HomeStandard StyleDecorating for small spaces

Decorating for small spaces

I have often heard people say, “I live in awful accommodation and can’t really have people over” and “I can’t do anything about it because I rent the place after all”.

I hope the article last week opened-up real opportunities for decorating your space, even though you may only be letting the property.

I have also heard this, “You see I can’t really do anything about my house it’s so small, not even a set of sofas will fit into my lounge!”

Today we talk about décor for smaller houses, I hope that at the end of it all readers get the message, decorate your space wherever you are. As long as you are living there, you have the right to turn it into a lovely home for you, your family and friends.

One of the most important tools for decorating is colour. When decorating a small space, use lighter colours on your walls, this has the effect of making your space look larger, allowing more light into the room. It also gives the impression of limitless space and there are a number of ways of achieving this:

  • l Remove pelmets as they tend to confine the light coming into a room, use rods instead, and when using rods make sure that you fix the rods as high up as possible, just under the cornice. This allows in more light and has the effect of drawing the eye to the height and expanse of the window.
  • l Use mirrors to reflect the natural light coming in through your windows, this opens up the space, making a small room look larger. Mirrors can be framed or used to tile a section of a wall. And as you well-know, framed mirrors are available at almost every street corner in Zimbabwe, along with our fine art.

Apart from colour and light, there are other tricks you can employ to give you the feeling of space:

  • l Where you have low ceilings, hang your pictures as high up as possible — this helps extend the height of the room by drawing the eye upwards and not downwards.
  • l Centre your room by arranging your furniture in such a way that it’s not against a wall, move it away from the wall, create a cosy seating area consisting of a sofa and two easy chairs.
  • l Before you spend money on furniture, look at the size of the room you want to furnish, don’t go wasting money on over-stuffed sofas, in a small space. Size matters and style certainly does speak.

Chairs should not only be proportionate to the size of the room, but must also be in keeping with the size of your coffee tables and centre tables.

Having a small house does not necessarily mean that you can’t have attractive furniture, but the most beautiful piece of furniture will look awkward and ugly, if it is not in proportion to the room.


For tables, go for clear glass perspex and acrylic, they allow the eye to travel in the air without demarcation, and the reflective surfaces give the impression of unlimited dimensions. When buying furniture choose wisely, in a small space make sure that you make efficient use of every nook and cranny, a lot of space is available for storage in hallways, bathrooms and under beds.

If you don’t have a use for anything, the simple rule to follow is, don’t have it cluttering your space. Go for multi-purpose furniture, ie tables that have storage space for magazines and books, sofas that have pull out beds for your small TV lounge, which can also serve as a guest room for that unexpected guest.

When we did the kitchen feature, we saw how even the smallest kitchen was made to look attractive and efficient following the work triangle. So readers, small spaces are no reason for sloppy living.


Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading