an oversized, full-length mirror in a central area of the home. The illusion from a mirror can instantly make a small space look large. For the really adventurous, create a statement wall by hanging multiple rectangular mirrors against a wall (this also helps elongates the space) or hanging mirrors on facing walls.
4. Create space – yes, you really can!
Furniture in a small space is all too often just pushed against the walls in the hope that it will help make the room feel bigger. Rather place furniture (like a bed or table) at an angle, which will help “breathe” room into the small space. One of our favourite tricks for small lounge is to place the couch slightly away from the wall and to add a narrow table behind it… And voila! Say hello to space.
5. Look out for multipurpose pieces
A cluttered room will undoubtedly make any room – whether small or spacious – feel even more crammed. While we can’t deny that books, blankets, toys and other comforts are all just part of living in your home (and that’s what you should do in your house, right?), there are smart ways to store these to make a house feel bigger. Invest in pieces that serve multiple functions like an ottoman that doubles up as storage space or a dining room table that folds down to a size of a side table. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to live freely in your home, without feeling cramped.
6. Dress your windows right
The right kind of window-dressing is one of the easiest ways to make a small room feel bigger. Keep the same colour principal mentioned in ‘Paint It Neutral’ in mind when hanging curtains or blinds for a small room – in other words: avoid dark drapes; in fact, skip the heavy drapes all together – rather hang light, thin sheer flowy curtains or white/light blinds as this will help add to the illusion of a bigger room.
7. Light the room bigger
Getting the lighting right in a small room can actually do wonders to make it feel bigger. For example, a harsh top-down light focuses all the light into one space, and when a room is already small, it will only draw more attention to how small the space is. Instead, incorporate a few smaller laps around the room; this will draw the eye around the room and, so, create the illusion of depth, height and space. Light-bulb moment indeed!
Do you have any small space tricks up your sleeve that we didn’t mention here? Tell us below so that we can share it with our other readers.