Living in the current climate, we all know how important it is to find an equilibrium with our surroundings, and downsizing your life is becoming more of a trend. This doesn’t have anything to do with where you live or the size of your household. It’s all related to the amount of space we use. Smaller living spaces don’t have to be cluttered or without essential furniture pieces due to their size.
We all experienced at least at one point in our lives a larger space. Our childhood bedrooms or living room possibly provided a larger space for us to grow and blossom, giving us more freedom to externalize our emotions. Still, things are changing. With skyrocketing square footage prices, the younger generations are left struggling. Limited affordability in the face of climate change threats and an economy that doesn’t ensure we can actually afford to live increases stress levels and affects life goals.
Now, what can we do about the units where we have a limited amount of space? What we shouldn’t do is take out a wardrobe that is needed, use the dining table as a desk or cover our walls in large closets with shelves, hidden compartments, or drawers. We’re not saying here that storage spaces are wrong. They do, however, need to occupy a limited amount of space if all the space you have is limited. Your living room should be packed to the brim, but nor should it lack the things you need. Finding the balance is key, and we’re going to cover that in the following sections.
Mirror Effects with Light and Colors
We can make any space look larger with a few well-placed mirrors and proper use of natural light. Small living areas can tap into our claustrophobia which isn’t something we should try out. We can maximize the visual perception our space has on our subconscious by using mirrors. Light also significantly impacts small spaces, so emphasize it to make your living room look bigger. Simply placing a mirror at the receiving end of natural light will boost the light throughout the room. If you have light-colored walls, even better. Pops of color won’t have a significant impact on a room if used in moderation. One wall covered in dark paint or intricate wallpaper will draw more attention to the space by creating contrast and making it stand out more.
We can also use artificial lighting to accentuate a part of the space. Create a focal point using low-hanging lights or floor-facing curved lamps that draw attention to a seating area. LED downlights installed in flooring or other types of light sources at the floor level will accentuate the room if a plant is placed in front of it. The psychology of light and color explains how and why both elements are essential in smaller spaces. Maximizing the space can start from them, and adding a mirror to the area where most of the light falls on throughout the day does just that.
Space can not only be accentuated through light, mirrors, and colors. High ceilings go a long way, so if your square footage is limited but tall, installing a fake ceiling may not be the best decision. Yes, there is the risk of wasting heat, but a tall ceiling can give way more than it can take. You can take full advantage of the extra space by creating extra space through a fake floor if the space allows. However, high ceilings can draw the eyes upwards, giving the impression that your living room is bigger. All that space gives you room for art, mirror, memorabilia, and shelves (but more on that later).
Maximizing space can start from your floorboards and stop at the ceiling. We’ll leave your actual flooring alone but take a look at your skirting boards. Regardless of their color right now, matching their color with the walls will make the eyes flow over the difference, tricking them into seeing a bigger space. Clean vertical lines work the same as horizontal ones, decluttering the space even if a wall is used for collage photos or art. Crown molding doesn’t work to make the vertical space look bigger, but the horizontal space. It can be an art form on its own. Instead of choosing curtains or drapes, go for blinds as they are less bulky and easier to open and close.
Downsize your Life
Furniture is necessary. You can not have a living room without a seating area, a media center, storage, and maybe even a desk. Here it’s where multifunctionality and minimalism come into play. However, before we even talk about furniture, take a look at your belongings. If you’re not familiar with the KonMari art of decluttering your life, go check it out, as it will ultimately simplify your life by minimizing your carbon footprint, storage situation, and stress levels. Once you are done getting rid of everything you no longer need in your life, focus on what you do need.
In a small living room, a sectional sofa with matching armchairs and poufs doesn’t fit. Downsizing your furniture is necessary, but a simple small sofa and a couple of textured armchairs that have legs and space beneath them work wonders. If you’re drawn to invisible furniture, they don’t seem to take up much space. They are invisible. See-through furniture like glass tables or plastic chairs tricks the eye.
Built-in storage has its benefits and downsides because nothing is perfect, no matter how much we want it to be. Having built-in storage that covers an entire wall isn’t a solution in a small living room, no matter how much need for storage you have. Go back to Konmari and apply the concept to everything you own. If you have tall ceilings, use them. Either by adding storage closer to the ceiling and using a ladder to reach it or by implementing shelves, hanging baskets, or including tall closets or cabinets, you have to think outside the box here.
Multifunctional furniture also plays a vital role in storage. If you have a coffee table or puffs, make sure they have storage compartments. Baskets are also an excellent idea for pillows and throws. Instead of a large and bulky desk, use a foldable desk with a storage area above and below. Your media center can include a wall-mounted TV with floating shelves above and below and extra storage with slim drawers. An additional tip would be to hide it all behind some artworks.
Space is the final frontier, but it doesn’t have to be infinite. We, as human beings, need a place to rest, a bathroom, a place to eat and entertain. Having all of these things in a detached single-family home or a space-limited condo can diminish our carbon footprint and lessen our financial burden. It’s been a while since bigger was better. We are swiftly transitioning towards a minimalist lifestyle that will reduce our modern lifestyle’s impact on the environment.
Younger generations are struggling with the expensive cost of modern living, and we are still dealing with a housing shortage that’s breaking records. Life shouldn’t be so tricky, and living should be about more than the financial value of our lives. Reset your lifestyle and help mother nature overcome the challenges we exposed her to. Less is the new more, and green is the new black!