Okay, so maybe your current living situ wouldn’t exactly land you on an episode of Cribs. But you don’t have to sacrifice style just because your digs aren’t quite up to Blair Waldorf’s standards. We asked the experts how to make the most out of a small space.
1. Consistency, consistency, consistency
The first step in making your condo or small living space look bigger? Keep all — yes, all — of the finishings consistent throughout, says interior designer, Brian Gluckstein, who recently designed the interiors at One Forest Hill in Toronto. “That’s when you get this sense of spaciousness, because the adjacent rooms connected visually and through the finishes, they almost seem like one,” he says. He also suggests using the same colour palette in every room to help with the effect of openness.
2. Lighter flooring could be your next big project
Consistency goes for flooring, too. For Gluckstein, who splits his time between Toronto, New York and Palm Beach, light wood floors, especially in taupes and greys, are going to be big this year. “The light floors really open up the space,” he says. “There’s a classicism to them that we see in Europe, and they’re here to stay.”
But if darker tones are more your thing, fret not. Gluckstein says super dark flooring, like black oak or charcoal, could work as well. He also recommends always using an area rug that contrasts with your flooring, to anchor the space.
3. Marie Kondo your space on the reg
Clutter can make rooms feel even tinier. Toronto-based designer Tiffany Pratt says it’s important to take stock of what you really need, what you don’t, and what you can donate. “Take what fits and take what you love. Anything else goes.” Once you de-clutter, Pratt says to also consider giving your space a fresh coat of paint or rearrange your furniture to shake up the vibe.
4. Storage is your friend
For the clutter you just can’t bear to part with, storage is a must. “Storage is paramount, and that is the most important place to spend money,” says Pratt. Try and sneak storage in wherever you can: tables, seating, even built into your walls. Pratt is also a big fan of custom-made storage, like entertainment stand that has a compartment for your laptop, which she says is “the best investment anyone in a small space could ever make.”
One of the greatest design decisions I have made in my home was installing this custom office space built to accommodate both my computer and my creating. I have all of my wires hidden and a special sexy drawer for my printer. There are cupboards for all of my supplies and drawers for my office extras, but the newest addition to my desk surface is my Google Home. Since installing my #googlehome on my phone I have synced everything & I cannot stop saying #OkGoogle 😜I feel so fancy😎I feel so connected and man that speaker can really rock the hits🎼Check the link in my bio to hear all my home office design tips at an in-person talk here at #googleshop #YYZ 🎟 I would love to see you there! Home office & new home for my google home designed and built by the master @popeofwood 🔨#workfromhome #yourlifeyourway
5. Don’t be afraid of darker colours
“People are always so shocked to hear that even some dark colours can make a space feel amazing. It’s about where the colour is put based on the shape of the room. So it’s not that colour could [make a space feel smaller], but it’s where you put it,” Pratt says.
One of her fave techniques? Leave the walls white and paint the ceiling–colour on the ceiling will reflect onto the white walls and create warmth, which will “make the space feel gigantic.” You can tie in smaller décor items, like pillows or a colour on your carpet, to the ceiling without getting too matchy-matchy.
6. You probably need new furniture
“Living in a smaller space and all your furniture is sized for a bigger location? I call that ‘eating the room,’" says Pratt. If you do end up getting newer, more appropriately-sized furniture, Pratt says you’re going to want to make sure it will work in every room of your living space. For example, if you entertain often, consider upholstered dining room chairs that you can move into the living room after dinner. When your space feels like it has one big message it can feel, well, bigger.
7. Get trendy — but not too trendy
Playing with trends can be a ton of fun, but when you try and incorporate a bunch of trends into a small space, it can get very overwhelming and just end up looking like visual noise—kind of like Kimmy Schmidt’s post-bunker wardrobe. That’s why Pratt recommends finding one trend that you seriously love and staying dedicated to it. As for the rest of your space? Let it breathe and keep it simple. As Pratt says: “Don’t follow the trends, follow your heart.”