Key word for small room is 'inviting'


Q: We have a small third bedroom that's being converted into a guest room. It's a difficult space in some ways -- 9 feet long and 10 feet wide, with a window situated directly opposite the entrance and a small closet on the same wall as the door. What can be done to make the room look larger and more inviting?

A: Forget about large and focus on inviting. Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better.

I'd introduce lots of decorative fabric -- not bold florals, but solids and mini-prints. That will produce a stereotypical "feminine look."

Cover the window wall with a printed paper that has a coordinated fabric that can be turned into curtains. The window will look soft and cheery when treated in a manner similar to what was done in the photo. Those curtains have a small 'D gathered valance on top, bordered with a plain material. Either plain bands or something more decorative can serve as tiebacks.

In small rooms, it's best not to create large areas of color contrast. As an example, window coverings and bedspreads should blend in a soft monotone. Bright accents can be introduced by the pillow cases, which should, if possible, pick up the color of the tiebacks on the curtains.

As long as the bed is no bigger than a standard-size double, you'll have room for a night table at both ends of the 10-foot window wall. The night tables don't have to be expensive; in fact, you can reuse old pieces by painting them the same color as the background of the wallpaper.

A selection of small mirrors framed with decorative gold can be arranged on one wall as a means of brightening the room.

And remember amid all your design tasks to include a good reading lamp and a narrow bench for guests' luggage.

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