“While paint is unarguably one of the best small space hacks, it’s not necessarily a cure-all. Certain architecture and home styles are not conducive to a complete ‘white out,’ and in doing so, can compromise the character of a home drastically,” explains Katie Hodges of Katie Hodges Design in Los Angeles. “Instead, consider your dark nooks as an opportunity for a cozy seating area that honors your home’s original charm.”
“When you paint all the walls of a small space white and keep the furniture too light you tend to look like you are living in a IKEA-designed prison cell (a little dramatic but you get the gist),” agrees Roth.
How To Avoid It:
Kick white and its equally boring cousins beige, ivory, and sand to the curb in favor of rich shades that will add dimension. Also, while much maligned, the accent wall is alive and well as an interior design strategy, and can add interest to a smaller space without fear of overwhelming it. (Accent wall detractors, don’t @ me.)
We get it: When you’re short on space, it feels scary to try to pull of any kind of look. But keeping your place too visually quiet creates a feeling of impermanence and listlessness that can actually emphasize its small size. Plus, it’s just not very much fun.
How To Avoid It:
“A powder room is a great spot to take a risk, even for the risk-averse. By adding a patterned wallpaper, this elevates a room by adding a large dose of personality in a spot that is closed off from other rooms,” says Kate Marker of Kate Marker Interiors in Chicago. “A unique vanity, ornate mirror, and/or unusual plumbing fixtures are all additional ways to make a small room have a big impact.”