10 Colorful Ideas for Small House Design
Don’t shy away from colors and prints in a smaller home. Make the most of your space with these bright ideas for small house design.
When it came time for artist Lulie Wallace to decorate her 18th-century, 1,700-square-foot home, she and her architectural intern husband, Harrison, got creative to maximize space and bring her fabrics to life.
“I’m madly in love with color,” says the Charleston, South Carolina-based artist who wanted to find a way to incorporate her own fabric and art into her home without going overboard. To keep her bubbly style from veering too cutesy or frenetic, she called on friend and interior designer Angie Hranowsky to design a home that’s vibrant yet also calm and relaxing.
See how the redesigned space maximizes every inch of their small home with an open, airy design.
Bright Breakfast Nook
Avoid unused space in a formal dinning room that no one dines in by creating an eat-in kitchen. Turning the former dining area into the living room and opening it up to the kitchen gave the Wallace’s space to design a bright breakfast nook. They surrounded a one-of-a-kind kitchen table with two chairs and a built-in bench with lift-up seats for extra storage.
Open, Airy Kitchen
When Lulie and Harrison took a dining room wall down during the redesign, their kitchen immediately felt bigger as light filled the space. Achieving the crisp, clean look the couple wanted was in the details. Floor-to-ceiling tile (Foundation Field Brick; annsacks.com) draws the eye up and makes the room feel taller. Chunky bronze pulls from Rocky Mountain Hardware enhance the simple white cabinets.
Select furniture that can work double-duty, like a den that works overtime as a guest room. “It was very important to me that our guests had a queen bed to sleep in, but our house is so small it had to be a space we could also use,” explains Lulie. She dreamed up the queen-size daybed by attaching a headboard to each end of a mattress.
An open-concept room is a great way for a small space to feel larger. In their redesign, the Wallaces removed the wall between the dining room and kitchen, which created one great room for the living room, kitchen and breakfast nook. To make the most of an open floor plan, decorate to define individual areas that maximize every inch while taking into account how it all comes together. Here, Lulie’s living room textures and colors complement design choices in adjacent spaces.
Host alfresco if there is not enough space inside. Determined to keep entertaining despite no longer having a true dining room, Lulie created an inviting eating area on the courtyard patio, setting up a sturdy 10-seat Ikea table surrounded with galvanized metal chairs. When dining outdoors, think double-duty decorating: A vibrant Kantha throw dresses up the patio table.
Small Updates, Big Impact
In the screened porch next to the kitchen, small fixes and comfortable décor choices made a big impact on design and usability. Updating the screens gave it a whole new sheen and added even more airy space for entertaining. The L-shaped couch, upholstered in outdoor fabric, provides plenty of seating and pillows made from Lulie’s fabrics add a pop of color.
Mini Wall Galleries
Hang mini galleries throughout the house to maximize limited wall space and showcase art. Designer Hranowsky helped Lulie create groupings within her collection of artwork based on styles, weight and frames. “I’ll often lay the arrangement on the floor and take a pictures before hanging it on the wall,” says Hranowsky, who hung Lulie’s work wherever she saw an opportunity – above doors, between windows, even wrapped around the TV in the living room.
Showcase Small Home Charm
Highlight the existing character of your small space with a touch of your own style. Lulie complemented her 18th-century home’s built in bookshelves and fireplace with her colorful art and book collection. When designing such a space, designer Hranowsky advises using a larger piece of work for your anchor, then surrounding it with smaller pieces.
Balance Brights with White
Don’t let loads of colors and patterns overwhelm a small space. Balancing brights with white lets colorful fabrics and décor standout. For wall color, Hranowsky chose a neutral backdrop, Benjamin Moore’s Dove Wing, for the bedroom, living room, kitchen, and hallway, which meant Lulie’s cheerful textiles and art could take center stage.
Unexpected Pops of Color
A small space nursery is the perfect place for an unexpected pop of color. “I know color on the canvas, but wall color is a whole different art,” admits Lulie, who left the decorating palette in Hranowsky’s hands. In the Wallace nursery, the designer chose Pratt & Lambert’s Balsam Green paint as a bright way to complement Lulie’s sweet floral wallpaper.