3 small-space mistakes that secretly make interior designers cringe

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Some myths never die, especially when decorating is concerned. In the world of design, small spaces are a beast all their own — and they require their own set of decorating rules. That said, the rules that people think apply to tiny spaces aren’t always the right ones. Case in point: White walls don’t always make your space look bigger.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, big is not always better,” Shannon Vos of Vos Creative tells Inside Out. “And with housing options shrinking by the second, that’s a good thing. But this means we need to be clever with our design choices.” Ahead, he explains the top three decorating mistakes he always sees in small spaces and how to avoid them:

Dollhouse furniture

“We often make the mistake of creating miniature versions of the bigger rooms we really want,” says Vos. Instead of picking mini rugs and sofas, dare to make a few risky statements: Pick an oversize sofa, go for a large bold rug or push your furniture away from the walls. Give your room less but use more impactful pieces.

Poor lighting

“Almost nothing has the power to transform a room like good lighting can,” Vos claims. By the same token, bad lighting can quickly ruin a room. The designer recommends using as much natural light as possible and steering clear of downlights. Instead, a good variety of sconces, table, and floor lamps arranged around the room cast a much more flattering glow and contribute to making the space feel more intimate and comfortable.

The white myth

“Sure, painting a room white is safe but it’s also boring,” says the designer. “While the general rule is that lighter walls and floors give the illusion of more space, our aim is to create depth and to do this we need to layer tones and textures.” Instead of painting everything white, he recommends creating subtle tonal disparities with surfaces like whitewashed floors and pale fabrics. As for small rooms that have very little natural light: going dark is the best option.

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