THE thrill of college graduation is not solely due to the thought of getting a diploma and making the much-anticipated exit from student life.

Well, apart from that and all the partying that will follow, graduation for some people could mean venturing into a life of independence.

Being a neophyte in the real world, a man may find himself living in a small apartment space or a small room. After all, this is all he can afford for now. Add to that, Filipinos have an affinity for anything “with the minimum.”

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The empty and boring box could pull him down to the pits. However, even with the limited space, there are still chances to spark interest and a dose of personality, reflective of who is living in it.

Small is cozy. You may want your space to be cozy, the usual feeling that small rooms give. A cozy space gives a secure and private, and and “embracing” feel a room. To attain this, dramatic lighting helps a lot. According to About.com, using “soft, snuggly upholstered pieces, dark, warm tones, and dramatic lighting, your tiny corner can become a wonderful private space.”

You could add more warmth (which you might need to consider when you live away from home) to the coziness by incorporating wood furniture, like those chic pieces I recently saw at the Living ‘n Style Showroom at Parkmall. Coming from nature, wood renders an earthy and rustic touch to the monotony of space. A painting or photo frame with an excellently composed landscape would surely jazz up a wall.

Small can be big. While some people would want to ride on with the miniscule size of their rooms, there are also others who would want to weave some magic in making a small area look more spacious. Stretching out a small space without having to destroy walls and encroach into someone else’s space is possible through intelligent planning and design.

Light colored walls always do the trick. White would be the best weapon. To further delineate and define spaces (dining and kitchen area, living area and bedroom) movable dividers retain the expansive feel of the space compared to high and massive concrete walls.

The use of not-too-bulky furniture also allows the much-needed “elbow room.” There are dining sets that could seat two to four people—just in case some family members or friends come over for a visit). There are pieces of furniture that can also double in their use. There are small bar tables that can be used as dining tables. The apartment or pad owner can sit and watch TV on a beanbag, as well as sleep on it. Ottoman sofas add more seating space to in living room. And there’s the sofa-bed. Well, its name speaks for itself and its multi-functionality.

You see, a small space does not always equate to being limited, boring and being a nightmare to a claustrophobic person.

Small spaces present as much golden opportunities in attaining beautiful and functional interiors as colossal halls do.

It all lies on the open-mindedness of the client, the sensitivity and expertise of the design professional (architect or interior designer) and the efficiency of the schemes that they draw up.