The Best Tricks for Small Spaces
A New Orleans shotgun house provides great tips for faking more square footage.
Note: This article has been updated on October 31, 2005. At this time, we are unable to reach this business (or homeowner) after Hurricane Katrina. Please contact us if you have any information regarding its status.
When Katie Winters purchased her home in the historic French Quarter, decorating it was the least of her concerns. She first had to make the place habitable, as it had been without electricity and working plumbing for quite some time. She also wanted to alter the traditional layout--a series of small rooms, one after the other--into something more appropriate for modern living.
Katie removed doors that closed off each room and had a wall torn down between the dining room and kitchen. Now, the long, open space is casual and comfortable, a perfect example of how to maximize minimal square footage. Even if you don't have a shotgun-style house, these design lessons are practical enough to apply to any small residence.
Color and Texture
A pale palette goes a long way toward visually enlarging the rooms. Warm white paint on the walls brightens things up, making the most of natural light. White paint on the ceiling makes it seem even taller. If you're lucky enough to have high ceilings, enhance them by using tone-on-tone colors on the ceiling, walls, and trim. Even a tiny space feels larger when it has a lot of headroom.
Texture keeps the color scheme interesting. Woven fabrics on the sofa, armchair, and dining chairs contribute to the casual but sophisticated look. Monochromatic hues work best when a color is used in all its varying tones. If you don't believe cream and taupe come in more than one tone, pick up a paint card at a home-improvement store.