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By: Paula Morris-Dungan
Many people today live in smaller spaces. It is more budget friendly and requires less maintenance and cleaning time. With the super busy schedules we all have these days, less space just makes more sense. The problem with small living spaces is that they can feel cramped and dark. There are ways to make the space you have appear much larger than it actually is and present a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

1. Use Bright Colors:
The first thing is color. The lighter and brighter it is, the larger it feels. Use light shades of paint and upholstery, as well as lighter toned woods or brightly painted wood. Dark heavy window treatments make a room have a closed in feel. Light airy Duralee fabrics for curtains, and blinds such as matchsticks that let in a lot of light will give an open feel to a room. If you have very tall windows, lower the curtain hardware down the window about a foot so that light shines in all day, but you can still maintain your privacy.

2. Get Smaller Furniture:
If you are able, downsize your furniture. In a small space, a loveseat is a far better choice than a full sized sofa. You should never try to fit a sectional into a small space. Use two ottomans instead of a standard coffee table; they double as extra seating. Choose nesting tables rather than bulky side tables that can be spread out when needed and stacked in a small area when they are not. Hanging lamps instead of table lamps reduce the cluttered look and do not require stationary tables. Modern clear acrylic tables and chairs seem to disappear into space and are ideal for smaller dining spaces.

3. Hang Mirrors:
Not enough can be said about mirrors. The more mirrors you use in your design, the more natural light you bring in and the bigger your space will look. Mirrors reflect the light and appear to multiply the dimensions of the room. The same can be said of clear glass or crystal light fixtures; the glass intensifies the light and adds some sparkle to your décor.

4. Use a Closet as Office Space:
Most everyone needs a home office, and an underused closet is a great place to create a small office space with plenty of storage. When it is not in use, you can simply shut the door and it disappears. Most apartments do offer a walk-in closet in the bedroom area. However, the actual sleeping area is usually quite small. If you add a small chest, storage boxes and bins to the walk in, you will be able to move all of your clothing and accessories to the closet area and eliminate the need for dressers and chests in the sleeping area. An uncluttered bedroom is far more relaxing and conducive to sleep.

With just a few of these simple changes, you will be amazed how much larger your small living space can really be, and how much more comfortable you will be in it.

Paula Morris-Dungan attended Art Institute of Pittsburg for Residential Space Planning and Interior Design. She spends her spare time remodeling and designing the interior of her 80+ year old house. She is a full-time freelance writer who writes for blogs about various topics including paint, funiture upholstery and outdoor fabric (including Duralee fabrics and Robert Allen fabrics), and interior design in general. For more details visit and Tropical and and Robert-Allen-@Home-Home-Fabric-Fabrics.php" target=_blank>

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