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8 ways to fake space with colour in a small apartment

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1. Break up rich, dark colours with warm accents. Rooms lacking architectural character, especially tiny ones - think powder room - can gain a few style points from a dramatic, deep hue on the walls. Emeralds, aubergines and ink blues can be partnered with metallic tones, granite or earthy colours, and features like exposed brickwork or oak timbers will neutralise a dark palette with their warm, rustic undertones.

Photographer: Brigid Arnott

2. Simple tones over excessive contrast. Simple is powerful. Paint your doors, trims, ceiling and cornices with gradients from the same colour family, and choose one main colour for the walls. "Go for minimum contrast, as it soothes the colour palette from seeing too jolting." Shaynna recommends.

Photographer: Martina Gemmola Stylist: Ruth Welsby

3. Avoid lamp, choose natural light. "Colours with a white, grey or blue/green base will reflect light. preventing rooms from seeming too crowded by dark colours and patterns", advises Shaynna. NYC-based interior designer Kathleen Walsh agrees, "You need light in the centre of a room without relying on floor or table lamps. A few metal pieces will bounce some light around and help alleviate all items from feeling the same."

Photographer: Tom Blachford

4. Colour-match the walls to the floor. Magnify the room by connecting the largest surface in the room 9walls) to the second largest impact space (the floor). Connect them by using similar colour palettes - if the walls and skirting are the same colour, the eye will glide from wall to ceiling, and the room will flow together.

Photographer: Lisa Cohen Stylist: Ruth Welsby

5. Commit to a modern design. Modern apartments are minimal: trims, skirtings and ceilings are clean-cut and the palette is simple, spliced with some zests of colour.

Photographer: Lisa Cohen Stylist: Leesa O'Reilly

6. Or commit to a period-style space. Period-inspired compositions are busier, often favouring ornate detailing. Identify one defining feature (like panels or cornicing) and highlight it with bold colour. Invest in a particular interior style, and your apartment will appear a larger and more cohesive space.

7. Think outside the big white box. "One of my pet hates is the common perception that apartment living needs to be treated as one big white box," Shaynna says. "Just adding a hint of colour to the walls can take the apartment from feeling clinical to full of life." Our suggestions? Bring lush plants into your decor, try.

8. Remember the painting trifecta. As iconic as the three primary colours, Shaynna offers these three pointers. "Formulate a plan, tackle painting in stages and focus on each room as a single project. " If you break up your gargantuan house-painting project into smaller, digestible stages, the prospect of magnifying a small apartment will seem far less daunting.



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