With the population ever growing and an already limited amount of land, the rise in the popularity of shoebox or studio apartments in Singapore comes as no surprise. However, shoebox apartments are aptly named – they can become cramped, and homeowners should not have to sacrifice comfortable living for affordability, so here are some ways to maximize the use of small spaces, courtesy of celebrity interior designer Bobby Berk (from Netflix’s Queer Eye, and founder of Bobby Berk Interiors & Design).
When installing lighting for a room, opt for creating “layers” of lighting around the room as opposed to one single light source. This will draw the eye around the room and make it feel bigger rather than have you focus on a single area, all while keeping it illuminated.
Use your window treatments to create a visual illusion of longer, more open space by hanging your curtains closer to the ceiling line and having them extend past the window, instead of starting at the top of the window and extending to the sides.
Contrary to popular belief, white paint does not always make a room look bigger. If the room lacks natural light and character, stark white walls can cause it to look too lifeless and almost clinical and cold. Instead, use light neutrals such as warm toned white or light grey to reflect light better and make the room look larger.
Mirrors are a well known and effective way to create the optical illusion of a larger space with reflections. Whether leaning or hanging, the mirror will trick the eye into thinking the room is twice as large.
When shopping for furniture for a small space, opt for pieces that have “legs” or “feet“over pieces that go all the way to the floor. This makes the room feel lighter and less weighed down.
Additionally, opting for furniture that can serve more than one purpose is key to maximizing small spaces. Go for pieces like an ottoman or coffee table that doubles as storage, platform beds with storage under, and dining chairs that fit under the table when they aren’t in use.
Finally, choosing furniture with clean lines and light colors gives the visual effect of a lighter, larger space as compared to large, cushy pieces that can weigh the room down. Having built-in furniture that spans the full height of the wall can also help elongate and expand the feel of the room.
While it may be tempting to section off space by color or furniture to give each function its own area, this tends to shrink the room visually. Instead, go for a cohesive style and carry it throughout the space and incorporate complementary colors, textures, and patterns all throughout the room.
Additionally, use a neutral palette and stick to it, focusing on textures and patterns more than colors. Bold pops of color can make a space look too busy, and hence be counterproductive.
While opting for a smaller home is oftentimes necessary, especially in a small country like Singapore, that doesn’t mean it has to feel smaller too. Using these tips, you can easily make your space feel larger than it is!