Whether you are just starting out and need to furnish a cramped apartment or you're a baby boomer down-sizing for simplicity, following these five simple tips for furnishing your new place will pay off in making your space look larger and airier.
- Put your couch on a diet. Look for clean lines in your upholstered pieces with no extra stuffing or padding. You can still have comfortable seating without the extra tufting and exaggerated features like big rolled arms. Pay attention to the scale of your pieces. Smaller versions of major items like couches are out there, and your best friend when furniture shopping is the tape measure. Know what space is available, but also consider how bulky the piece appears. Look for skinny, narrow hall tables instead of bulky console tables and consider a cute little bench to use as coffee table.
- Make it do double duty. You can find shelving units with spaces for bins, done in a fabric, for hidden storage. It's very trendy now to use an ottoman as a coffee table and some of them are hollow; just take off the upholstered top and fill with blankets, books, toys, etc. For a quick and inexpensive storage fix, simply drape a tablecloth over a side table, hiding all manner of clutter below.
- Keep chotskies to a minimum. Part of the pleasure of travel and a life well-lived is in re-living the experiences through your assorted treasures. However, keeping a clean look will make your space visually larger. Gather your favorite bookends, paperweights, candles, figurines, etc and select a few to put out at time. Rotate them from time to time. Your possessions will have the power to delight and charm you anew. See number 2 above for storage suggestions.
- Choose light colors for your larger pieces. Lighter shades appear to take up less space and trick the eye, making the furniture appear less heavy. Everyone knows the trick with mirrors adding space by reflecting light, and light colors do the same thing. Using neutral colors further enhances this perception.
- Improve sight lines. Here is where you can make a room seem larger by allowing the eye to travel in a more or less unbroken line as you view the room. Do this by choosing upholstered pieces from places like Smith Furniture that sit up on legs instead of low block legs and by your furniture placement. Set pieces against walls and keep traffic pattern areas clear. Using glass tables instead of wood will look cleaner, lighter and reflect light.
With careful attention to the above five tips, you can make your space attractive and look cozy, instead of cramped. It's just as easy to find furntiture that fits well in small spaces as large, you just have to know what to look for when shopping.