Design Tips for Small Spaces

We’ve all been stuck at home for months on end and are craving time in the great outdoors. Many are looking for ways to make their small space feel a little roomier and less cluttered. Whether you’re trying to find ideas for your dorm room, condo, or are just looking to spruce up a small room in your home, we’ve got some great design tips for small spaces. Designing a small space may seem daunting but hey, if the people on “Tiny House, Big Living” can do it, so can we!

Transitional white built-in shelf

The Built-in Buzz

For our first of several design tips for decorating smaller spaces, we’d like to talk about built-ins! Sturdy, stylish, and dependable, a built-in might be perfect if you’re looking to make the most of your limited space. With the ability to be tailored to match the dimensions of your home they make the perfect pieces to really open an area up.

Everything Comes at a Cost…

A built-in may not always be the most affordable option, and sadly cannot be taken from home to home. However, they are a sensible and aesthetically pleasing way to stow or display items and maximize your home’s storage space. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to built-ins! Bask in how gloriously multifunctional they are and their ability to make your room feel bigger and much less cluttered. Pictured above is a lovely Ikea built-in, in the color “Simply White” from Benjamin Moore. This one is a super inexpensive option if you don’t feel ready to invest in a customized, higher priced piece. Just don’t get too attached!

A transitional grey console with storage options

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

Everyone loves a good mirror, and they’re much more than just a place to look for kale between your teeth! A great mirror will not only compliment the rest of your décor, but also make your place feel much larger. Small living spaces tend to feel rather confining, especially if they’re not only lacking in room, but in natural light as well. Mirrors are versatile and can replicate the look of a window, and amplify light, making them a must-have for tight spaces.

In the room above, this mirror serves as the backdrop for a sophisticated vignette. Notice how we catch the reflection of the door, giving the illusion of a passage to another room!

Traditional living room with grey couch and decorative pillows

Good Lighting is Everything

Most warm and welcoming spaces have one thing in common, good lighting. A well-lit room can make any space feel open and inviting, and so can the color palette you choose. Deciding on a lighter shade of paint will leave the space feeling airy and provides a blank canvas to which you can add your own personal touch. A glossier finish will help to reflect more light. Darker colors, or a matte finish, tend to absorb light, which can make an already small space feel even smaller. The combination of a lighter color and proper lighting will be key. However, your small space doesn’t have to be all white, you can totally have fun with a few color accents.

Note how the colorful pillows and window treatments make this bright room pop!

Transitional living room with blue pouf and white built-in

Pick and Choose

I know how hard it can be to pick favorites! Whether it’s a collection of Royal Albert China handed down by your great grandmother, or the antique wardrobe that you picked up at the flea market, it will be essential to decide which of these deserve a spot in your new small space. You won’t have room for everything, and too many pieces will make a room look cluttered. Select items that serve a purpose or have great sentimental value. The time has come to Marie Kondo your room!

The world of furniture design has developed many multi-purpose pieces that will maximize use of space.  

Transitional butler's pantry with off-white shaker cabinets and black accented window

Get Creative!

Above all, it’s really important to use every available square foot. In a previous blog on how to create your own at home workspace (which you should totally go check out), we introduced the idea of a closet with a built-in desk. Other ideas include storage areas beneath staircases, cupboards that extend to the ceiling, or recessed shelving between your wall joists. Think back to Harry Potter, wasn’t he ingeniously located in a quaint “bedroom” beneath the staircase.

Translucent console and grey ottomans

When writing about design tips for small spaces, we felt it made sense to recommend see-through furniture. This can be such a fun way to design a smaller space because the transparency of the pieces will make even the tiniest room feel palatial. Think of classic pieces such as the Louis Ghost chair by Phillipe Starck, or perhaps a more affordable replica. In the room above note the use of a glass coffee table. Its simple elegance makes this room feel chic, and yet there’s still space for storage. The light from the window is completely unobstructed and that’s why we love the look! It’s also valuable to mention how the poufs, pictured just below the glass table, serve as great storage instruments as well and can be such a fun way to decorate your home.

Small modern office with blue accent wall

Another cool idea to consider is dual-purpose furniture, like this grey sofa-bed. They come in all shapes and sizes and not only are you saving money, but space too. Sofa-beds are super comfortable, and you’ll no longer have to worry about storing a guest bed for when the in-laws come pay an unexpected visit or one of your girlfriends needs a place to crash.

Modern open-floor plan condo

This condo is a perfect example of a small space thats design and decoration make up for its low square footage. With the open floorplan, great balance of tasteful decorations and the variety of storage options, this home really makes the most of a limited area. Natural light flows through those windows, and the curtain rods hang purposely high to create the illusion of a larger room.

Truthfully, none of us know how much longer we’ll be stuck at home, so I hope you were able to pick up some fun new design tips for smaller spaces!

As always, thank you for reading!


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