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Small apartments are becoming the norm, especially in urban areas such as punggol. You might think small spaces are easier to decorate (hey, less space means less mistakes, right?), but we beg to differ. Decorating small apartments is no easy feat. There sometimes be a landmine of mistakes just waiting to happen. Not only are you dealing with limited square footage, you have to scale back your ideas to make sure they work with the available space. Sometimes, people take the concept of scaling back too far, and this is often the biggest design mistake in decorating small spaces.

How To Fix The Biggest Design Mistakes In Decorating Small Spaces


The biggest mistake: buying furniture that is too small

It totally makes sense to make sure your furniture is small enough to fit your small apartment. In terms of scale and proportion, having smaller furniture in your space will allow you to have more open space, right? Actually, not quite. While the idea to keep things in proportion makes sense, sometimes homeowners make the mistake of taking the idea too far. What happens is that furniture pieces end up being too small for their space.

When the pieces you buy are too small for your space, it can have the opposite effect intended, making your space look even smaller than it already is. Also, when you have smaller pieces, you might be tempted to put more pieces in your space. The combination of these two mistakes leads to an assemblage of tiny furniture swimming in your space without it even feeling grounded, culminating in the “dollhouse effect”.

In such situations, what you need to do to fix this is to take the middle ground. Make sure that you properly take into account scale and proportion to ensure the pieces you do put in your space is just the right size.

The first fix: follow the 2/3 rule

Buying the most suitable furniture for your space takes more than an eye for style and design. You can’t get away with simply eyeballing if a piece will fit in your space perfectly. There’s actually a bit of mathematics involved. Buying properly sized furniture is all about getting the measurements correct. 

Now we don’t mean that you need to measure everything down to the smallest centimeter. All you need to do is have the basic measurements of your space in hand. Start everything by measuring your room as a whole, and then work backward from there for the main pieces of furniture. Once you have that, just remember to keep a two-thirds proportion in mind. Imagine the proportions going down in the form of an inverted pyramid. For example, in your living room, your sofa should take up a maximum of 2/3 of the length of the closest wall. Following that, your coffee table should be about 2/3 of the length of the sofa.

This rule of proportion should work well regardless of the room you’re working in. This simple rule allows the main pieces in each room to anchor your space, grounding it and imparting the coziness a smaller space should exude.

The second fix: vary visual weight

Now that you’ve selected your main pieces of furniture using the 2/3 proportion rule, you need to fill out your space with secondary pieces. These pieces are items like side tables or consoles; that is, anything that is not necessary for the overall function of your space. You might ask, why do I need to fill my space with things that are not necessary for function? Well, these items are what’s going to add visual depth and dimension to your space.

It is important that you take into account the visual weight each secondary décor piece adds to your space. The key is to incorporate variety into your décor choices. Too many weighty items will make your space feel top-heavy, while using too many light and airy items leaves your space feeling ungrounded.

Again, it is pertinent that you incorporate a mixture of visual weights. Allow some heavy-looking pieces to add density and weight, and balance it out with the lightness of other pieces. 

The third fix: trust your instincts

After you have all your pieces – primary and secondary – the last step is to arrange them in your space. The best tool that you have at your disposal is your own instincts. Trust your own perception when you are arranging each design element. In interior design, your sixth sense is your perception and instinct. If you get the feeling that something just feels off in your space, congratulations, you’ve found your instincts.

While there are layout tips available out there, the last thing you want in your space is a textbook arrangement that lacks personality and life. While you can follow design books and tips to a T, there’s something about the quirkiness of your own green-handed approach that brings in charm and exuberance. Arrange your space the way you would live in it, and remember pay close attention to how the arrangement makes you feel. Don’t be afraid to tweak your layout until everything feels just right.





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