Design Recipes: Secrets for small rooms

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service
A glass table helps make a small dining area feel light and airy. (Design Recipes)

While some rooms are spacious and generous, others may be smaller and more challenging. Many apartment dwellers and homeowners have the overwhelming desire to make every space count. So what to do in the case of small rooms and spaces? Here are some key tips to keep in mind.

1. Create a floor plan. In many instances, the key to a successful space is proper planning.

2. Don’t overstuff. When looking to keep a space open, less is more. Be sure not to overstuff a space with too much furniture.

3. Considering making a space feel brighter through color. Often small spaces are dark, and in many cases simply adding bright colors such as orange and yellow or even pastels can help make a space brighter.

4. Consider white. Remember white is a color and can be used as an accent to help make a space feel bigger.

A small niche space is made to feel larger as a result of hanging three mirrors side by side along a wall. (Desigh Recipes)

5. Use mirrors. Use mirrors alone, in a grouping or in a series to make small rooms instantly feel larger.

6. Purchase furniture of the proper size and scale. In smaller spaces, furniture that is smaller in scale will help create a more successful space.

7. Look for ways to incorporate transparent surfaces in one or two furniture pieces. Glass or transparent surfaces add a sense of weightlessness and work especially well in small rooms.

8. Experiment with shapes. Round tables allow for more circulation and movement than rectangular ones.

Backless seating helps complete a space without making it feel crowded or overwhelming. (Design Recipes)

9. Consider a neutral color palette. From white and taupe to soft gray, lighter colors can help make small rooms feel soothing and appealing.

10. Determine function. Deciding a clear purpose for your small space will go a long way in selecting the appropriate furnishings.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at .