5 small space mistakes you don't realise you're making - and how to avoid them

By Aoife Valentine Secor 28-01-2019

Small space mistakes are easier to make than you might imagine - everyone has their own take on how to style up pint-sized spaces, and what's best to make the most of the space.

There's a lot of misinformation out there, because what works for your tiny college digs room won't necessarily work in your more grown up apartment or your brand new two up, two down semi-d.

But then, there are some small space decor strategies that universally apply to pretty much all types of home. So, with that in mind, we've pulled together five of the biggest small space mistakes we see, and how to avoid them.


Small space mistakes

1. White walls

White isn't the answer to all your small space problems - certain types of homes don't lend themselves to every wall being white. For example, no matter how white you paint certain nooks in small homes, you're not going to paint yourself out of a dark corner. Lean into it, and consider those dark nooks as an opportunity to create a cosy corner that works with the house's character instead of trying to work around it.

Richer shades can add dimension to your space, in a way that white or beige just can't. We wouldn't go to town and paint whole rooms dark necessarily, but bold colour choices can add interest without overwhelming it.

2. Small rugs

It's easy to assume if you're working with a small space, you have to buy equally small rugs, but it's not true. The size of a rug visually defines the size of the area, so counterintuitively, a large rug in your living room will give the illusion of spaciousness. You may think you don't have the floor space for a large rug in between your furniture, but the key is to layer. Place your rug underneath the edges of your couch - it's a trick many interior stylists use to visually maximise the size of a space.


3. Tiny furniture

A similar rule applies to furniture as with rugs - just because you have a small space, doesn't mean you have to have small furniture. In fact, multiple pieces of small furniture can create a more chaotic, cluttered look. It's all about editing - don't be afraid to choose a weightier piece if it helps define your room. The idea is to set up anchors and build around then, rather than just throwing together lots of small pieces.


Image: Studio McGee

4. Avoiding pattern

When you're short on space, it can be intimidating to commit to any kind of look, which usually mean people automatically discount patterns. If you're mad about prints, having a small space doesn't mean you have to abandon that. In fact, you run the risk of taking all of the fun out of your decor if you're keeping things plain and simple.

A really small room, like an en-suite bathroom, is actually a brilliant room to take a risk with pattern on. It can add a big dose of personality to the room, and allows it have a big impact. Realistically, there is only so much you can do to make that kind of room appear bigger, so have fun with it.


5. No curtains

Often when you have a small space, people try to keep things super minimal, and will abandon curtains to try and help make the space feel cleaner and less cluttered. However, curtains can help draw the eye up, taking the focus off the small square footage. Another good tip on this front is to hang a curtain pole up to a foot wider than your window, giving the illusion of a wider window. They don't have to be expensive curtains, but you'll be surprised at the impact they can have in a room.


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