Small Space Tips from Met Home

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Diane Carroll's undated piece in Met Home, which we found online, has some good tips from architects and designers for maximizing and optimizing small spaces. Here's a summary of the best:

• Designer Paul Draper suggests playing with scale -- seasonally. To open up his dining room's volume he lowers his custom height-adjustable dining table to coffee table height during the spring and summer and enjoys more casual Japanese-style dining.

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• Architect James Gauer recommends that walls, ceilings, and floors be united as much as possible with continuous planar lines (for instance, lining up tops of cabinets and doorways) and colors.

• Architect Dan Shipley suggests keeping the room as free of furnishings as possible and instead, playing up the way natural light fills the space.

• Architect David Droese says to throw out anything you don't need, to carefully assess what's left, and then to take full advantage of every nook and cranny to create hidden storage

• Architect Todd Walker thinks lofts made great use of high ceilings in small spaces, and suggests bulk-minimizing loft features like ladders in place of stairs and glass screens in place of a divider wall

• Architect Marlon Blackwell has a bunch of great ideas: adding seating around a window to bring some of the "immensity of the world beyond" into your experience of the room; tall, narrow doors in the middle of walls rather than in corners, to allow "full use of each quadrant;" and vertical storage, to make "the best use of a room's volume."

• Designer Brian Hughes suggests splurging on a few high quality pieces of multi-functional furniture (such as Philippe Starck's Lazy Working series of sofas and chairs) and keeping everything else simple.

• Architect Rene Gonzalez likes to design spaces that flow to outdoor spaces, integrating design elements inside and out to emphasize that blur.

• Paul Field architect suggests minimizing the volumetric impact of stairs, doors and cabinetry with features like pocket doors, staircase treads that cantilever from the wall, and suspendd vanities and credenzas.

• Designer Paul Latham suggests hanging a large mirror opposite a window to amplify the light, round pedestal tables for less restricted seating options.

• Designer Laurie Smith likes to break with convention, setting light-colored furnishings against dark wall colors that blur the room's edges, and then topping it all off with oversize canvases that "enliven and open up a room much like a window."

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