Nine Decorating Tips for Small Spaces

March 17, 2019

Here are some suggestions for all of us to consider in order to create a new feeling in our spaces.  If you’ve downsized into a space that’s smaller than you imagined it would be, here are some ideas to make it feel lighter, more spacious yet welcoming.


1. Set Your Priorities:

Because small spaces are very limited, you need to figure out your priorities and allocate accordingly. Some people need a desk area, but not a dining area. Some people want a living area and would prefer a media room to a dining room.  Make the space work for your needs and don't hold yourself to what is traditional in a home. It's your home.

2. Think in Terms of Zones:

Ask yourself which activities need to happen in a room (weighing their relative importance), and then allocate an area-sometimes separate, sometimes overlapping other areas-for each activity. Say your family room will serve as TV lounge, casual dining spot, business work center and craft space (in that order of importance). To create a feeling of separation between zones, erect visual barriers between them.  A rug is a visual indicator that whatever is contained upon it is a group.  A long, low cabinet, a sofa or a set of chairs, or even a row of tall potted plants can create a border between spaces without blocking light or making a room feel carved up.  Open shelving, decorative screens, carved wood panels and salvaged windows suspended from the ceiling can break up a space without totally closing it off.  Folding screens act as mobile partitions to hide a messy corner workspace or obscure the view of your exercise gear, and they can be folded flat and set aside (under your sofa?) when you don't need them.
1 2 3 Decor


3. Strive for Stylistic Unity

Stick to a unified vision for an entire room. A cohesive color palette, design style, wood tone or fabric can pull everything together and preserve a sense of spaciousness in a room that serves multiple functions. Look for furnishings that allow rooms to transition from one function to another: a coffee table that raises to dining height; a lidded ottoman that pulls quadruple duty as a coffee table, footrest, storage bench and extra seating; a shapely stool that also serves as a side table; a handsome secretary with a fold-down work surface for your laptop.  Portability is important, too: put double-duty pieces on casters so you can move them around easily. Need help creating one style?  Contact us through the website below.
It's an ottoman/coffee table... but then...'s a fold-out guest bed!

Extra storage is awesome!
It's a couch... wait, it's a... table!

4. Use Your Wall Space

Stretch bookcases, cabinets and open shelving to the ceiling to supersize storage space and visually enlarge a room without cutting into its footprint. Vertical storage also helps maximize floor space, so affix slender shelves or display cubes to walls instead of using floor-hogging furniture, and don't overlook the storage potential above a door or a window, which can be a perfect spot for a substantial shelf.
Floor to ceiling bookshelves- nice!
HGTV version of shelving

5. Furniture Scale

Your small space will probably feel and look better with moderately-sized furnishings, as it's all about scale. The apartments that actually look bigger with the furniture in them are those where the furnishings fit the space and... you!  Just as you want to avoid furniture that's massive and overstuffed, avoid furniture and accessories that are too small. Even in a tiny space, it's important to consider functionality and good looks. To make a realistic furniture plan, use masking tape on the floor to lay out the ideal size of each piece, and then buy.

6. Add Some Curves:

Because most small abodes are made up of a series of boxes, it's great to add some curves. Round tables, chairs with a curve and rugs that are either in shapes or adorned with shapes like spirals and dots help to soften the box-like feel of an apartment.

7. Lighting: 

Add up-lights, down-lights, and all around to create interest and the feeling of space.  Lights are the most amazing way of making a space feel warm and hospitable. Using several lamps throughout a space creates a warm glow in the room. If you need help creating a lighting plan, contact us through the website below.

8. Combat Clutter With Hidden or Attractive Storage
If you're lucky enough to have a closet or a pantry, invest in an organizing system that willeke every available inch out of those spaces.  (Remember that clear/transparent storage in closets or a pantry help you see what’s in the bin without having to open it.)  If you're not, purchase furniture that will house all your needed supplies in style. Coffee tables, ottoman pieces and other double-duty items offer hidden storage options. Attractive baskets, bins and cloth-covered boxes on shelves or in cubbies keep everyday supplies handy without adding visual overload for the eyes.  The importance of this paragraph can’t be emphasized enough  to help your space feel and look more spacious. If you need help finding furniture or storage pieces, contact us through this website.



9. Dress Up Utilitarian Fixtures and Furnishings

Create clever disguises for unsightly but essential fixtures such as a water heater, utility boxes, a washer and dryer or a mountain of computer equipment.  Hang a homemade art canvas in front of an electrical panel or fuse box, or use a folding screen to cordon off a utility or exercise area. Hide the washer and dryer behind a curtain or a set of bi-fold doors.  Drape decorative cloths over office equipment in a guest room when visitors come to stay.  Need help? Contact us through the website below.

In Conclusion

Do you have ideas to add to these nine guidelines?  Do you have questions about what we have shared?  We would love to hear from you in writing about your design successes, (ideally with pictures) as well as your challenges!  Check out the rest of our website at if you need professional help in designing your space.  Remember...

           We convert ordinary spaces into extraordinary places!



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