Contrary to what we’ve always been led to believe, small living spaces don’t need to look claustrophobic, cramped and cluttered. As real estate continues its steep climb to complete unaffordability, and millennials are the first generation faced with the very real possibility of never making it to a starter home, North America is starting to rethink the idea of housing as a whole. A huge number of college grads, young twenty somethings in their first job, young couples and families can no longer afford to think of putting down a mortgage on their dream home – rentals, apartments, studios, and all manner of small, repurposed spaces are all they have to work with. At one point, the college dorm lifestyle just doesn’t cut it anymore – living with a cloud of impermanence over you and clutter all around because you’re always hoping and waiting for a change. But the change is here and now, and what’s more – you have the tools to make it happen.
As tiny home enthusiasts would point out, making a small space not just livable but beautiful is eminently possible with just a few design hacks. The feature I’m going to focus on today is the humble window, and how the right window treatment can help create the illusion of space.
1. High and Wide
The commonest rookie mistake when it comes to window treatments involves curtain rods. As any design school fresher could tell you, hanging your curtains high and wide is the best way to enlarge windows instead of the tight, close placements we are accustomed to. It’s generally a good idea to place your curtain rods a few inches below the ceiling, and extend them about 18 inches on either side of the window. This way your curtains actually frame the window, instead of taking up half the space inside it, and blocking out light.
2. Go sheer
Light colors reflect light and create the illusion of an airy space, and this goes for curtains as well. Thick, heavy curtains and valances will only obscure whatever little space and light you have and cast your home in a permanent gloom. Instead, layer light, gauzy curtains in a white or cream palette for a bright, fresh look that works the year round.
3. Window treatments for tiny bathrooms
Window treatments for tiny bathrooms can be tricky, because you want privacy as well as enough natural light you can get. A customized Roman shade with a carefully placed statement print will not only act as a focal point, drawing the eye towards the source of natural light, it will also let enough of that light in – which is crucial.
4. Blinds for small spaces
For a clean minimal look (a foolproof one for tiny apartments!) you can just ditch the curtains and go for shades blinds instead. Our own Nantucket™ Window Shadings create a warm glow and block harmful UV rays, while letting in the maximum amount of light. Or you could just go ahead and get a custom designed screen blind so harmonize with the rest of your furnishings.
5. Cafe style curtains
Cafe style curtains on their own are a great way to create some privacy in areas such as kitchens and front rooms that look out onto the street, while letting in enough of that oh so precious natural light. And what’s more, they go very well with a cute kitsch vintage look that’s hard to resist.