When you have a limited amount of space to work with, it might seem that the best way to treat it is with a monochromatic color scheme or color and pattern details that are neutral instead of bold. When done right, that can look quite dramatic and sophisticated, but many times it just looks, well, boring (especially if not done right)! Bold or saturated color can be just what a small room needs. Here are our tips for decorating your small space using exciting color and patterns.
How Color Affects the Space
It could be that the myth of using neutrals in small spaces originated due to how color tones affect the size of a room. Generally speaking, warm tones (red, orange, yellow, brown, yellow-toned greens, etc.) tend to radiate color and thus can make a small room appear smaller. The reverse is also true; cool hues (blue, gray, purple, white, blue-toned greens, etc.) seem to open up a space.
Another way that color affects your surroundings is by dividing space. For instance, an adjacent (or visually open to each other) dining room and living room can be separated by the use of different hues. This visually shrinks the space. By using the same dominant color from one room to the next, they turn into a single, bigger space unified by color. The farther you extend a single color scheme – or a variation on it – the larger your entire house will seem.
Solid, layered colors add depth. Layers don’t have to be physically close; changing the color of the doorway leading into the next room to a contrasting hue can achieve the same trick of adding depth to a small space. Layering is also a great way to work in an accent color of a saturated hue without overdoing it, such as in throw pillows, artwork or a few accessories scattered throughout the room.
The scale of your room’s design is also influenced by color. The darkest and brightest hues make the room “heavier” while light and pale or muted colors lighten things up. There should be some of both in a single space. If you wish to stick with light, neutral walls in your room, add accents in dark, warm colors – or vice versa. Dark walls lightened up with white-framed pictures and light-colored furnishings can look great in a small space.
Adding Prints to Small Spaces
Much like layering colors adds depth to a room, so do patterns. Once again, it’s best to use patterns with restraint rather than including them everywhere, such as in the draperies, upholstery and accessories.
Even in a small room, a big, bold pattern can look great – as long as you limit its use. A single chair with a big pattern can do wonders for a small room. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns up; just remember to scale them down. A small print against a larger one looks good but two big and bold patterns on top of each other usually just looks confused.
The color in patterns is important, too. When you use a large, bright print for a focal point piece, layer it with smaller prints in neutral colors so you aren’t overwhelmed by a busy array of colors in your small space.
Small rooms don’t have to be boring. They don’t need to rely on neutral colors alone in order to seem spacious yet cozy. In fact, using the right tones of bold color for the dominant or accent color can make a dramatic, yet pleasing, difference in small spaces. At Lawrance, you can easily customize nearly any piece of furniture to incorporate the colors and patterns that will turn your rooms into design masterpieces!