Design Tips for Living Large in Small Spaces

| October 21, 2011 4:00 AM

For most of us, living in a small space is a fact of life in New York City. But that doesn’t mean you can’t live in style.

Walls can be functional and decorative. Add floor-to-ceiling bookshelves for books, DVDs and collectibles. Flickr/rouge-designs

If your apartment feels more claustrophobic than cozy, it might be time for a massive makeover.

Following are tips MetroFocus collected from local designers to help you turn your petite pad into a luxurious urban oasis:

Work from the top down: Overcome the limitations of a small room with a pop of color, a touch of texture or a funky fixture on the ceiling. An overhead focal point draws the eye upward and increases the visual height of a room. Choose a color a few shades lighter than your walls for an uninterrupted floor-to-ceiling flow. Source: Jennifer Ellen Frank of Anasa Interiors. Frank has 20 years of interior design experience.

Don't shy away from a big furniture. Think about having one statement piece, like this red couch, and keep the rest of the room simple. Flickr/rcarver


Bigger is better: People frequently make mistakes when it comes to proportions. A lot of small furniture can make a room feel cluttered and may trick the eye into thinking that everything else is also very small. Instead, arrange the room around a few prominent pieces to make the room feel sleeker. Source: LiFESTYLiNG® by Maria Gabriela Britto. Britto has 10-plus years of design experience.

Use a single color : A monochromatic room can feel clean and calming. Vary the tones and textures of a single color and keep all of your furniture in a light, muted palette. Break your color scheme with a  few saturated accents. Source: Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture. Parnass has 15 years of experience in architectural interior design.

Mirrors aren't just for the bathroom. A mirror placed opposite a kitchen window will reflect the natural light and make a room brighter. Flickr/wonderlane

Create a loft: For studio apartments with high ceilings, elevate the bed to create a loft, which maximizes floor space and clearly separates living and sleeping areas. Source: Brigitte Starr, of The Smallest Coolest Apartment. Starr specializes in spaces smaller than 700 square feet.

Go for warm and cozy: Make small rooms feel very cozy, like a small jewel box. Use rich, mid-toned colors on the walls for a luxurious and inviting feel. Add wall-to-wall carpeting for a streamlined look and use a large, strategically-placed mirror to reflect the light.  Source: Evelyn Benatar of New York Interior Design, Inc. Benatar has 15 years of interior design experience.

  • Sir David Haddon

    My apartment is 650 SQ and being on disability from an automobile Accident, and on SSI.
    I can not afford to buy furniture. I have second hand things that are over 20 years old and they are falling apart ” Literally” Would Love to throw everything out and buy new. Need to start by painting, doing over hard wood floor, drapes/curtains and furniture.
    Guess it will never happen with todays economy!

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