We welcome our friend and guest blogger, Charu Gureja. “I’m an interior designer, passionate about interior spaces, architecture, furniture, lighting and art. Generally speaking, I enjoy anything and everything related to art and design! Growing up in countries like Egypt, Japan, Sri Lanka, India and Singapore, I’ve come to appreciate a wide variety of design principles.” Pocket Full of Design . Charu brings to us her global point of view and her specific interest in modern lighting.
Like other elements of Mid-century Modern design, lighting fulfills both the aesthetic and functional needs of a space while eliminating the need for extraneous decoration. The fixtures have simple yet sculptural forms, which make them versatile enough to fit into spaces of any style, be it traditional, industrial, eclectic or contemporary.
Through the following examples I hope to inspire you to create your own unique look using Mid-century Modern lighting. The Paradigm Gallery website and blog are a great resource in terms of inspiration and products to help you along and I’m thankful to them for inviting me to share my thoughts here!
The problem with small spaces is the unique design challenges they pose. It’s tough to incorporate all your ideas, all your furniture, and still retain space. With small spaces, it often comes down to sacrifice. Here are some tips on how to reduce your sacrifice, incorporate your ideas, and keep the space uncluttered.
1. Be a Magician: Give low ceilings the illusion of height with furniture that’s low the ground. Also, keep ceilings white where possible to open it up.
2. See Through: Clear glass furniture helps to pass light to the space without creating the appearance of clutter. Find coffee tables, end tables, and even plastic see through chairs that allow light.
3. Select Calm Colors: Calm and light colors evoke a sense of tranquility and serenity. In addition, these colors open up a space. Paint walls in one calm color, with ceilings in white to maximize brightness. You could also paint two or three of the walls in a light, calm color, the 4th wall being in a darker tone.
4. Use Mirrors: When we suggest using mirrors, we’re not talking about walls of mirrors. Rather, subtly placed mirrors, perhaps a mirror on the floor leaning against the wall. Don’t go overboard. Use just enough reflective surfaces to extend the space and create a more open environment. Play around with it. Try placing interesting objects and accessories in front of a mirror to create unique effects.
5. Find Your Inner Minimalist: Accessories are great by adding color and life into a space, but don’t go crazy. If it isn’t essential, get rid of it. Too many accessories create clutter and eye sores.
6. The Shag: If you’re in a space with plenty of concrete, hard wood, or tile, then you need to grasp the importance of rugs to create the appearance of space, as well as to accessorize. Contemporary and modern rugs usually come in abstract shapes and colors and can become the key focal point of a room. This will eliminate the need to accessorize more, creating less clutter, and opening your space.
7. Cultivate the Space You Have: Create unobstructed views where possible in your rooms. When furniture or other objects impede the eye’s natural sight into a room, spaces seem smaller. Small furniture pieces like chaises, ottomans, and benches ensure that spaces don’t appear cluttered. Find unique arrangements that leave much of your space open.
8. Watch your Windows: No outlandish curtains with dark colors that make a room feel stuffy. Let the natural light permeate. If you need shades, choose soft, subtle tones.
9. Find Right Compartment: Storage devices don’t need to be boring and ugly. There are a variety of contemporary storage baskets, racks, and more that will help you get organized with style.
10. Watch Your Head: In a small bedroom, a queen or king size bed will quickly fill up a room. So when choosing a bed, pick wisely. If you can find a bed low to the ground that suits your style, then go for it. Also, be careful of your headboard. Nothing too ornate taking up much of a wall.
11. Skin the Patterns: At Paradigm Gallery, you won’t find furniture pieces with patterns and for good reason. Patterned upholstery creates distraction and usually robs visual space. If you really need leopard print, then pick one furniture piece or room to go crazy with. Be mindful of themes.
12. Small Space + Big Furniture = Lack of Space: Choose pieces with smooth lines that provide functionality for people using it. If you never entertain, what’s the point of huge overstuffed couches? Make sure the furniture fits your lifestyle and you don’t have to conform to the furniture
As things around the U.S. and the world change economically, we’ve gotten more and more calls asking about advice to maximize the space of a room. This could be due to people downsizing to smaller places, crashing together, etc, but there are definitely unique challenges that arise when working with a smaller space.
So, because you wanted it, here are some tips to consider when designing your small spaces:
- Don’t Follow Formulas – there is no special recipe to succeed at small space design. Forget what you thought you knew, just break rules, and challenge yourself.
- Discover What Your Room Needs – get to the essentials. What do you really need?
- Keep Floors Open – nothing sucks up an open environment more than a floor filled piece of furniture.
- Light Colored Walls – yes, you’ve probably heard it before, but it’s the truth.
- Get Some Mirrors – not overdone, just enough. One medium sized one or a collection of smaller. Don’t overdo it.
- Expandable Dining Tables – we have plenty of modern dining tables that expand, check them out in our dining room section.
- Clear Glass + Simple Frames – this includes clear furniture items, especially useful for coffee tables like the Noguchi Coffee Table with sleek frame, clear glass.
- Design For You – not in the event of having guests, etc. Design for your everyday use.
- First Settings Aren’t It – it will take you a couple of edits to find what works for you. And, that’s ok.
- Think Vertical – work with your space in both directions
Remember, there are no hard rules for designing your small space. Have fun and enjoy your new space.