Simple ideas to inspire you to embrace your space with intention and endless possibility
By Anna Bailey
Tucked away above the Bailey Builds and Friends store is a quaint little getaway, known as The Makers Loft.
When we first bought the old Spanish revival inspired Texaco gas station on the corner of 58th and Grand, we were delighted in all the possibilities the small apartment above it held. The added space was an opportunity to expand our business by opening a cozy Airbnb, but we knew we had our work cut out for us. I am here to share 5 simple tips and tricks we learned along the way.
The original apartment had a wall that divided the dining and living room space from a small bedroom. While this might have made sense for longterm, apartment living, it left the place feeling boxed in. Our first design decision was to open up the space by taking down that wall, creating a more airy and inviting loft.
Breaking down walls is great when it’s an option, but sometimes small spaces are an inevitable part of our homes. Sometimes that small space might be an abrupt wall or an awkward corner. Whatever the case may be, these can often feel like challenging areas to decorate.
I love the adventure of creating the design elements of my work.
Throughout my process, whether working with my classic collections or my modern collections, I make a point of creating my art in an array of shapes and sizes. I also love to see how my designs are transformed depending on their size.
There is a place for the big, statement pieces filling up a focal wall. And there is equally a place for the grandeur of a statement piece in a small, thoughtful size or grouping, that acts as the beautiful harmony, adding depth and intrigue.
Many of my designs, inspired by the 1920’s art deco movement, are purposefully smaller in stature to help you cultivate an intentional atmosphere, with a splash of decadence. I think they’re the “bees knees” as a single accent, or absolutely striking grouped together.
When staring at that solitary wall, awkward corner, or small room, it can be hard to know where to begin. I get it! That’s why I thought I’d share with you 5 simple ideas to inspire you to embrace your space with intention and endless possibility.
5 Tips To Decorate A Small Space
1. Play Favorites
When starting with a bare space, it can often feel daunting to start the decor process. I find that I usually have a general look I’m going for. I might sketch the space out, or create a dream board of sorts, with elements or items I know I want to include.
Maybe there are items you are already working with that you know you want to have in that space. This is when you get to play favorites! If you’re starting from scratch, find one thing that you love. That item should make you feel happy when you look at it. If you can center your space around something that you love, you can use that item as the foundation to build on.
2. Create Contrast With Texture
One of the key components that draw the eye in visually is contrast.
Contrast can come in many forms and there is perfect representation of this in both nature and industrial form. One of the ways that contrast captures our attention is through texture.
One of the things I love about spending time on a trail is the contrast of my surroundings. The beautiful, rough texture of the trunk of an Oak tree in contrast to the smooth, delicate leaves that stretch out from its branches; Or the rocky banks of Lake Superior’s North Shore in contrast to the little wild flower springing up, both sharing space with the velvet-like water.
The contrast of material was an integral component of the Art Deco era and continues to be a key design element today. I love using the contrast of texture in my designs.
My modern designs utilize texture and movement through the dimensional use of layers and juxtaposition of the lines and arches I create.
3. Splash Some Color
One of the quickest and easiest ways to transform your space is through color.
The simple switch of pillows and a cozy throw can create an instant refresh to a living room or bedroom space. I find that I can gravitate towards different colors depending on the time of year or even through life stages and changes.
If a color speaks to you, embrace it! We can get caught up in color trends, but don’t fill your space with someone else’s favorite color. Let your personal response to colors guide you. Have you ever walked into a store and made a beeline to something because the color drew you in? That’s a good clue!
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4. Better Together – Dynamic Grouping
Another way to create interest is through the dynamic use of grouping.
You can completely change the look of that awkward corner or lackluster wall through pairing items together.
There is no solid rule to how you go about pairing, but the general goal is to add interest, using it as a tool to create focal points. Think about your current spaces. Are you more apt to notice that small single item all alone, or do you find more visual interest when you have a group of items of different sizes arranged together?
I love the visual interest created by combining shapes, sizes, color, and texture. Diversity is beautiful. Rearrange the items until it feels right to you. If you are hanging items on the wall, there are several ways to get a feel for what you might like without committing to the nail holes.
Sometimes I’ll take my pieces and sketch their shapes out on paper to find the arrangement I like. Sometimes I’ll spread them out on the floor and get a feel that way. You can even use tape to tape out the general idea on your wall. This allows you to decide the spacing that you prefer.
5. Break The Rules
The things of the heart can get messy… and it can be beautiful!
Always remember that it’s your space! Sometimes you need to close the home decor magazines and websites and let you be you! Make a space that you feel at home in! After all, you are the one that will be living and thriving in it!
The convenient sizes of some of my smaller designs add flexibility to your small space. They are perfectly at home hung traditionally or grouped on a shelf, desk, or mantle. They are a great solution to that “something’s missing” situation.
You can also look at adding functional art in your small space – you can see what I am talking about here.
And, like a change of a throw or pillow, they can reinvent even the smallest of spaces. You can check out all of our pieces online and in our Bailey Builds and Friends store on Grand Avenue in Duluth, Minnesota.