I want to squash a common decorating misconception. I have so many clients come into the store who have a small dining room chair they want to reupholster, a small window they want to dress or a small room they want to decorate.

Let’s take the chair for example. Clients bring in this tiny chair seat and seem to think we need to find a small pattern because it’s a small chair. WRONG! As soon as I explain they should be using a large pattern instead, the “ah-ha” moment comes to them. A small pattern will only make the chair seem smaller and busier. A large pattern (granted it’s the right pattern repeat and at least one or multiple complete repeats will fit on the seat) will make the chair appear larger and more clean looking. A small chair with 3 large diamond patterns is more pleasing to the eye than a small chair with a million diamonds on it.

On to the small window. Again, client’s coming in seem to feel that because the window is small they need to do short drapes or a blind with small slats. For drapes, go wider and longer than the window. We normally suggest mounting the rod 4” above the window frame and ¼” from the floor. This will make your window and room appear taller. We also suggest mounting the rod 6” beyond the window on either side to create a wider look. This is only a general guideline. If you have more wall beside your window that is otherwise dead space you can fill it with more drape creating a grander visual. For blinds, it’s just like the chair with the diamond pattern. A blind with fewer, larger slats will make the window appear larger rather than an endless amount of small slats.

Lastly, the small room. Here are a few tips you can apply to your space to create a larger feel.

-Light and bright wall colours. Lighter colours will reflect light and help the room feel more airy and open. The box (walls, ceiling and floors) should be lighter in colour. The larger pieces inside the box should also be light (sofa). Everything inside the box can be darker accents. Frames, finishes, toss cushions, area rugs and lamps will create a high contrast and visual interest. If the space is super tiny such as a powder room, try painting the ceiling the same colour as the walls. Alternatively, wallpaper with a large scale pattern on the walls and ceilings will do the trick. This is a great optical illusion that makes the room feel larger without the division of a ceiling. Remember, window treatments are part of your “box” as they are along the perimeter so using a light colour that matches the wall will create a continuous look.

-Larger patterns. YES! LARGE PATTERNS! Come on, don’t be shy! The best thing about this is large patterns are very in right now, making them easy to source. A fun accent chair, ottoman or toss cushion with a large pattern will help you achieve the look. Filling the space up with small patterns will clutter the space and result in a small, busy and claustrophobic feel.

-Lighting is key to helping your room feel big, bright and beautiful. Artificial light such as lamps, pot lights and ceiling mount fixtures are all very important but not as important as natural light. Choosing the proper window treatments to help maximize the natural light in your space as well as provide privacy, room darkening and r value when required is essential.

At C&M Textiles we don’t just sell fabric, window treatments and wallpaper. We understand that every project is different and the same solution won’t always work. We help educate our clients with the basic guidelines then help you tweak it to create the perfect solution right for YOUR space. Our expert design staff can show you how a small project can have a BIG impact!

Written by: Alicia Hewitt

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