The first rule is to minimize the amount of furniture. If any room is so crowded that you keep tripping or knocking yourself on furniture, you'll get a junk-shop effect that can be very claustrophobic. Small, compact items and as few of them as possible is the answer, or fitted furniture designed specifically for your needs, which can rationalize storage requirements very satisfactorily.
Secondly, make the most of any interesting view out of window, even if it is merely of roof tops and chimneys. This takes the imagination beyond the confines of a small room. Attic-roof windows, with their view of clouds and sky, can give what might otherwise seem a rather cramped space a great feeling of lightness. Remember that even sheer materials like muslin and lace can keep out a lot of light, so try to manage without them or at least only run them along the bottom half of a window.
"Make the most of any interesting view out of a window … this takes the imagination beyond the confines of a small room."
- If a window has no view place something outside it, such as a window box, to draw the eye, which will add to the feeling of space in the room.
- Don’t obscure light by cluttering a windowsill or placing large furniture in front of a full-length window.
- Stained glass can obscure a horrible view and provide alternative interest.
- Paint a "frame" in a different colour around a window with an interesting view so as to attract interest and lead the eye away from the edges of the room.
- A small window with an ugly view can be redeemed by covering it with rows of glass shelves on which you can stand coloured glass objects or indoor plants. This can be particularly effective in a bathroom or kitchen.
- If you have room for a small table in the kitchen, try to place it by a window just on the sink and food preparation.
- If what you see when you are about to enter a room is the backs of seating or the sides of bulky furniture you will not be encouraged to enter, so rearrange the furniture to make the room appear more welcoming.
- First impressions are important. Try to give an interesting focus to the hall or entrance to your home by using bright colours and reflecting them with mirrors.
- Place furniture away from the walls. This reveals more of floor space and stops the eye from wandering to the enclosure of the walls and corners, so the room appears bigger.
- A glazed door is more welcoming in a small, dark space than a wooden door. A section of stained glass can be especially eye-catching and attractive.
- A little group of paintings or one large colourful painting in the hallway will immediately attract attention, particularly if well-lit. Framed posters and prints can also be very effective.
ATTRACTING THE EYE
· Attracting the eye away from the walls is important, so introduce some decorative objects among the more mundane storage on shelves, especially in the living room.
· Place pictures in the center of a wall to draw the eye away from the edges of a room.
· Place a statue or plant in front of a window to draw the eye and extend the view.
· If you have plaster mouldings on the walls or ceiling, make a feature of them by painting them a contrasting colour.
· House plants are an excellent way of getting people to forget how enclosed a space is. At night you can illuminate them from below, creating a magical effect.
· Pretty wall lights, whether traditional or modern, can soften the general ambience and draw the attention away from the narrowness of a space.
· A narrow shelf at picture-rail height or a little lower can provide interest by displaying a collection of china or glass.
Use of lighting
Lighting is a powerful tool in creating atmosphere. It can drastically alter the efficiency and mood of a space, and can make spaces seem larger than they really are by drawing the eye towards interesting objects and softening the edges of spaces. There are four basic types of lighting. General is the lighting that lights up a whole room so that you can see your way round without bumping into things. Task lighting enables you to read and do desk and other close work such as cooking. Accent or display lighting highlights objects of interest such as pictures sculptures, and plants. Decorative lighting acts as sculpture in its own right and helps to soften the mood in a room, as well as attracting the eye from a cramped space. For general lighting a number of low-voltage lights will give versatile and pleasant effect than one single bright light.