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Making the Most of Small Spaces

23 March 2021

Small spaces – whether it’s a room or the entire house – are tricky to decorate. It’s easy to fill up a tiny space with too much furniture and all of a sudden, it feels cluttered. On the other hand, small spaces let you get creative with furniture, decor, and storage. Sometimes you want a small room to look bigger or you just want a functional space that doesn’t look cramped.

Regardless of your goals, the key to decorating a small space is careful consideration of materials and furniture pieces, the available space, and the purpose of the room itself. For instance, a kitchen needs to be more functional than a small corner next to your desk. So, here are a few tips on making the most of small spaces:

Layout and furniture

If you’re starting a room from scratch, decide on a layout and the bigger pieces first. Does the space need different zones like studying and relaxing? Can the room accommodate all the areas you need? Even a bedroom can have multiple zones – for sleeping, reading, getting dressed in the morning, etc. 

Once you’ve decided on the layout, choose the biggest furniture pieces first like the bed or dining table. Opt for lighter colors, lightweight materials, and a minimalist/sleek design. A loveseat with narrow legs suits a small space more than a heavy skirted couch. Fewer but high-quality pieces will also make the room look bigger than it is. 

Keep in mind that each piece of furniture also needs room around it for you to move. So one larger couch is a better idea than 2 small loveseats.

Maximize light

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Any space will look bigger when there’s plenty of light, preferably from natural sources. Use mirrors to reflect light coming in from the windows. Light shades of any color will give a more spacious look as well. Make sure the window treatments are as close to the ceiling as possible to give the impression of height. 

One common mistake is to make curtains too short or narrow. Curtains should just about touch the floor and also extend for at least 6 inches beyond the window on both sides. Too short or narrow and it starts to feel restrictive.

Double duty furniture

Use furniture that can do more than one thing. Storage is key in any room as you’ll have some things that need to be put away when you’re not using them. You also want to display the stuff you like. So consider an ottoman with hidden storage instead of a coffee table. A side table can also double up as a stool for extra seating or use nested tables to save space. 

Convertible sofas and pull-out beds are also ideal for smaller spaces. This way you can put them away when you’re not using them. A desk that folds up against the wall or a cart that you can wheel out of a closet when needed is also a good idea.

Use the wall space

Walls are useful for more than simply hanging photos or artwork. When floor space is at a premium, go vertical. You can fill an entire wall with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to make the most of your space. Or simply attach several shelves at different heights for plants or books.  Use mounted shelves on the side of your bed instead of a nightstand. The options are endless once you start thinking of walls as a blank canvas.

You can also do the same with floor lamps. Instead of multiple lamps taking up precious room, hang scones from the wall or use a ceiling light instead. Closed cabinets are necessary for the kitchen or bathroom but open shelves can go pretty much everywhere. You can even screw in a few pegs and hang your bike or tools on the wall.

Use decor wisely

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Be thoughtful when it comes to decor in a small space. Unlike a large room, you don’t have unlimited space to cram everything you want inside. You need to think about what is necessary and add it with consideration. 

For example, let’s say you have 2 shelves above your work desk for decor. Don’t just put everything you need in random order. Group like items together (similar color, shape, or size) and leave space around each group to make it intentional.

If you can fit 10 things in the space, use only 7 or 8 items. This will make any space look and feel larger than it is. It’s also better to choose fewer but bigger pieces instead of multiple small items. Just like furniture, every decor item needs some space around it. 

As always, don’t hesitate to move things around if you don’t like them. The most important thing to create a space that looks good and works well for you and your family. 

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