It seems the fever for McMansions is waning a bit. People are buying and building smaller. And downsizing is the name of the game, at least for Baby Boomers. But that can present challenges. First, buying smaller furnishings can be tricky, especially since everything looks smaller in a large furniture showroom, but probably isn't when you bring it home. So how do you make a small room work like a larger one without feeling cramped?
In a living/family room, get creative with the seating. While you may be tempted to buy a sectional,
that may not be the most effective seating arrangement. While several people can sit on a sectional, can they really do so comfortably? And sectionals generally have one way to be placed, which limits any other arrangements of the furniture. Instead use ottomans for seating flexibility. They can be used with chairs for more comfortable seating, as a coffee or side table (with a tray), or as additional seating when the need arises.
If you prefer a hard surface for your coffee table, use two smaller tables rather than one large one. This not only increases maneuverability in an otherwise tight space, they can also be moved easily around the room as the need arises. Or get really creative and use garden stools. They provide a flat, steady surface as a table, or additional seating if necessary.And notice the armless chairs. Another great space-saving idea.
There are other ways to make your furniture multi-task. If you need space for guests to sleep but don't have an extra room, use a daybed instead of a sofa - no need to have the space to open it (unlike a sleeper sofa). Instead of a bedside table, use a lowboy or small chest of drawers for additional storage. Cover a console table with a long tailored cloth to hide storage.
A few more suggestions........color and pattern are fine, but keep them to a minimum as they can go a long way in a small space. Use them in an accent chair, pillow, or rug. Let in as much natural light as possible, which means keeping window treatments to a minimum - and no dark colors! A strategically placed mirror (say, across from a window) brings in light while expanding space.
Like these ideas? Check out my Pinterest board Decorating Small Spaces.