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GRAND ON ANY SCALE: Small Space Solutions

Ever wonder why some small spaces are functional and charming while others feel cramped and crowded? Designer Jan McCollum has some tried-and-true tricks that help make the most of those smaller spaces found in every home.

Jan McCollum Bathroom
Handmade paper in black by Canyon and Bullock makes the boundaries of this small bath disappear. Natural limestone and glass combine to expand the space. A modified mahogany chest adds great storage yet uses minimal space.

Color, when used correctly, can help blur the lines and camouflage a room’s perimeter rather than defining its boundaries. Try using similar colors on the walls, flooring and furnishings. You will create a space that feels pulled together and more spacious. For even more impact, choose fewer, larger items rather than many small ones. The area will feel more expansive when you use some overscale items.

When decorating smaller rooms, take a fresh look at every inch of space. Wall space under windows or in corners is often forgotten, but both can provide a little niche to serve a function. In the sunroom-turned-library, a bookcase seat was constructed under the window and floor to ceiling bookcases fill the corner. Tall cases throughout the space draw the eye upward, giving the room impressive verticality and creating a more spacious feel. Oversized chairs seem right at home, in spite of their scale.

Small bathrooms provide a special challenge that requires creative thinking. Instead of a bulky stock vanity, why not retrofit a piece of furniture to create a unique piece that will enhance the space? A shallow depth chest will create several more inches of wiggle room while still providing needed storage. Adding a generously-sized vessel sink creates the illusion of added space.

No matter what your room’s proportions, use these tricks with color and scale to make the most of your space.

Jan McCollum Library
A custom bookcase fills the only substantial wall space in this library, providing both book and media storage. Tower bookcases and window seats house additional books, albums, and other media needs. Two oversized lounge chairs rest on a floral patterned area rug in rich eggplants, browns and ocres. Woven wood shades in dark chestnut cover the large windows of this sunroom library.

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