Monday, 15 November 2010 12:08 PM
Q: "My house has a single bedroom which until now has been used for junk. I have decided to make it into a spare room but it’s a pretty gloomy, cramped space. Do you have any tips for making it seem bigger and brighter?"
A: "First, you need to create a blank canvas – I would suggest painting the ceiling and walls in one neutral colour (think sand, stone etc), then adding curtains or blinds in the same colour as the walls. If finishing the room in carpet, go for a neutral colour, or if you’re opting for a wooden floor, choose a dark stain (which will ‘anchor’ the room) and finish with a rug.
"Covering one of the walls with a mirror is a quick and easy way to achieve the feeling of space and light – in fact, lighting is key to bringing the feeling of space to a small, gloomy room. I would suggest getting cornices specially designed so that you can run LED tube/snake lighting through them: this will create a gorgeous, muted glow around the perimeter of the room. Then, add a central light for a bit of drama, and additional standard and side lamps to make the effect even more radiant.
Floating shelves work well in a small room as they provide storage space without making it feel cluttered. It’s also worth investing in bespoke furniture: Robert Langford makes armchairs which open out into beds – they’re good quality and allow your spare room to double up as a study/library – or you could consider an Ottoman with a leather tray on it, which can also be used as a table or footstool. Neutrally coloured, soft throws made of angora or merino wool will add cosiness without losing the feeling of space."
Answered by Eliská Sapera, an interior designer with over 25 years’ experience and a gorgeous shop named Eliská. Until recently, Sapera was the exhibition director of the British Interior Design Association (now known as the British Institute of Interior Design).