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Making the Most of a Small Space

Posted: 29 August 2015

Remodeling small spaces in a home can create big challenges. You have to consider every single element that goes in the room,  in order to maximize every opportunity to make the room functional, appealing, comfortable, and in synch with the rest of your home.

Designing a small room can be more complex than a larger one because we have to limit our thinking to what will fit and what will work in this space. From the furniture and accents to the colors of the wall, ceiling, and floors, everything matters.


Built-ins are a great place to start. Cabinets, bookcases, and even a desk can use wall space to create function without using a lot of the little footprint you have.


If you have a window, build in a cushioned window seat that doubles as a storage chest. This is a great place to stash toys, craft supplies, blankets, pillows, magazines, and all the other things that can spread out and take up valuable space.


Make better use of the odd area under the stairs by building in a closet or cabinets to fit the unique space and add more storage—and who doesn’t need more storage?


A loft remodel can convert this unused small space to a studio, craft room, guest room, or reading nook. The pitched ceiling presents a space challenge but also adds character to the space. Create complementary angles with corner cabinets on an opposite wall, while building shelves on the slope. If you’re installing a television, mount it to the wall and build cabinets around it to conserve floor space that an entertainment center would occupy.


Color and Light

You’ve probably heard people tell you that you must use light colors on the wall of a small room. It’s not the size of the room that should dictate your color choices, but the amount of light in there. A small room that gets a lot of natural light can handle a deeper hue on the walls.


If you don’t have that ambient light, create it with lighting. Use sconces, overhead fixtures, and wall lamps to maximize light without taking up space with floor and table lamps.


partially painted atticIf you want a darker color, you can also install a chair rail. Then paint the darker color below the chair rail and use a contrasting or lighter shade on top. Or put the darker color above and add a light-colored beadboard below the chair rail for opposite placement of the contrast.


Another way to add dimension to a small room is to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls. By removing the dividing line at the top of the wall, you give the illusion of more height in the room.


The Small Bedroom

It’s easy to overstuff a small bedroom, but with a little more planning, you can reduce the clutter and make the room feel bigger. A trundle bed with storage underneath will give you a hideaway stash for important items without using additional floor space. If you don’t want to replace your current bed, have roll-out drawers built. You can also mount a shelf on the wall next to the bed rather than use a nightstand or install a headboard with shelving.


Incorporate a desk with the clever use of cabinetry and shelving to create a built-in work area. If you want to add bookcases, opt for floor-to-ceiling and finish them with molding so that the top of the bookcase doesn’t shorten the height of the room.


In addition, shelves over windows and doors also add storage and display area to a small footprint. Using built-ins like these might eliminate the need for a dresser, which frees up floor area.


Mudroom Makeover

Maybe it’s the name “mudroom”, but this small space can be a huge oversight in a home. Considering it’s the first place the residents see when they walk in the door, the mudroom is often quite deserving of a makeover.


Clark Construction's mudroom custom cabinetry builtins in Wilton CT feature cream paint, a stained wood top, and baskets to aid with organizationOrganize the nook with cubbies for shoes, coats, and canine paraphernalia (leash, dog toys, doggy towels for those wet days), plus a stash for keys so you won’t be searching later.


You can use chalkboard paint to add a message area for this high traffic spot.


Cork flooring is a great alternative to tile for a mudroom. It’s durable yet cushioned, and hides the muddy footprints.


When you’re ready to remodel, you don’t have to think small just because your space is. There are always opportunities to maximize a small area. You just need to be open to some big ideas!


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