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Ask the Expert… Maximising your Small Space

Zoe 22 May 2013



Kay Brannon

partner at Harrison Ince Architects

Q: We only have a small restaurant at the hotel, but are looking to revamp it into a more modern dining area. What things can we do to really maximise the space and make it inviting?

Ms Brannon says: Initially I would assess the space available, and look to simplify and visually open up the area. Look at making the most of the proportions of the room, i.e. if it’s got a fairly low ceiling, lighten up any high level paint colours, remove or paint out any heavy timber mouldings, and keep the scheme light and neutral. If it’s a particularly high room, look to introduce a picture rail and make the most of the height by painting the top band in a different colour or use tones of the same colour palette.

Lighting is a key element to any scheme and environment, so maximise any natural light available by removing heavy drapes or window treatments, and introduce mirrors to reflect and refract the light. Look at introducing frosted film to low level or simple blinds if the sun or vision into the area is an issue.

Even if there is a source of natural light, think about the space in the dusk and into the evening. Try and introduce different levels of lighting to create atmosphere, including candles on tables, wall lights, standard lamps/uplighters, or down lighters providing individual pools of light over each table.

Although you want to maximise the space, in order to make it inviting, I would create a focal point to the room, either with a central feature light, or by introducing a patterned wall paper on one wall or a large piece of individual artwork. Alternatively use lots of smaller pieces clustered together. I would always try and make this specific to the hotel or area to create a talking point over dinner.

Dressing the room is imperative, as lots of clutter on the tables or around the room will distract from the atmosphere you are trying to create. Assess and introduce new and simple furnishings to keep your look, fresh, crisp and clean.