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When Small is Big

Do you feel like the walls of your house are closing in on you? Are you having a tough time with effective utilization of whatever little space you have for yourself? Rekha Shanmugham comes to your rescue with eight basic ideas that are sure to help you widen the horizons of your abode.

What with the population explosion and an ‘exodus’ to urban places, dwelling areas are shrinking by the second. Skyrocketing real estate prices leave people to make do with whatever they can afford. Then again there are others who voluntarily opt for smaller houses as maintenance can take a serious toll on their backs. Whatever maybe the reason, the large and spacious house need not forever remain a reverie.

1. Lighting
An unlit space is an ill-utilized space. Lit areas are the ones that become immediately apparent to the senses as soon as you enter a room. It is therefore imperative that your room is brightly lit. If you have the luxury of ample natural lighting, utilize it to the fullest via large windows with fully drawn curtains. Otherwise you can rely on smart lighting choices to liven up the room. It is better not to restrict to just one source of light. Multiple sources with light rays bouncing off various surfaces can create the illusion of a larger room.

2. Colours
When it comes to painting small rooms you need to resist your urge to experiment with colours. Dark colours render a room cosy and inviting but they also absorb light, a phenomenon which translates into smaller looking rooms. But do not be disillusioned as the entire gamut of lighter shades or at least most of them make for interesting choices. White is for people who want to play it safe. Pastel shades of blue, green, yellow, grey, cream and purple are all at your disposal too. Sticking to the blue end of the colour spectrum can be especially beneficial by making the walls look like they are receding. If your ceiling is relatively lower, paint it plain white or go for a colour that is lighter then the shade of your wall.

3. Monochrome
One of the most important things to be kept in mind while accessorising your room is to stick to a monochromatic colour scheme. Be it the drapery, the rugs, the furniture or other items of embellishment, play around with shades of a single colour family and opt for smaller prints. Contrasting colours tend to interrupt continuity and compartmentalize space. It is better to paint adjacent walls with the same colour. However, you can have a textured statement wall belonging to the same colour family to break the monotony.

4. Mirrors
Have you noticed how conference halls in hotels fitted with large mirrors almost seem to overwhelm you with their palatial appearance? The same technique can be employed in your rooms too. Not only do mirrors create the illusion of depth, but also reflect both natural and artificial light effectively, lending more brightness to the area. You can place several mirrors aesthetically or have a single oversized statement piece. If you do not find the idea of hanging mirrors on walls appealing, you can always opt to have your cabinet fixed with mirrors. Mirrors placed next to windows also make the room appear larger by reflecting the outdoors.

5. De-clutter
One of the most obvious solutions to cramped spaces is de-cluttering and organizing. You would be amazed to find that several of your belongings are actually unused or redundant. Never get entangled in an emotional bond with any of your possessions as disposing them later becomes a difficult task. In case of smaller rooms, do not crowd the wall with too many pictures. If you are intent upon hanging a picture, opt for a single large one that increases the artistic appeal. Also, the less cluttered the floor with more visible floor space, the larger the room appears. Do not pack your shelves with objects. Leaving certain spaces strategically empty can create the illusion of more room.

6. Focal Point
When designing the interiors of a relatively smaller room, make sure that you draw people’s attention to one focal point. Let the primary area be relatively concentrated compared to the rest of the room. In case of a bedroom, the most obvious choice for a focal point is the bed of course.

7. Furniture

Multifunctional furniture is a must as far as smaller rooms are concerned. Ottomans, sofa beds, beds with drawers underneath for storage and window seats are all effective dual–use furniture and help in space optimization. As far as possible, place the furniture against the walls so as to not obstruct walking space. Scaled–down furniture bodes well with smaller rooms. One should also be open to the idea of alternatives. For instance, a love seat may be used instead of a large couch, of course, bearing in mind the shape and design of the room. Glass tables make for smart choices. They serve the purpose of a normal table and at the same time, allow light to pass through, creating the illusion of more space.

8. Vertical Spaces
Effective utilization of the vertical is one of the easiest but highly overlooked ways to optimize space in smaller rooms. Built-in dressers come in handy as do floating shelves. Both can hold a substantial amount of apparel and books respectively. Containers on mountable rods can be used to house miscellaneous items often strewn around on the floor.

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