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How to decorate a small flat

For many of us, the first step on the property ladder is a poky, one-bedroom flat. Even the most compact accommodation can be elegant and comfortable though, if you reduce your clutter and follow a few tips on how to decorate a small flat to make the most of the available space.

Light and bright

The key element in how to decorate a small flat is to create the illusion of space. Partly this can be achieved by keeping furniture minimal and practical, but light and shading are also key considerations.

Smart solutions

Reduce clutter wherever possible. This doesn't necessarily mean shoving all your possessions into the attic. Look for solutions like storage space under beds, bookshelves as room dividers and flatscreen TVs mounted on walls rather than on a bulky table or cabinet. Keep sofas flush against a wall to maximise space. Floating shelves are more effective than substantial shelf units in maintaining the illusion of space.

If the flat has large windows, make them the focus of the room. Outdoor vistas support the impression of space. In the rooms without a view, mirrors can be an adequate substitute.

Colour schemes should reflect the importance of light. Dark wood panelling or paintwork will emphasise the smallness of a room. Instead choose light shades for walls, with the occasional, restrained spash of colour.

Those who love stainless steel kitchen units have an excuse to indulge their tastes in small kitchens. The shiny surfaces on hobs, fridges, even worktops, reflect light to make the kitchen seem more spacious.

Thinking outside the box room

For truly tiny spaces, it might not be enough simply knowing how to decorate a small flat. Some radical rethinking of the space may be required. It might be worth considering constructing a mezzanine level to accommodate an extra bed, or constructing a platform bed above the main bedroom space. The only limit is your imagination (OK, and planning permission).

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