Interior Design Mistakes to Avoid in Small Houses

"Sometimes decorating your tiny is difficult since most furniture is designed for larger homes. In this guide we'll go over common mistakes and how to avoid them in your small space."

Although most designers enjoy decorating small homes, they’re less enthusiastic when it comes to the challenges they commonly present. The lack of square footage can easily lead to conventional traps of small space faux pas which usually include ill-positioned lighting, unflattering colour palettes and oversized furniture.

If you’re feeling discouraged about your own small space interior design, bear in mind that even professionals make mistakes. Luckily, mistakes can be easily corrected and turned into feats. There’s no need to put off your great ideas just because you’re worried it may turn into a design disaster – here are six tips on how to avoid typical small house interior design mistakes.

Lighting struggles

A lot of people continually struggle with choosing appropriate lighting in small spaces, particularly in tiny powder rooms. The biggest challenge seems to be is finding the ideal lighting for the vanity. When you only have a tiny bit of wall space, the mistake is giving up on a sconce altogether and opting only for an overhead light which is too intense and harsh.

The way to fix this design dilemma is to opt for a slim sconce made of tubular shapes. The additional layers of light will add a glow to the tiny bathroom and make it seem larger. If you combine sconces with overhead lighting, lamps, and natural light from a window or a skylight, you’ll create a sense of balance and the room will feel bright and inviting.

Wall colour palette

The design potential of a small space is easily overlooked especially if your attention is directed on a larger renovation project. Cozy bedrooms give you the opportunity to experiment with both patterns and colours. The typical mistake would be to start with plain white walls for your kids’ bedrooms in hope that they would make the space seem bigger. However, such walls only emphasize the lack of light in the room and make it seem unfinished.

The solution lies in opting for a stronger and brighter colour such as teal blue and even painting the ceiling with it. This would make the walls more subsided and allow the furniture to pop. With an addition of a vintage poster, you’ll fill up the wall and add more dynamics to the overall design.

You might also consider playing with the size of furniture and artwork. A larger rug can visually expand the room footprint and large-scale artwork on a wall can add more texture and interest, so do not fear bold patterns and colours.

Small decorative items

One mistake that’s frequently made in small spaces is going small with everything including decoration. As mentioned previously, adding larger artwork pieces and items can make a significant impact in small rooms. For instance, don’t put two small lamps but rather choose one large lamp to hold the corner. Be intentional when it comes to scale and size and the result will make all the difference.

As a Master’s Degree in Design for Urban Environment teaches us, the power of design lies in its ability to bring together things both great and small, light and dark, and make them functional and beautiful. It helps you embrace the art of change and adapt your living space so it serves its purpose and makes it pleasant and comfortable for living.

Heavy and dark furniture

Among the worst things you can do in a small space is to pick heavy, dark, traditional furniture. Small room, just like hallways, feel larger and more spacious if you furnish them with pieces that have a lighter visual profile. Think in terms of tables with slim lines for legs and open baskets for umbrellas or blankets.

Try to keep the lines simple and clean, and the overall style edited and uncomplicated. Display the items you love and store away everything else to avoid clutter. And with some greenery, space will instantly feel brighter, larger and airier.

Old bulky fireplace

Small apartments, particularly in older buildings, will commonly have a fireplace that may not really fit into your design plans. However, it can offer a perfect opportunity to repurpose it and create some additional, built-in storage such as a bookshelf using reclaimed wood. In small spaces, lack of storage is an issue, so make that your design priority. Or you might use it as a pet area or for your cacti collection. It might turn out to be your favourite detail in the room!

Fearing the risks

Don’t let a small space put you off from taking risks and making bold decoration statements. Even a small, uninspiring kitchen can be turned into a tiny masterpiece with some clever tricks such as using draperies to conceal the lackluster cabinets and painting the walls in bold colours. Suddenly, the worst room in the apartment becomes your favorite! Designing a small home is challenging as it poses restrictions on how much you can expand. The trick is avoiding typical mistakes that will make living in close quarters feel limiting. Hopefully, the tips listed here will help you create a small but warm, functional and inviting space.

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About the Author
Jennifer Hahn Masterson
Jennifer Hahn Masterson
If one thing is true about Jennifer, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on.