How to Open Up a Small Congested Space

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4 easy ways to open up a cramped space. These modern, fresh spaces show you how to update an old, small space to feel open and airy.

How to Open Up a Congested Space

Designed by Violante & Rochford

photo credit © Wendy McEahern

Newly built homes often are created around an open floor plan. But what if you would like to follow this trend in your own home, but don’t have that bright, airy and open feel? It is possible to open up a congested space with just a few tips.

Interior designers Michael Violante and Paul Rochford know about opening up spaces. They regularly work in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the homes are usually a cramped adobe style but the team works together to open them up by embracing the concept of negative space. The designers regularly keep a neutral palette in their homes while accenting it with bright elements. Here they share their expertise on opening up cramped spaces.


Start neutral

Keeping a neutral palette on the walls and accenting it with great decorative accents and color can really enlarge the home.

How to open up and modernize a small, congested space | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern

How to Open Up Small Congested Spaces | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern

…but add color.

Bright, bold pops of color against the neutral walls open up the room while still keeping it interesting with fun designs.

Beautiful open living room -- this room doesn't feel small at all even though it's not enormous! Smart tips! | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahernModern colorful dining room | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern

Make it simple but distinctive.

Violante & Rochford keep it simple with the décor and artwork but make it distinctive. Instead of cluttering a small wall with a ton of bright artwork. Keep the neutral palette and put a distinctive piece of hard to miss artwork and accessories in each room.

Simple but high impact modern decorating | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahernmodern beautiful master bedroom | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern

Tips for creating open and airy spaces | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern

A minimal amount of artwork helps to not clutter the walls. If you decide to put a lot of artwork in the home, keep it to simple designs and combine them together on one wall.

by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern

Modernize traditional features

Typically Violante & Rochford paint the ceilings or add wood beams, which is traditional in New Mexico homes, but stick with neutral and muted colors so the room does not feel closed in.

Updated kitchen with traditional southwestern wood beams | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern wood beams in a modern southwest dining room | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern

You can keep old elements of the home but update them in a more neutral way. Typically Santa Fean homes consist of “vigas” (wooden beams) and “kiva” fireplaces. Violante & Rochford like to refresh them by either restoring them with paint or in the case with vigas’ they often strip and refinish the wood.

updating a cramped southwestern home | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern modern southwest living room and dining room | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern

With incorporating just a few of these tips from the interior designers Violante & Rochford, can open up a congested space, and create a home that has that open concept feel.

modern living room with wood paneled wainscot and coffered ceiling | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern beautiful modern kitchen | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern a perfect breakfast corner nook | by Violante & Rochford Interiors, photo credit © Wendy McEahern

4 Easy Designer-Approved Tips for Opening Up a Small Congested Space

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More modernized southwest style:

Designing Dawn for Remodelaholic - Southwest Style

 

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2 Comments

  1. This is an interesting article, but I would have preferred to see photos of rooms that actually are small and congested, but decorated beautifully, as your title indicated. I’m a really big fan of yours usually, but most of those photos were of spacious, open homes. Not as helpful to a gal like me who really is in a small home with separate rooms.

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