Three Color Mistakes That Make A Small Space Feel Cramped & How to Fix Them

There are three color mistakes that can make a small space feel cramped unless it’s understood how to fix them.  Whether people live in a big city or a little town, there is generally one big benefit to choosing to reside in a small apartment or tiny home – the monthly rent or mortgage (and utilities) are easier on the budget. But there is a big downside – space is very limited and there are many mistakes people make that can make a small home feel cramped, chaotic,  and lifeless. 

Carla McBeath-Urrutia knows this problem well.  In fact, she is a small living space design and color expert and literally wrote the book on How to Find and Love Your Small Space.  She has actually lived in more than ten small spaces including studio apartments, one-bedroom houses, and dormitory rooms from Los Angeles to New York City.

BOOK: How to Find and Love Your Small Space

Carla loves her downsized lifestyle and is on a mission to help others learn how to make a small space feel huge and it’s all about using color in creative ways.  She says, “Whether you want a home that feels like a sanctuary when you come home from a nine-to-five or you’re working from home full time, the colors you have in your home can transform the way you live, work, and enjoy your life in your living space.”

McBeath-Urrutia attributes her unique skills to attending art school where she studied sculpture and  learned how to estimate volume and work with minimal resources, even in small spaces like her college dorm room.  She also has a Certificate in Light and Color Therapy from the Holistic Arts Institute in California that prepared her for infusing different color combinations that have remarkable effects on health and wellness when used for home décor.

Carla has determined that there are three big mistakes people make when they decorate their small homes  with some easy fixes to make them feel more spacious.

1. They choose no color or too much of one color.  Everything is better with color, but choosing only one color like all-white or all-beige can create a home that feels sterile and empty. Carla says, “Often people thumb through magazines to get ideas on how to decorate but that can lead to a sort of  ‘peer pressure’ to go with a fad or even neutral colors featured in layouts that tend to suck the life out of a room. We are hardwired to be responsive to color and people should explore colors like shades of green that tend to make you feel calm and balanced or shades of yellow and gold that can spark creativity.”  

Author, Carla McBeath-Urritia

2. They don’t know how to accent with color.  “The colors you use around you can transform the way you live,” according to Carla. “You can still spice up your home by combining colors that make you feel good using art and accent furniture, since vibrant colorscan take a room to the next level.  You should also think of colors as being multilevel, like adding yellow throw pillows, a pink tea kettle or coffee maker, or even a red frame for a painting or photo. Combine colors that make you feel good and use accent colors that make you smile.”A small space can be transformed into a sanctuary using these tips.

3. They don’t realize that color controls mood.  Colors affect a person’s mental and physical well-being.  According to Carla, “Using certain colors actually affects your ability to focus, relax, and sleep.  Shades of blue, for example, help you focus, whereas Caribbean sea shades of turquoise are very relaxing.”  She suggests, “Create colors in your home to make you feel good. Everyone has a different experience of colors and the objective is to use color as a tool to make your space feel the way you want to feel.” 

Color adds joy, creativity, passion, and adventure to life. An intentional use of colors can transform a small space into an extraordinarily cozy and inviting oasis from a chaotic world that inspires —  whether cooking, working, or relaxing. Truly, colors can add a dimension of wellness to life in a home.

Carla McBeath-Urrutia does a deep dive on how to use color in cozy places in her book, How to Find and Love Your Small Space that includes her innovative tips for making the most of small spaces. Feel free to connect with her on Instagram.


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