Making the Most of Your Space: How to Make a Big Impact in a Small Space

Decorating a small space can be a challenge, but miniature rooms don't have to mean miniature statements or undersized design. Here are a few tips from Leslie Schlesinger Interiors to keep in mind when planning your d├ęcor in a small space.

Focus on Storage: Create space for items like blankets, pillows, games or books by choosing dual-purpose furnishings like chairs and ottomans with storage areas inside of them, coffee tables with lower shelves or trunks that can be stuffed and used as a coffee table.

Let There be Light: Do not block the light. Small spaces are usually dark as it is, and covering your windows with blinds and curtains will make your space feel even darker and more crowded. Leave windows bare or use sheer draperies that let the light in, which will make your space seem larger.

Use Mirrors: Make use of mirrors throughout the space. Mirrors reflect light, and are an easy and inexpensive way to create the look of more light and more space. Use a large mirror on one wall or several small mirrors strategically placed throughout your home, and if you really like the modern look of it, choose furnishings that actually have mirrors on them and shiny, reflective accessories that will instantly expand your space.

Establish Rooms: If you're working with a studio apartment, loft or one bedroom apartment where the living room will have to serve as the living room, dining room and office; establish specific areas for specific activities in the space. Put your "living room" furniture (sofa, coffee table) together, your "office" desk and filing cabinet together and your dining table separate from the other furniture.

Keep it Clean: Your mom was right after all. A clean home is a happy home. Especially in a small space, clutter just gets in the way. Too much furniture and too many knick-knacks, newspapers and magazines or items whose "home" is somewhere else, will crowd your space. Keep linens and books stored away, keep dishes up and the countertops clean, and if it's something that you don't need, get rid of it!

Be Tricky: Design pros have all kinds of magical tricks up their sleeves that they use to make a small space seem bigger. These optical illusions really work though, so try the following tricks in your home.

• Avoid low-to-the-ground furniture, and instead buy furniture with legs that are high off the floor. These pieces make your eyes look under the furniture and add visual space to the room.

• Choose tables with glass tops, which will blend into the room, also adding visual space.

• Go for a unified look by painting mismatched furniture all one color and put matching slipcovers on furniture. Mismatched furniture is distracting and can make a space look cluttered.

• Hang curtain rods near ceilings instead of right on the window frames to make your ceilings appear higher- just remember that if you do this, you'll need longer curtains to make sure that they meet the floor.

• Use soft light and try to avoid shadows which can darken and cramp up a small room. Opt for lamps instead of ceiling lighting, which will visually lower your ceiling.

Paint Smarter: Paint with lighter colors. You don't have to stick to just white, but use soft, light yellows, blues, greens or cream colors, which will expand your space. Paint adjoining rooms the same walls colors to increase the (perceived amount of) space. This technique makes your line of sight uninterrupted, which will make two small rooms look larger. This also works with furniture - if you're not opposed to a monochromatic look, use the same or similar colors for your largest pieces of furniture and for your walls. Paint ceilings lighter than the rest of the room, which increases the space's perceived height. If you are one of those people that just have to have a darker color on your walls, paint the walls and ceilings the same color, so the eye doesn't stop at the ceiling line.

Tips like these from Leslie Schlesinger Interiors will make your next remodeling project much easier.

About Leslie Schlesinger Interiors: Specializing in interior design for the hospitality and high-end and multi-family residential industries, Leslie Schlesinger Interiors brings more than 30 years of experience in design that is "always original, always unique." Each project is distinctive and presents an opportunity to create something new and innovative. Leslie Schlesinger Interiors employs state of the art and environmentally sensitive design practices, striving to combine recycled products and features with custom designed new ones. Founded in 1989 with offices in West Palm Beach, Fla. and Stamford, Conn., the award winning company has completed commercial and residential projects throughout the United States. For more information about Leslie Schlesinger Interiors, please visit http://www.leslieschlesingerinteriors.com.

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