Best Blinds and Shades for Small Spaces
The wrong window treatments can overwhelm a small room. Here are some tips to help make your small space seem bigger than it is.
Small spaces can be a real design challenge. “The wrong color can feel claustrophobic, too much furniture can feel chaotic, and the wrong patterns just feel too busy,” says Wendy Cassidy, Freshome. So, how do you incorporate everything you want in a small room without it starting to feel tight and cramped? Is magic the answer? Well, close. It’s all about optical illusions.
“Professional interior decorators are master illusionists when it comes to meeting these challenges,” says Cassidy. And you can use some of these same techniques to visually expand your space.
“A small room needs to appear larger than it is to feel comfortable,” says Cassidy. These tips and tricks can help!
The Right Colors Works Wonders
“Color is probably the most important factor to consider when trying to change a room’s proportions with interior design tricks,” says Anna Jaglarz, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology.
Dark colors can make a room feel crowded and cramped. However, “using light colors will make walls appear to recede, creating a bright and airy feel,” says Cassidy. “Colors to consider are light blues, greens, light grays and neutrals.” And it is important to keep this color scheme throughout the room – from top to bottom. By keeping the flooring, walls, and ceiling “in the same color family the space will visually open up as they recede creating the illusion of more space.”
Embrace Natural Light
“Light is critical for our health and wellbeing,” says Dr. Victoria Revell, a chronobiologist at the University of Surrey. “Ensuring that we receive adequate light levels at the appropriate time of day benefits our alertness, mood, productivity, sleep patterns, and many aspects of our physiology.”
Natural Light also plays another important role in our lives – interior design. “A small room with poor lighting will feel cave like and claustrophobic,” says Cassidy. Natural light, however, can be a great tool in your quest for space. You “can create the perception of a larger space with the use of lighting,” says Jaglarz.
Our Recommendation: Solar Shades, Honeycomb Shades
“Window Coverings add to the atmosphere and overall feel of the space,” according to Joshua Zinder, principal of Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design, LLC. However, the wrong window treatments can overwhelm a small room. So, instead of choosing large, billowy drapes, consider “window treatments that let light in and gently frame the windows,” says Cassidy. “A simpler style will gently blend harmoniously with a wall rather than visually breaking up the wall.”
Perhaps no window treatment embodies this dual-purpose better than Solar Shades. These window treatments “block blinding sunlight yet let the good light through,” while still allowing you to take advantage of your beautiful view, says interior designer Rebekah Zaveloff. The key is the fabric opacity or Openness Factor. These window treatments are “available in varying degrees of ‘open-ness,’” explains interior designer Mike Strutt. “The more open they are, the more light they let in, and the more you can see through (both in and out).” Being able to see outside even when the shades are closed, brings the outside indoors and can make your space seem larger.
Another fantastic option for small spaces is Honeycomb Shades, which come in a variety of styles, including light filtering and sheer shades. Each provides a different level of light control and privacy. “Cellular Shades, also known as Honeycomb Shades, are one of the hottest new trends in window shades and are designed for light filtering or for the total blocking of sunlight,” writes interior design blogger Christie Craig of Houston Lifestyles & Homes magazine.
However, it is not only the style of these shades that plays a role. Their superior duofold functionality (top down/bottom up) also comes in handy, especially in small spaces. “They can roll down from the top to let in sun, while providing privacy at the bottom,” says Elizabeth Aaron, president of Elizabeth Aaron Interior Design.
More Tips to Make Your Space Seem Larger
- Raised Furniture: We recommend using raised – chairs, tables, and the like with longer legs and open-bottom designs. This allows the eye to take in more of the space, giving your guests the illusion of more space. Closed-bottom furniture, meanwhile makes a room appear closed off and smaller.
- Decorative Mirrors: Another nice trick to add light and space to your decor is to use decorative mirrors throughout. Not only can the right mirror be a stunning accent piece, but mirrors also give small rooms that all-important illusion of space. “Reflections and [the] optical illusions they provide can visually enlarge room space,” says Jaglarz. Strategically-placed mirrors will reflect natural light, and make small rooms appear larger than they actually are. Architectural-style mirrors can also create this illusion by giving the appearance of an extra window or door.