12 Design Ideas & Tricks for Small Spaces
You have an abundance of style—but you don’t have an abundance of space in your home or apartment. Small space design strategies allow you to maximize the square footage you have and express your individual aesthetic. Thoughtful approaches to interior design help you make the most of your space.
Try some of these small space design ideas to expand the boundaries of your spaces:
1. Mirror, Mirror
One of the easiest ways to fool the eye and make a room appear larger is by hanging a mirror on the wall. The reflection expands the space and can add more light to your interiors.
2. Be Picky with Your Palette
Neutrals and light colors brighten a room, so it feels bigger. Rich colors can still be used in a small space but do it judiciously. Stick to a limited palette rather than going all over the color wheel. Use your colors to create a focal point in your room that can also draw the eye and give the illusion of more space.
3. Shine a Light
Erase the dark corners and gloomy spots that can make a room feel cramped and dull. Hang sheers on your windows for a flow of natural light. Use table lamps to illuminate nooks and crannies. And mount sconces or hang a chandelier to create light near the ceiling to create the feel of more vertical space.
4. Throw a Rug Down
Rugs are another key element of small space interior design. A large rug, extending almost to the edges of the room, creates an expansive look. It’s crucial to measure your floor before getting a rug to make sure it’s not too small or too big.
5. Double Feature
You don’t need a lot of furniture crowding your room if you can make the pieces you do have work for you in multiple ways. A chest with storage can double as a coffee table. Convertible couches become beds at night, or store odds and ends inside an ottoman. Furniture pieces that double as containers have the added bonus of preventing clutter that can make a room feel small.
6. Look Up for Inspiration
Take advantage of all your room has to offer when decorating small spaces and use the walls and ceilings to create a spacious feel. Hang curtains close to the ceiling or use a chandelier to draw the eye upward. Wall-mounted shelves create more space for your things and also add visual interest (and the appearance of extra height). You can eliminate a bulky entertainment cabinet by mounting your TV on the wall. And artwork is a stunning solution—hand a colorful piece high on a wall for a dramatic focal point that adds scope to your room.
7. Know When to Fold Them
Wondering how to decorate small spaces while fitting all your furniture inside? Pieces such as collapsible chairs, fold-up desks and Murphy beds give you flexibility. Take out the furniture when you need it—for visitors, say, or a work-from-home solution—and simply fold it up and store it when you don’t, saving space for the furniture you use every day.
8. Divide and Conquer
Carve out distinct spaces in a room to make it seem larger. You’ll want to do this with a fairly transparent material, such as sheers or rice paper dividers, for a light and airy feeling.
9. Balance Your Scale
You don’t have to avoid big furniture pieces in small-space interior design. But don’t go overboard and fill a tiny room with large furniture. That will make the room feel claustrophobic. Instead, pick a statement piece such as a couch and then balance it out with smaller pieces.
10. Customize Where You Can
If your room is so small that you find it difficult to buy the pieces you need, look into customized furniture and built-ins made to your specifications. You’ll get a finished piece that perfectly fits your home.
11. Turn the Corner
Putting all your furnishings in the middle of your room will make it seem even smaller. Transform unused corners to create expansiveness—try a corner cabinet, for instance, or a beautiful pot of greenery (real or fake) to liven up a space.
12. Take a Thoughtful Approach to Design
People struggling with how to decorate a small room may find it helpful to have a plan in place. Get measurements, devise a color palette and think about your decorating goals; it’s wise to use a mood board for creative organization. And look at your current furnishings with a critical eye—if they don’t serve your room well, or you just don’t love the pieces, you should get rid of them. When space is at a premium, you only want objects that bring you joy and serve a purpose.
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