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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Decorating Small Spaces - LOTS of Options

This House Beautiful article recommends using large-scale pieces in a small room to give it the appearance of spaciousness - an idea I found throughout my research. Source
There are challenges inherent in decorating any kind of space. In the Atlanta area, the average home is over-sized with large open spaces while in locations in New York and Los Angeles the cost per square foot is so prohibitive for many residential areas that room sizes tend to be much smaller. Personally, I think doing a larger space well is much more difficult than smaller spaces and I see many large spaces poorly decorated.

In researching this question, I found many recommendations and visual images to support my conclusion. Of course, as in any decorating style/trend discussion, some of the advise is directly the opposite of another idea. Here is the advise given by top designers/decorating magazines. Needless to say, this my passion is all about upholstered furniture, I am mostly emphasizing furniture selection and placement issues but have mixed in some other ideas.
These light colored pieces with tapered and light legs visually open up the space.  Source - article and photos
Choose Visually Lightweight Furniture
Pay attention to the visual weight of furniture, not just its actual size. Light-color furniture or pieces with legs appear lighter than dark or boxy upholstered pieces.
This neutral room with white walls is soothing and expands the views. I like the lack of draperies as well to create a clean background - see source above. The use of "leggy" furniture also helps.
Use Neutral Color Throughout
Using a neutral palette throughout a living room is one of the best ways to push back the walls. The eye can roam freely through a neutral palette, so the space feels more expansive.
Emphasizing the tall ceilings in this room creates the illusion of more space overall - the highly place and light fabric draperies add to the illusion even though the upholstered pieces themselves are somewhat boxy. Again, the neutral background and flooring help open up the space allowing for the infusion of some nice color. See source above.
Emphasize the Vertical
A room's space always includes more than just its horizontal dimensions. Invite the eye to move above and below eye level. In this living room, emphasis on the vertical comes by way of floor-to-ceiling draperies 
Enlarge Space with White
A small living room escapes feeling constrained thanks to white walls, pale floors, and white upholstery. The elements of the room are united by white, giving the space a cohesive feel.that hang just below the ceiling beams.
The ottoman does substitute for heavy furniture and provide additional seating. I also think the height of the room and lack of window treatments helps here.
Use an Ottoman for a Coffee Table
A large upholstered ottoman doubles as a coffee table when you add trays to provide a flat surface for drink glasses or a vase of flowers.
I found multiple articles that provided good advice - even if contradictory. This next discussion had some additional insights that made sense to me. Better Homes and Gardens

This designer recommended looking at upholstered furniture arms to find ways to maximize pieces in the room taking up the least amount of extra space. I also like the emphasis on the vertical, the use of white space and the use of "leggy" furniture to enlarge the visual effect of this room  - see source above - BHG.

Arms RaceSpace Savers: Use armless or slender-armed sofas.
Living rooms are called on to do a lot of entertaining, but finding spots for guests to sit isn't always easy. Despite its limited size, this one makes space for multiple seating options without sacrificing comfort, thanks to two plush but armless chairs, an armless love seat, and a slender-armed sofa.
White Done RightSpace Saver: Choosing cool colors will instantly make a room look larger.
Pale and cool colors reflect light, making a small space look bigger. Painting woodwork, trim, and doors the same color as walls also helps them "disappear." 
These low-scaled upholstered pieces in the tall room create a lot of light in this room. 
Lying LowSpace Saver: Choose lower furniture that will complement the size of the room.
The success of many small living rooms relies on smart furnishings. A pair of low chairs allows an uninterrupted view through this apartment while providing a chat-friendly seating arrangement. 
 Clean SchemeSpace Saver: Keeping your color palette simple will make the room look larger.
Sticking with a simple palette of one or two colors can deliver a look that's both streamlined and well coordinated. 
Well, this was just the beginning of this discussion. There are a lot of tricks that work. Editing was also discussed and I saw some great images of really dark spaces with pops of color - the emphasis was on similar or same colors - not a lot of change.

What do you think of these great ideas - have you tried any?

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