by Lise Lalonde
Use mirrors. That’s the advice most of us lean on when decorating a small room. Edmonton residential designer Sheri Krug did prop a tall mirror at a jaunty angle to stretch the illusion of space in this living area. But it was hardly her only inventive idea as she pulled together a small-space sampling for The Brick. Krug packed dozens of clever tricks into a tight quarters.
Sheri Krug runs her own residential design firm, Sheri Krug Designs, in Edmonton. She also co-chairs the non-profit architecture and design collective, M.A.D.E. in Edmonton.
LL: Is there a certain style that works better for small rooms?
SK: I lean towards contemporary décor in small spaces, because of its clean, low lines. Manufacturers are also coming out with innovative contemporary pieces that allow for multi-purpose use and storage.
LL: What are your decorating rules for small rooms?
SK: Keep the scale of furniture small and make sure the pieces maximize seating. Using armless chairs and sofas with lower backs allows you to see over the furniture without blocking views. In this instance, I worked with vertical lines in the wallpaper and drapes, to elongate the height of the room, and used draperies to extend the window span.
Stay fairly neutral in your larger furniture pieces and use the walls and accent pieces to bring in bolder colours and patterns. By keeping the eye off large pieces, you’ll keep the eye moving around the space. Don’t be afraid of colour, you can add depth with darker colours, or create focal walls. Also, think about multi-functionality of furniture through the use of items such as storage cubes and ottomans. This helps to limit clutter.
LL: How should you use patterns in a small space?
SK: Stick to smaller patterns for large pieces and bolder patterns in items such as drapery and accent cushions. Small patterns on large pieces read like a texture. That maintains the neutrality, and the versatility of the piece later on if you move to another place.
LL: What’s important to remember about lighting?
SK: You’ll want to maximize the use of the space to allow for tasks as well as entertaining, so versatility is key. Allow for task lighting, ambient and overhead lighting. The more lighting options you have, the better use you’ll make of the room.
LL: How do the pieces in this room make the most of the space?
SK: The bicast leather sofa is neutral and really maximizes its footprint as it has smaller-width arms that are a bit low. It also has nice clean lines. The circular coffee table doubles as seating, as it has four stools tucked underneath and its transparency makes it look lighter. There are several ottomans and smaller hidden pieces, so for what looks like a five-seater room you can seat up to twelve.
There’s a clean-lined console table, but because of its height and depth you can utilize it as a desk. The side table has a pull-out tray with cup holders, so you don’t have to clutter the top with coasters, and a pull-out for easy storage of magazines or books.
LL: How do you add personality without “accessory clutter?”
SK: By using unlikely pieces together — like the colourful red vase with the traditional figurine. By creating odd and different groupings: here the wallpaper is a contemporary take on a very traditional pattern, and has very contemporary photos hung over it. Don’t be afraid to use patterns and mix styles.
LL: What might people be surprised to see in a small room?
SK: The use of so many different patterns. With the wallpaper, the windowpane pattern on the draperies, the more organic design on the cushions, the stripes on the chairs and the circular pattern on the rug, there are five. It works because they are all within a very similar colour scheme. They all have the same undertones and complement each other, so it doesn’t read as “busy.”
Also, one lamp is large, but because of it is made of glass, stainless steel and light canvas it is transparent. The cocktail table it’s sitting on is also large, but because it’s not a solid piece, you can look beyond it. And it’s multi-functional, too — it’s big enough to put your laptop on.
LL: What are the most common errors people make when decorating small spaces?
SK: Buying oversized furniture and not thinking about a space plan before buying. The more thought put into a plan and the smaller the pieces, the more it allows for versatility later on – in the same space or when moving.
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