Small-Space Living Tips

It’s a fantastic time to live in a small space because hacks and specially designed products abound online.

One quick search will render more ideas for making the most of your square footage than you’ll know what to do with, so you don’t have to figure this out all on your own. As you kick off your search, we hope to help you jump-start your own creativity.

Tranquility Upholstered Daybed

As You Pack for Your Move, Pack Smart

As you’re preparing to move to your new, small space, choose to pack selectively, editing as you go. Donate the items that you no longer use so you don’t have to worry about finding a place for them once you unpack, and that includes furniture. Also, take measurements of any larger furniture you plan to move (read our blog post here detailing measuring your home for furniture- we recommend you also use these guidelines when purchasing furniture for your new place) to ensure it will fit in your new home. See if a floor plan of your new place is available so you can plan out furniture placement in advance. If you’re able, take measurements of your new home in person before packing or purchasing furniture. 

Think Furniture First

The furniture you choose for your small space can make or break it. Since furniture is primarily what will fill the floor space in your new home, the importance of selecting the right pieces cannot be overstated. If you fill your small rooms will several pieces of bulky furniture that are difficult to maneuver around, not only will you not be making the most of your space, you might also be miserable. You may need to focus on selecting pieces that are smaller in scale and/or are multipurpose. Or, depending on your space, you might be able to use larger-scale furniture if you only use a few pieces judiciously here and there.

Brook Hill Upholstered Accent Chair
Boulder Upholstered Swivel Storage Chair

Cohesive Color Palette

A good place to start when selecting furniture is with color, and in a small space, designers advise that the shade of your furniture and the shade of your walls be one and the same. Experts say you can choose any color scheme for your room as long as it’s cohesive: all the elements in the room need to flow seamlessly. By avoiding stopping the eye (as with a break in color), your small room will appear open and spacious.

The age-old interior design advice is to go white in a small space because it creates an enlarging effect. This works because white walls reflect light and create the illusion that walls are receding. To make a small room appear to its best advantage, place a mirror strategically across from your window to provide even more light reflection. Most designers seem to agree that white paint and carefully placed mirrors are two foolproof methods to expand the look of your space.

White and Roomy or Dark and Cozy?

If you’re decorating your living room and want to abide by the conventional wisdom of using lighter shades, you might start by selecting a pale couch that you love and then build the room around it. You could then select a paint color in a corresponding shade for your walls and complete the room with similarly colored and/or neutral accessories. You could take this one step further by hanging drapes or curtains that also blend into the color scheme.

However, if the idea of a light-colored room bores you, you could still employ a useful trick by going the opposite route and painting your walls a dark, moody shade. This option will add depth to your space by blurring the edges of the room. When your eye can’t see the boundaries of the room, it’s tricked into thinking the space is larger than it is. You can further play up this illusion by painting the ceiling and baseboards the same color as the walls. Using window treatments in a corresponding color palette works here too.

This oatmeal loveseat is the perfect size and color to make your space appear larger. If you can’t fit a full-size sofa in your room, think loveseat!

Keep it Simple

A good rule of thumb for when you’re feeling overwhelmed or selecting furniture for your small space (or both!) is to keep it simple. Look for pieces with clean lines, neutral colors and minimal ornamentation that will blend in with the other design elements of your room (are you noticing a theme?). By choosing simple pieces that blend in with the rest of the room, once again, your eye doesn’t have to stop to take it all in, and thus the room will appear larger. Crisp (rather than saggy or overstuffed) upholstery and a slim profile on a furniture piece also help to create this illusion.

Even when you’re keeping it simple, you can look for one interesting detail in an otherwise straightforward piece, such as the sleek quarter back silhouette of this dining stool. 

See it Through

Another way to prevent the eye from stopping is to use glass or acrylic furniture where possible. In keeping with the theme of avoiding stopping the eye as it takes in your room, your eye doesn’t see the boundary of a glass or acrylic piece like it does an opaque material. These transparent pieces don’t weigh down a room in the same way.

Not only does this coffee table have a glass top, but it also features tapered, slender legs which cause it to appear to take up even less space.

Bonus Tip!

Rather than hanging your curtain rod right above your window, take it a little higher and hang it closer to the ceiling. This will make your ceiling appear taller. Also, be sure to have enough curtain rod space on either side of the window so you can pull your curtain off to the side and not have the window impeded by the fabric. Natural light also makes your room appear larger, so you’ll want to utilize it to its full advantage! 

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