I live in London. I am no stranger to small spaces. One is often squeezed. And I love my little house by the river. (I shall love it all the more when it is free of builders – very nice as they are.) I’m beginning to get a feel for decorating bijou spaces.
1. Go crazy with wallpaper
Just because you’re decorating a small room, do not hold back! Do not limit yourself to ditzy patterned wallpaper or white walls. Feel free to go quite mad. Because it works. Wallpaper draws the eye beyond the wall (if that makes sense), adding depth. Our bedroom isn’t big by any stretch of the imagination, but we opted for Cole & Son’s swirling Rajapur wallpaper which I find incredibly, surprisingly calming. Our teeny weeny ‘spathroom’ is a welter of tiles from floor to ceiling.
Or go dark on the walls
Yes, pale hues keep it light and bright and make the room look bigger – but dark hues can do the same. They absorb light, soften the edges (dark colours are much less stark than white) and feel warmer. Terrified at the thought of dark grey or black? Try a deep jewel tone. (And, hey, the room’s tiny, remember? You can always revert to white.)
Add a vertical mirror
It effortlessly expands the space. (My mum taught me this one – she’s always telling me to hang a mirror on the back wall of my garden, which is an excellent idea, mum, and I promise to get ’round to it at some point…) Bounce the light back and create the impression of more space (look! Another room!)
Have several light sources
I keep reading that overhead lighting (as in: one overhead light) is passé. Perhaps. But I think if you mix it up with table lamps, freestanding floor lights, candles, then by all means have yourself an overhead lamp. Consider hanging it a little lower [above] to bring the light down to you. Even small spaces need good lighting.
Without wishing to sound entirely mad – try playing with scale. Okay, so you need to keep your furniture on the slimline side, but there’s a certain joy in throwing one BIG piece into the mix. The wall is an excellent canvas: a giant picture never goes amiss. It might be a little bit Alice in Wonderland meets Gulliver’s Travels, but if you can’t have fun in your own home….