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Small Spaces

Small homes present big challenges when it comes to design and decoration, but limited space needn't mean sacrificing style. Interiors guru Mia Parres of Design Studio shares her top tips to help you get maximum functionality out of minimal square footage.

small-spaces-design-studio-mia-parres-cayman-00Pale Palettes

Whilst you can’t gain extra square feet you can create the illusion of more space – and a light, neutral background is your starting point. Dark colours will make a space feel more enclosed, whereas pale tones reflect light, making it feel brighter and more airy. It need not mean a bland interior: add pops of colour with boldly patterned textiles, cushions and bright accessories.

small-spaces-design-studio-mia-parres-cayman-10Storage Sense

In small homes and apartments, finding space for all your belongings is key. Build in storage space wherever you can – custom made book cases, hanging shelves, or even window seats become part of the walls, freeing up valuable floor space and providing a place to display possessions in an orderly manner.

Flexible Furniture

In smaller quarters, every piece of furniture has to be fully functional – and if it can serve multiple functions, so much the better. Look for pieces that can do double duty, like beds with built in drawers, an ottoman that offers hidden storage or a folding table that can double as a desk and dining table.

small-spaces-design-studio-mia-parres-cayman-09Table Talk

Because glass table tops allow you to see right through them, they make a space appear larger and airier. Glass is easy to clean and maintain, and works in both traditional and contemporary settings. A glass-topped coffee table that incorporates shelving or drawers in the base for added storage and display space, is a great way to fuse function and form.

small-spaces-design-studio-mia-parres-cayman-08Mirror, Mirror

It may be the oldest trick in the book, but that’s probably because it works. By hanging mirrors on the wall, the surroundings are reflected back at you, creating extra light and the illusion of more space. Multiply the effect by positioning a mirror to reflect the view through the window - it will give you even greater depth and fill your space with beautiful natural colours.

small-spaces-design-studio-mia-parres-cayman-07Light It Up

Floor and table lamps take up valuable real estate on your surfaces. Swap them out for space-saving pendant lamps and wall sconces to reclaim precious space. Together these two options will direct light up and across the ceiling as well as downwards onto your table or countertops – the ideal combination.

Make a Statement

The temptation with small homes is to choose pint-sized pieces of furniture, but lots of these together add up to a busy, overcrowded room. It’s far more effective to choose fewer, larger pieces – a four poster bed, a sumptuous couch or an oversize piece of artwork – that make a statement and inject a little grandeur into even the tiniest interiors.

small-spaces-design-studio-mia-parres-cayman-02Sliding Doors

The space a door requires to swing open is space that can be reclaimed. Replacing traditional hinged doors with sliding barn-style doors maximises space, and adds a rustic, organic touch to interiors.

small-spaces-design-studio-mia-parres-cayman-03Host with the Most

Entertaining is probably the single greatest challenge that small home dwellers face. Placing slim-profile banquette seating up against the wall allows you to move the table closer in, gaining you a few extra feet of floor space. Likewise, cube-shaped ottomans can be used both as extra seats and as small side tables, and bar carts can do double duty providing a bit of extra countertop space.

Head for Height

Space works vertically as well as horizontally, so take advantage of the under-used space between the top of your furniture and the ceiling. Cabinetry and bookcases that extend all the way up increase the sense of height, as does hanging drapes just a few inches from the ceiling.

small-spaces-design-studio-mia-parres-cayman-04Pare it Back

Reduced spaces are inevitably prone to feeling cluttered as all the bits and pieces of your life vie for space. The best way to avoid this is to edit down your possessions. If you haven’t used something in the last year, you can clearly live without it, so let it go. You’ll appreciate the serenity of the space more than you will miss the clutter.


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