The Ultimate Decorating Guide for Small Spaces
People who live in the city understand what it’s like trying to make the most of every square inch. Use these urbanite-approved, space-saving tips to maximize your small home.
The secret weapon for extra space? Walls. Compensate for a lack of floor space by hanging things on the wall. For example, hang a wall desk instead of taking up a huge chunk of real estate with a standard desk. Simply tuck a chair underneath and you’ve only given up a few square feet.
In addition, be sure to utilize every inch of height, including often-overlooked areas like above kitchen cabinets. Either take your cabinets right up to the ceiling or make use of open shelving above the cabinets to house cookbooks or rarely used appliances.
One main rule about city living is that there really aren’t any rules. Flexibility is a necessity, so basically anything goes. For example, if your small home is lacking a dining room and you really want one, consider transforming an area that wasn’t originally intended to be a dining space. It could be a small corner of the living room or even one side of a hallway. Just think outside the box and figure out what works best for you.
Large Pieces Can Work
This may seem counterintuitive, but using all small pieces in a small space is not the answer to making the room feel bigger. A large statement piece in a small room, however, might be the answer you’re looking for. Just keep in mind that this decorating strategy must be used in moderation, as too many large pieces will most definitely make the space feel crowded. The key is finding the right balance so that your large accents create the illusion of space.
Shelves Behind the Sofa
Pushing your furniture up against the walls is a design faux pas, and for good reason. A room always looks better when the furniture is pulled away from the walls. But what if you’re lacking space? Following that design tenet could be a waste of valuable floor space. One clever idea is to pull the sofa away from the wall, but tuck a wall shelf behind it. That way your sofa isn’t jammed up against the wall, and that dead space behind the couch is being used for much-needed storage.
Small Bedroom = Bed Room
Rather than cutting comfort trying to make your too-small bedroom into something it’ll never really be, consider simplifying its purpose instead. Make your bedroom into a room dedicated to housing just your bed. Fill the room with the largest size bed possible — it doesn’t matter if you have just a few inches on either side — and turn the space into a cozy, cave-like retreat. Add ambient lighting, luxury bedding, and other mood-setting items to make the room into one you love. Under-bed storage is ideal in this situation.
Extend Indoor Space Outside
Although scarce in city living, outdoor space should be thought of as added square footage. Even if it’s just a balcony or terrace, treat it like another room. Use it to incorporate natural elements like flowers and plants into your otherwise unnatural surroundings. Add furniture to make it an extension of your living space and then connect with your inner gardener by filling it with plants.
Some may laugh at this suggestion, but an easy way for your furniture to take up less visual space is for it to be see-through. Putting a desk in front of large windows is probably not your first choice. After all, who wants to obstruct a scenic view? However, in a small space with minimal options, a glass desk makes this arrangement possible. In addition to desks, coffee and dining tables, shelves, side tables, and dining chairs can also be found in clear glass, acrylic or lucite. All will create the illusion of extra space.
Divide Your Spaces
Open floor plans are common for city dwellers and were prevalent way before the trend hit large, non-urban homes. In many city apartments, the space has two basic divisions: the sleeping area and the living area. Since all the “living” happens in the combined kitchen/dining/living space, it helps to divide the various functions with things like rugs and lighting choices. For example, division can be created by simply using an area rug to define the living room space or a chandelier to delineate the dining area.
Showcase Your Hobbies
In tight living spaces, there’s typically no place to tuck away hobbies and interests so that they’re out of sight. This means that they’re on full display and must be turned into decor. One effective way to do this is to arrange them by color or by type. If you’re an artist, for example, consider using bins and baskets to corral the visually unappealing items, but display valued brushes, pens and pencils in vintage tins or cups. Regardless of your hobby, the possibilities are endless as long as you keep things tidy.
Round Tables for Cramped Spots
Did you know that a round or oval table takes up less space than a rectangular or square one in the same footprint? A round table may also fit more chairs around it. If your living space doesn’t allow for a dining room, stuffing a round table into your living room or kitchen might work. To save even more space, use armless chairs or store extra folding chairs by hanging them on the wall.