October 21, 2014 by Leave a comment

All those features the realtor called “distinctive” before you bought the house have a tendency to turn just plain obnoxious when the time comes to decorate. But not everyone has the space and resources to go all HGTV on their floor plan. Learn to love (or tolerate) your not-so-standard spaces with these tips.

For a long, narrow room

If you have a bowling alley of a room, you’re not necessarily out of luck. The trick? Just because there isn’t a wall somewhere in the middle doesn’t mean you have to think of this room as one continuous space.

Use furniture to make a division of sorts, or area rugs to block out each end into its own space.  Also keep in mind that light, cool colors tend to recede, while warm, dark colors pop forward. Using them in combination (on the long walls and short walls, respectively) can help balance out the room.

For a small room

The trick to keeping a small room from looking even smaller is to pay attention to the size and scale of your furniture—anything that takes up a lot of perceived space can dwarf the whole room by comparison.

If your small room is a bedroom, wave goodbye to king-sized beds and giant wardrobes. In a living room, get used to curling up on a loveseat instead of an over-stuffed, full sized couch.  Avoid full-sized coffee tables and table lamps, and even large-printed bedspreads or carpets. Light colors on the wall can help a room feel airy, but keep in mind that too many colors can make a small room seem more cluttered than actually it is.

For a room with slanted walls/ceilings

If you live in an older house, odds are you have a couple wonky places where your upstairs living space meets the roof.  These slants can make a room feel more cramped, but that doesn’t mean you’re missing out on usable space–don’t be afraid to put it to work. Tuck a bench into a dormer window or a desk under that wall on which you would normally crack your head.

Some people choose to play up features like these by painting the dormer or slant a slightly different color than the rest of the room, but you may just want it to disappear, especially if the room is already small. Carrying a light, neutral wall color onto the ceiling (or a ceiling color onto the walls) can help a lot. Without a second color to break up the wall, your eye travels upward much easier, making the room feel taller.

For one big room. (And that’s it)

Studio apartments, right? If you’re in a big city, they can be some of the most affordable living spaces around, but also the most intimidating to decorate. Like with a long narrow room, you’re going to need to stop thinking about your studio as a single room and start breaking it up into smaller living spaces.

This might seem counter-intuitive, as many studios are also tight on room, but having a few clearly defined living areas can actually make your apartment flow better. So instead of pushing all your furniture against the walls, position your couch perpendicular to one and section off the living room, or use a bookcase to separate your eating area from your bedroom.

One good takeaway from all this? Play to your “unique” room’s positives and try to avoid thinking that by treating it like a more standard space, it will become one.

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