Wendy-Lee Douglas of Douglas & Douglas busted several myths about decorating small spaces when revamping this open-plan living area

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Living room - small living area

The homeowners wanted to give this open-plan living area a unique character, but were worried about making it feel cramped and so called in Wendy to help. She encouraged them to paint their kitchen walls in Dulux’s Night Jewels to match their staircase.

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Small space shelving - small living area

“People are often scared to use dark colours in a small room because they’re worried it will make it feel even smaller,” says Wendy. “But this deep charcoal actually has the opposite effect; it makes the walls appear to recede enhancing the sense of space.”

One of the reasons this moody hue works so well is that it’s been teamed with fresh white cabinetry. There’s also a wall of stacking doors leading out onto the patio, so the room is flooded with natural light.

Living room - small living area

While small furnishings may seem like the best bet for a compact living area, too many little pieces of furniture can create a cluttered effect. Instead Wendy suggested incorporating a generous corner couch to maximise the amount of seating space. With clean lines and a low back, it doesn’t block the view through the patio doors allowing the eye to be drawn outside making the whole room feel bigger.

Kitchen - small living area

Other space-enhancing ideas to steal from this room:

  • Tiles were replaced with a modern screed floor. It has a seamless look that’s less visually busy than a grid of grout lines.
  • The kitchen wall cabinets were mirrored and a metallic ottoman with a mirrored top was added to the seating area – a good choice as mirrors are an easy way to make a room appear larger than life.
  • The wallpaper in the seating area, Eijffinger’s Contempo Lace from Dreamweaver Studios, has been wrapped up onto the ceiling. This creates a quirky feature and draws the eye upwards making the room feel more spacious.

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