E.F. Schumacher said "Small is beautiful". Although he was
speaking of theories of economics, the same can be said of
our outdoor living spaces. The large wrap-around porches
that you may remember from your childhood are rarely seen in today's modern
homes. Instead, we're often forced to
create an inviting living area on a 4'x6' balcony, a tiny
vestibule, or a 10'x10' wooden deck.
What can we do make a "little room" appear more spacious?
Here are a couple of simple ideas for small areas:
- First, utilize the space for one purpose only. A small living area, inside or out, cannot be used for as many activities as a larger one. Choose your priority and plan to use the
space for that activity only. Be sure to keep traffic flow in mind.
- Keep it simple. You should minimize the number of elements (accessories, furniture, lighting) in the space. The furniture needs be space efficient and low, but does not have to be very small. A single large accessory has more impact than several small ones which tend to look cluttered. Make judicious use of blank space.
- Create a strong, uncomplicated focal point such as a bamboo water feature, a magnificent view, or a stunning wooden bench.
- Unify the space with a topical theme. For example, use shapes (many circles), material (all wicker), or color (shades of white).
- Due to the limited floor space, be sure to make use of vertical surfaces. Grow a vine over a trellis, install a small waterspout on a wall, or twist a series of tiny paper lanterns up a vintage pole lamp.
Use your imagination and plan well and you'll enjoy your
little room in a big way!
- Hang a mosquito net with a built-in circular frame from the ceiling of a balcony or porch. Drape the sides of the net over the railings. Inside, you can place a wicker
chaise lounge, a small wicker side table and one large, lush tropical plant.
- Attach two large coat hooks to an outside brick wall. Purchase two inexpensive folding wooden chairs and a small wooden table. Display 3 tall potted plants against one wall of the space. Hang the chairs on the hooks when they're not being used.
Debbie Rodgers owns and operates Paradise Porch, and is
dedicated to helping people create outdoor living spaces
that nurture and enrich them. Visit her on the web at
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