The modern home is getting smaller. Since the 1970s, the average size of the UK home has shrunk by 32%, according to The Guardian. The living room is 7m² smaller today, compared to 24m² back in the decade of flares. Bedrooms are smaller too.
Bijou homes are not sub-standard, however, because with clever styling, your compact pad can feel as palatial.
Paint it all white, opt for Magnolia or even a beautiful grey but the less colour you have splashed across the walls of your home, the bigger it will feel. We know that lighter colours make the most of light – natural and ambient – and so it pays to stay at the lighter end of the colour spectrum.
Lighter shades are not boring – far from it, the beauty achieved in the Scandinavian styled home proves the point – but minimising the number of changes in the shades and colour hues helps to bring cohesion across the home from the front door to the loft.
Consider this when choosing furniture. For example, a light grey sofa would suit any room with a light colour on the wall. Keep furniture light too, such as in the Scandinavian bedroom style with light oak beds, for example.
Small windows, furniture blocking the flow of light, walls in the way… you name it, there are many dense obstacles that stop the flow of light through a space. And when that happens, shadows are cast.
Make the most of the natural light that you have. Changing the style of the windows will make a difference and if you have the budget, knocking a wall down to open the space making the downstairs living room and other rooms open plan transforms a space.
Minimising shadows when it comes to ambient light too. A table lamp on a nest of tables in the ‘dark’ corner of a room changes the feel of the space.
Whether you are working with a bijou bedroom or a compact living room, what instantly closes the space down is when you don’t have enough storage – and that means it becomes cluttered both physically and to the eye.
Choose clever storage solutions such as a wood coffee table with drawers or use a wooden blanket box as a coffee-table-cum-handy-storage unit.
In the bedroom, don’t be tempted to store things of tops of wardrobes as this clutters the eyeline, bringing the ceiling close. Add height to storage such as a tall chest of drawers and again, a wooden blanket box makes a handy seat as well as great for storing linens.
From those cluster of ornaments to huge vases, consider carefully the detailing you add to a room. there is a certain sense of practicality needed about living in a smaller space and that means ditching the idea that you can show horn everything in.
By maximising clever storage in the living room and the bedroom, you can store away things not currently being used but with the change of seasons, you can bring out stored items and put away others.
Maximise small prints
It’s the oldest trick in the book but any print you use in a small space needs to be minimal in size. So ditzy flower prints or barely-there geometric detailing on cushions and throws will work. Keep textures ‘flat’ too, such as a flat weave rug over a deep pile sheepskin rug.
A smaller home is a fact of life and can still be beautifully stylish.