[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"] Beach Style Kitchen by St. John's Photographers Becki Peckham[/caption] For centuries the kitchen was strictly a work space. Often tucked in the back of the house, it had room for just the bare essentials. But a peek at many new kitchens today reveals a very different approach: the open-concept kitchen at...
In today’s furniture market, “condo size” (compact) furniture is a common solution for modern small-space living. But I believe you can often achieve the biggest impact, and the most satisfying results, with a less-is-more approach. Rather than choosing smaller furnishings, indulging in a few full-scale (or even oversize) pieces can create the look of a full-size space without compromising.
Pieces with impact. By choosing big-scale but more simply shaped items, you can create a sophisticated look that feels full size, but not overstuffed, even in a small space. Notice how this space is rich in texture and chunky, beautiful objects, but not busy patterns or large areas of overwhelming color.
Looking up. Filling unused vertical space is a great way to get major impact in a room without shrinking the usable floor area. One large, leafy plant like this fiddle-leaf fig in a corner of the room doesn’t interfere with traffic flow but makes the room feel sophisticated and lively (while helping the background visually float away).
Wall treatments. Simple wall treatments help dramatic furnishings look like big items in an open space by reducing the emphasis on how tight they are to the walls.
Low ceilings. The natural tendency in a space with a low ceiling can be to try to shrink everything to avoid drawing attention, but this can make the overall effect even more tight and claustrophobic. Instead, try balancing some squat pieces (like globe lights on the floor and a low-backed sofa) with some very tall items, like an overscale floor lamp, using every inch of the height that is available.
This is especially effective under a slanted ceiling, because putting a light a few feet from the wall can take advantage of the extra headroom and draw attention away from the point where the ceiling is at its lowest.
Narrow rooms. In a very tight tunnel-shaped room, rather than breaking the space into multiple microzones, embrace the length and fit in one full-size sofa. When you’re watching TV or reading a book, you won’t mind that the sofa faces a wall (while you stretch out and appreciate the extra lounging space), and when simply passing through, you will notice that the space looks extra long.
Cozy nooks. In a tight nook, rather than using a single chair, fit in a chaise, sofa or built-in bench that takes up as much width as possible and dress it with a few large pieces instead of busy clutter. This way the area will read as a large nook instead of a small room.
Dining nooks. Similarly, in a dining nook, a wide bench seat that fills the entire back wall will create the look of an ample private booth, whereas many individual chairs might create the look of a too-cramped dining room.
Seating areas. The same logic of dining seating applies to the living room as well: One large, continuous seat will give you a comfortable place to stretch out on every day. Several compact chairs (which can be pulled from the dining area when needed) or a plush ottoman can maximize seating when you have company.
Notice how in this room, space for end tables was traded for more seating space — worth it when you need that afternoon nap.
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