DESIGN: Our Tips for Designing Small Spaces

SMALL SPACES ARE SOME OF BOWER'S CREATIVE DIRECTOR TALIAH LOWRY'S FAVOURITE SPACES. 

“It’s about the challenge of being forced to be more imaginative in terms of design, feel and functionality that I love”, she says.  “It’s about making every inch count, being super clever with storage design, being more creative with materials selections which sometimes translates into using more expensive materials because we need so much less of it.”

You’ve only got to look at the Manhattan-Luxe influenced, beautifully seductive and moody spaces just completed at The Bower to see just how she rises to the challenge! The new Deluxe King Rooms with Baths and the standalone, intimate Studios bedded into lush surroundings and sited poolside, are a fabulous lesson in how to create perfectly stunning, bespoke interiors in small spaces.

Architectural Digest has a raft of useful tips too about decorating small spaces and filling them with a distinctive personality rather than chaos and clutter.  There’s an art to it that’s for sure.  And let’s not stop at the inside.  Homes To Love will show you how to make a tiny balcony or outdoors space into a private oasis with some easy styling tips. (Our fave tip is the cane hanging chair, much like the beauties from Byron Bay Hanging Chairs that you'll see in spaces like Bower Cottage).

PS. All photos are of our beautiful Bower spaces. Click the photos to see more...

The Bower Byron Bay


OUTDOOR IDEAS

 

1. BUILD A VERTICAL GARDEN

Perfect for small balconies, vertical gardens provide beautiful greenery without taking up precious ground cover. They're also great for breathing new life into cold, concrete-heavy urban apartments – layer colours and textures to make the space appear even bigger.

Hanging pots with trailing plants will never fail to make an impact, but if you want to get serious about creating a vertical garden, you'll need to take advantage of any available wall space. Creating a vertical garden is like creating a living artwork, and you'll still have plenty of space for a table and chairs or a comfy outdoor seat.

When choosing your plants, look to colourful varieties such as begonias – which thrive in vertical gardens and add a pretty touch of pink, white or apricot –as well as Japanese iris, orchids and ivy geranium.

Alternatively, if you'd prefer to grow something you can eat, see our list of the best edible plants for vertical gardens.

2. MIX AND MATCH POTS

Container gardens are perfect for small outdoor spaces and renters alike. Rather than choosing matching pots, try mixing things up to create interest and depth. Terracotta is the classic choice, but there are some stunning concrete and copper plant pots on the market too.

Keep an eye out for rustic, second hand find and be sure to think outside the square – tins, teacups and other upcycled vessels al make great balcony planters! Group them close together for maximum (space-saving) impact.

Fuss-free, sun-loving plants that enjoy balcony life are herbs, geraniums and pansies, while ferns, azalea and camellia varieties prefer their pots in the shade.

The Bower Byron Bay

3. CREATE AN INDOOR / OUTDOOR CONNECTION

Opening up your home to the outdoors makes any alfresco space appear bigger, not to mention entices guests to wander outdoors. Blur the lines by bringing pot plants inside and hanging artwork outside, so that the look and feel remains the same throughout your home.

Ensuring there's adequate seating is an important part of creating an outdoor room. An L-shaped sofa can be a great addition, however if outdoor furniture isn't an option, offer stools, crates and oversized cushions for guests to perch on.

Matching colours and materials with your indoor furniture can further help to create a seamless transition from living room to balcony.

Succulents and cacti are the perfect low maintenance option for balcony gardens, and come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours.

4. LAYER TEXTURES

Just because a space is small, doesn't mean it's automatically going to feel cosy and welcoming. Introducing some soft furnishings – think outdoor cushions, blankets and rugs – is a quick and inexpensive way to make an area warm and welcoming, not to mention adding some colour.

Look to hardwearing materials when choosing furniture and opt for waterproof where possible – particularly if your balcony doesn't have complete protection from the elements. Leather and linen are great durable options – just be sure to bring any items inside to avoid rain and sun damage when necessary.

5. ADD MOOD LIGHTING

The right lighting can completely transform the look and feel of an outdoor area.

To create a little magic on a small balcony, string up some fairy lights – they take up barely any space and provide a soft, warm glow after the sun goes down. If your balcony is exposed to moisture, remember to choose only those designed for outdoor use.



INDOOR IDEAS

1. KEEP THE FLOOR CLEAR

You need space for the essentials, but even the most perfectly decorated small room doesn’t work if you can’t walk in it. Try floating pieces, such as shelves and nightstands, to keep the ground clear of obstacles and create space for extra storage beneath if needed. Opt for sconces and wall lights rather than floor lamps.

2. GO FOR FOLDING PIECES

You may need a desk and a dining table, but do you really need them 24-7? Consider installing furnishings that can fold up when not in use. You’ll free up floor space and avoid the stacks of mail and work that inevitably pile up on these surfaces. If you have a one-wall kitchen, folding doors can conceal clutter when not in use.

3. FOCUS ON LIGHTING

Small spaces can often end up feeling dark due to small or nonexistent windows. Make up for the lack of natural light by adding plenty of light sources in every room, from the kitchen to the bedroom. Combine striking ceiling fixtures—either a pretty pendant or elegant flush mount, depending on your ceiling height—with sconces or table lamps for a cozy and bright atmosphere.

4. MIRRORS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND

If you’re not blessed with an abundance of natural light, mirrors can help you make the most of what you do have by reflecting it around the room. Mirrors can also help make the space feel bigger, giving the illusion of a few more square feet. Consider lining a wall with a large mirror or creating a gallery wall of different sizes and shapes.

5. CHOOSE THE RIGHT RUG

A rug is the one item you definitely don’t want to skimp on, size-wise. A tiny rug will make the room feel equally small. Pick a floor covering that’s large enough so most of the furniture will sit on it, or go wall-to-wall.

6. DON'T BE AFRAID TO GO BOLD

Having a small space doesn’t mean it has to be a white box. You can still go bold with color and embrace the size of your apartment. A darker shade of paint on the walls and ceiling can make the space feel like a jewel box.

7. KEEP IT COHESIVE

There are only so many things to look at in a small space, so make sure they all fit. Stick to a limited colour palette, whether it’s light and airy or dark and dramatic. Looking at items with an editor’s eye will help make sure pieces really belong and keep the space from becoming cluttered.

The Bower Byron Bay

8. FIND PIECES THAT EARN THEIR PLACE

Make the most of your space by finding furnishings that also boast storage. Opt for a bed with built-in drawers or benches and ottomans with space to hide away extra blankets or sweaters. In a small space, every piece needs to pull its weight: A daybed can serve as both a sofa and a guest bed.

9. LET PIECES BREATHE

Nothing screams "I don’t have enough room" quite like furniture pressed up against the wall and tucked so tightly together that it’s practically stacked. Pull furnishings away from the wall if you can and make sure there’s space between pieces. (You may have to get rid of anything that isn’t used on a daily basis, like side tables or accent chairs.)

10. PLAY WITH SCALE

There’s no need to use pint-size furniture and decor in a small space. The key is choosing a few statement pieces that will really draw the eye. You can use regular-size furniture and large-scale art; you’ll just need to use fewer pieces in the room overall.

The Bower Byron Bay

 

Original article on Interior Ideas from Architectural Digest

Original article on Exterior Ideas from Homes to Love