Interior design advice is usually all about what to bring into a room to make it evocative of the preferred style or aesthetic. And that’s definitely something to think about carefully when you’re designing a small room. After all, when space is at a premium, you need to be judicious in what you bring into that space.
But great interior design is also about what to leave out of a room, and that’s never more true than when you’re working with limited space. Here are six things you can omit from your small room’s interior design plan.
1. Dark or Bright Colors
While dark colors don’t necessarily make a room feel smaller, they can definitely create a cave-like atmosphere in a small room. Bright colors can also make small spaces feel a bit claustrophobic. Leave the strong color schemes for a single wall or small touches for accent and select lighter neutral tones for your small room’s walls and trim. If you’re contemplating a home sale in the next several months, you may also want to consult with your real estate agent who can advise you on how to make sure your home appeals to potential purchasers.
2. Heavy Blackout Drapes
Velvet and other heavy drapes can do too good a job at blocking the light. That’s the last thing you want in a small room. Instead, consider something lighter with a cleaner look. Blinds, roman shades, and sheer or lightweight panels can provide enough privacy for you while still allowing plenty of light in so that your room feels brighter and thus roomier.
3. Too Many Tchotchkes
Collectibles are a great way to express personal style and add a touch of color, culture, or even whimsy to any space. However, when you’re working with a small space, it’s better to take a very judicious approach to which items you want to display. It’s usually a better design decision to select just a few items and group them together to show off your collection instead of amassing lots of them and scattering them all over the room.
By the same token, keep your small rooms clean and devoid of any clutter. Put items away as soon as you use them. Invest in clever, attractive storage solutions that can be unobtrusively placed in the room to hold any personal or other items that might otherwise clutter up the space. If storage space is at a premium, look for furniture with built-in storage. Benches, ottomans, coffee tables, and beds can all do double-duty in this way. By the way, if you’re planning to sell your home quickly, decluttering like this is a smart, quick way to stage your home.
5. Busy Patterns
While a discerning mix of a few different patterns can lead to a luxe sense of maximalism, too many busy patterns in a small room create a dizzying mix that simply shrinks the surrounding space. By all means, don’t be afraid to pair patterns in similar colors to add interest to an otherwise light-and-airy design, but keep them to a small percentage of the available “white space” of your room. Think pillows, throws, or small framed prints, not large rugs and floor-length drapes.
6. Low Profile Furniture
In a small room’s design, every square inch matters. One mistake a lot of people make is to keep the room’s furniture “short” and small. This leaves lots of vertical space bare. Instead, look for taller bookcases and open shelving that you can install for additional storage and to create some much-needed visual interest. Breaking up the space and using every available inch wisely helps you make the most of even the smallest rooms.