Small Space Design Considerations

by projectbuddy


One aspect about the linen closet that I like best is its dual purpose. Using the bathroom doorway, you see towels, linens, and similar items. Using the bedroom doorway, you see hooks for hanging clothes for the day or a bathrobe. This is like getting two uses from one space.

The horizontal board for the clothes hooks works well from a design standpoint. Although it is unnecessary since hooks could be installed directly into the wall, it makes the closet space seem larger and enhances the built-in appearance. It also makes it easier to change the hook styles later.

I collected a variety of genuine hooks and substitutes for hooks such as glass telephone line insulators (these actually still have the wooden pieces that they were screwed into on the pole) and some old door knobs. A hardware item called a “dummy spindle” is used to mount the doorknobs.

There is a real benefit to collecting a variety of possibilities. You are freed from worrying about making everything match (often my problem). You begin looking for inexpensive alternatives (so that having more choices doesn’t cost you more). You still have additional possibilities to try if the first one flops.

Variety is a good thing. When I bought new towels, rather than buying a few sets all of one color in the “best” quality brand, I bought four sets in four different colors in the “better” quality brand. The variety of colors (although similar) makes the space look bigger too.

Quick Tips: Lacking any interior design training, I can’t really say these are absolute guidelines to follow, but they do seem to work for me, even though a few may be counterintuitive:

  • A built-in project will make the space look well-designed and more original to the home’s first plan, particularly if it extends from wall to wall. (Otherwise it will look like a piece of furniture stuck into a closet.)

  • Additional trim such as boards for mounting hooks or bead-board wainscot that abut against a built-in help create a unified design for the small space.

  • Horizontal elements (such as using a board for hooks) will make a wall look wider and larger.

  • Repeating paint colors, wainscoting, and trim from the adjoining larger space will help to make a unified, and therefore larger, appearance.

  • Using a variety of colors will help to make a space look larger. For example, a group of towels all the same color will visually become just one mass. Several groups of towels of different colors will look like more and therefore appear to occupy a larger space even though that isn’t the case. (It is as if the brain interprets “variety and number” as “more space.”)

  • Using a variety of textures will help a space to look larger too, perhaps because your eyes study textured surfaces more carefully, spending more time “feeling” the surfaces. It is as if the brain interprets “time spent looking” as “more space.”)

  • Keeping wall space viewable will make a space feel larger. This doesn’t require adapting a minimalist attitude, but it does require refraining from cramming as much stuff into the small space as possible!

  • 20140213-072907.jpg

    The first photograph was taken February 2014, and the second was taken January 2014. These old soda crates make a sturdy place to store and sort hardware and similar items.