Color and Texture - how to give the appearance of size to your one room apartment

by TessaSchlesinger

by Tessa Schlesinger. Knowing the rules for color, texture, and space in one room living can make it a pleasure to come home.

Color, shape, space, and texture have a lot to do with the way a room feels. The general rule is that the larger a room is, the more one is able to use dark or bright, intense colors while the smaller a room is, the more one should use pastel colors. Pastel colors have two disadvantages. The first is that they get dirty quickly and the second is that if texture and shape isn’t used to add interest, then the room can appear very flat.

Large One Room Apartment done in a Monochromatic Pastel Scheme with many different textures

Pastel One Room Apartment
Large apartment with bathroom door open
Large apartment with bathroom door open

Using White, and other Pastels , for Your Small Room

White, Pastels, in one room living

If you’re messy, don’t use a bright white. It’s impractical. While it does look brilliant, it gets dirty quickly unless you’ve used excellent materials. That said, some wall paints (latex) are water soluble and don’t have a strong odor, and walls can be repainted with ease. However, if you wipe the walls, the paint can come off. Also linen, couches, pillows, cushions, settees, etc. all get dirty quickly, especially if you have a pet.

That said, if you’re neat as a pin, white can look fabulous, especially if you introduce many different textures. We’ll talk about that later... A similar effect can be had by using off white or cream.

Warmer hues tend to work better than cooler colors in a very small room. For instance, a warm turquoise would be better than a cool blue. Lemon is particularly pretty (rather than yellow) and a rosy pink can be very inviting. Although pastels in general pick up dirt, for some reason they don’t appear as apparent on a soft pastel as they do on a brilliant white. Another alternative to a brilliant white would be a warm cream. 

Also consider that some rooms are larger than others, and that if it is a very large room, then a darker hue can be used with splashes of bright color.

One room living focusing on space

One room apartment in pastels
One room apartment in pastels

Papasan chairs and footstools add shape and texture

Foot stool or Simple Stool to plonk Yourself!
Foot stool or Simple Stool to plonk Y...

Wicker Chairs add texture and color

Wicker Chair
Wicker Chair

Multiple textures in one room living make for an interesting room

Texture in one room living.

Texture adds interest. Matte tables and chairs with satin cushions create a feel of luxury and elegance. Cotton rugs on a wooden floor with porcelain hooks on the wall for hanging items add contrast and depth. Eggshell paint, rather than a flat matte, also adds texture. Cushions are a great way to add texture. There's a general rule over here, though. If your room is small and you've used one color to make it appear larger and lighter, then many textures work wonderfully. However, if you have a medium sized room, and you've created a fun room with many colors, then keep your textures as limited as possible. That's because if one has too many elements in a room, then it causes confusion, rather than ambiance. This changes again if you have a very large room and you've put a fair amount of color in it. Then many textures make it warmer. Quick ways to add texture to any room are small rugs and cushions. Ebay is a good source for both carpets and cushions. You can find cushions on ebay here. You can find rugs and carpets on ebay here.

Texture, shape, and color in these cushions add ambiance to any room


How the Shape of Furniture and Soft Furnishings affect your One Room Living

Furniture Shape and Balance in one room living

Shape needs to be used in a way that gives balance to a room. It’s not good to have all squares on one side of a room and all round shaped items on the other side of the room. Rather shapes need to be mixed so that there’s an equal balance. For instance, if the total square footage of
furniture used is 60 square feet, then one would use 30 square feet on each side of the room.

A rectangular bookshelf on one wall might be balanced by a fireplace on the other side, while a round table near a window might be balanced by Papason chair on the other side.

By putting in too many different colors into a room, it loses the 'peaceful element' and adds movement and excitement.

A room with many colors!
A room with many colors!

Space is BIG in One Room Living

How to Organize Space in One Room Living

Did you know that space is a very important part of decorating? In Europe, it’s the done thing to leave enormous amounts of space in rooms, and in one room living, it’s important to ensure that there is a lot of space left open. Empty space does three things:
a) Gives the illusion of space
b) Allows the air to circulate
c) Creates a pleasing ambience.

One of the nice ways to create space without it seeming empty is to use a colorful or highly textured rug on the floor.

Updated: 03/21/2013, TessaSchlesinger
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TessaSchlesinger on 10/11/2012

2uesday. Yes, I agree with that! I did think that was what you said. My sister uses a sort of medium color - somewhere between light and dark. I think it does look pretty and I can see what she means. It definitely adds a sort of ambiance, but it doesn't really work that well in a small room, and if one wants to change, it's a little more expensive to change! :)

2uesday on 10/11/2012

Opps, sorry I did not explain that well. 'Light colored walls' is my way of saying pastels, soft pale colors. The light here in winter is different to the summer months and dark shades of paint can feel too much for me in the winter months. It is nice to sit in a room and relax and not to feel distracted by an intrusive wall color. Pastel walls reflect the light well and are stylish.

TessaSchlesinger on 10/11/2012

2uesday. I agree. My sister loves color on her walls and says that once you use color, you'll never have pastels again. However, I'm still sticking with pastels because it's much easier to change the color of soft furnishings, etc. :)

2uesday on 10/11/2012

I like the rooms here, they echo a style that I am drawn to. Which is to have plain light colored walls and then add a homely touch with the finishing touches. This saves redecorating too often as you can update it with new style cushions and pictures.

TessaSchlesinger on 09/17/2012

Mira, one can have art that is peaceful as well. Then, again, depending on the art an the action of the pictures, they can certainly liven the place up. In a small room, however, art on the walls will make the room even smaller. Art works best in large rooms and long hallways and passages. :)

Mira on 09/17/2012

I agree that the less colors you use, the more relaxing the room appears. Sometimes you have to choose between a peaceful environment and the excitement of art on your walls, which is a shame.

TessaSchlesinger on 09/09/2012

Sheri, that's exactly right. Did you notice that the more one put different colors in, the more 'excitement it generated, and the more one stuck to a monochromatic color scheme, the more peaceful it was?

Sheri_Oz on 09/09/2012

This is so aesthetic. Lovely ideas. I find the rooms you so very relaxing.

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