8 ways to fake space with colour in a small apartment
Colour us impressed. Shaynna Blaze, interior designer and Brand Ambassador, is fanning out a whole vibrant spectrum of ways to fake space with colour. Before you design your perfect palette, ask yourself these key questions: How large is your apartment? How much natural light does it receive? Which direction does it face? Which era is its architecture inspired by? Here are Shaynna's seven commandments for apartment living, using colour in every shape and form to magnify a small space.
Photographer: Jonas Ingerstedt
1. Break up rich, dark colours with warm accents. Rooms lacking architectural character, especially tiny ones — think powder room — can gain a few style points from a dramatic, deep hue on the walls. Emeralds, aubergines and ink blues can be partnered with metallic tones, granite or earthy colours, and features like exposed brickwork or oak timbers will neutralise a dark palette with their warm, rustic undertones.
Photographer: Marnie Hawson
2. Simple tones over excessive contrast.
Simple is powerful. Paint your doors, trims, ceiling and cornices with gradients from the same colour family, and choose one main colour for the walls. “Go for minimum contrast, as it soothes the colour palette from seeming too jolting,” Shaynna recommends.
Photographer: Brigid Arnott
3. Avoid lamps, choose natural light. “Colours with a white, grey or blue/green base will reflect light, preventing rooms from seeming too crowded by dark colours and patterns,” advises Shaynna. NYC-based interior designer Kathleen Walsh agrees, “You need light in the centre of a room without relying on floor or table lamps. A few metal pieces will bounce some light around around and help alleviate all items from feeling the same.”
Photographer: Martina GemmolaStylist: Ruth Welsby
4. Colour-match the walls to the floor.
Magnify the room by connecting the largest surface in the room (walls) to the second largest impact space (the floor). Connect them by using similar colour palettes — if the walls and skirting are the same colour, the eye will glide from wall to ceiling, and the room will flow together.
Photographer: Tom Blachford
5. Commit to a modern design. Modern apartments are minimal: trims, skirtings and ceilings are clean-cut and the palette is simple, spliced with some zests of colour.
Photographer: Lisa CohenStylist: Ruth Welsby
6. Or commit to a period-style space. Period-inspired compositions are busier, often favouring ornate detailing. Identify one defining feature (like panels or cornicing) and highlight it with bold colour. Invest in a particular interior style, and your apartment will appear a larger and more cohesive space.
Photographer: Lisa CohenStylist: Leesa O'Reilly
7. Think outside the big white box. “One of my pet hates is the common perception that apartment living needs to be treated as one big white box,” Shaynna says. “Just adding a hint of colour to the walls can take the apartment from feeling clinical to full of life.” Our suggestions? Bring lush plants into your décor, try
8. Remember the painting trifecta. As iconic as the three primary colours, Shaynna offers these three pointers. “Formulate a plan, tackle painting in stages and focus on each room as a single project.” If you break up your gargantuan house-painting project into smaller, digestible stages, the prospect of magnifying a small apartment will seem far less daunting.