20 Small House Dos & Don’ts Part 2 of 3

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Short on square footage? Don’t despair. Follow t his advice for maximizing a minimal space.  DO Give each room its own treatment. To differentiate it from the living room, Sheila rag-rolled the walls of the dining room; the living room walls are covered in yellow striated wallpaper. Although the tones are similar (and therefore unifying), the texture in each space is unique.
DO Opt for light colors. One law of color is that pale tones advance, thus expanding a room, while dark colors recede and shrink a space. Sheila’s kitchen gets a lift from airy white cabinets; her bedroom glows with walls covered in white linen.
DO Draw the eye upward. This creates the illusion of more volume, which makes up for a lack of square footage. Crown molding, painted crisp white, defines the ceiling in Sheila’s living room; striped wallpaper also stretches the height of the walls in the kitchen. The dining room walls boast a special treatment: A chair rail, set about two-thirds of the way up the wall, caps pieces of trim that run vertically to the floor.
DO Keep flooring continuous. Maintaining the same flooring material throughout the house imparts a sense of continuity; the eye does not jump from one room to the next but rather wanders easily between the spaces. Sheila’s hardwood floors are light-stained to look even more expansive.
DO Invite the sunshine inside. Large windows usher in sunlight to bounce off the walls and brighten even the dreariest room. In an area that requires privacy, such as a bath or bedroom, put up window treatments that can be adjusted easily to let the sun pour in. Light from the windows in Sheila’s master bedroom, for instance, is dappled by hinged shutters. Sheila can leave them closed to stave off the sun’s hot rays, leave one ajar for a little extra dribble of light, or open all of them for sheets of sunshine.
DO Stretch your space into the outdoors. A patio, deck, or screen porch, such as Sheila’s, goes a long way toward increasing usable space — without the expense of adding on. Sheila’s porch provides all the comforts of an interior room, including screens to keep the bugs at bay, an awning to protect against harsh sun, and cozy, welcoming furnishings that invite lounging. “It’s my favorite room in the house,” she says.
Small Space Don’ts
DON’T Be afraid of large-scale furniture. Sheila recommends using a few dramatic pieces, such as the large, painted, country-style hutches in her living and dining rooms. They add necessary storage and serve as focal points to keep each room from feeling too “wimpy,” she says.
DON’T Clutter up the house. “Sometimes, less really is more,” Sheila says. “I don’t like my rooms to be crowded, and pieces that work hard are especially important in a small space. When you think you have pared down enough, eliminate more.”
DON’T Overwhelm with a lot of patterns. “I like my home to be peaceful and serene, so I chose a quiet palette,” Sheila says. “If it weren’t for my cat, who likes to lie on the furniture, I’d have all white upholstery. Sage green is the next best thing.”
DON’T Forget the ceiling. It’s a room’s fifth wall. Gain volume by treating the ceiling the same way as the walls; Sheila continued the rag-rolled yellow paint onto the ceiling of her dining room.

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