When you live in a small space, fitting in everything you need is difficult. So trying to fit everything in and making it look cute is an even bigger challenge. But that’s also what makes small space design so much fun. Whether you live in a studio apartment or want to get more out of a tiny room, these small space design ideas will make it feel so much larger. You’ll create the illusion of bigger space, or at least make your home a place you’d like to come home to.
The living room is a main focal point—if not the focal point—of any home. But for tiny apartments and houses, it’s frequently one of only two or three rooms, so it has to perform multiple functions within modest square footage. The chameleon-like nature of the small-space living room is one of the favourite parts of living with less. It’s incredible what we can all do in limited space when we realize that we don’t need more stuff or more room. We just need a touch of creativity.
1. BE REALISTIC ABOUT YOUR DAY-TO-DAY ROUTINE.
For ex. Do you actually eat at your dining room table, or does your breakfast bar get all the use? You need to be practical about what your living habits really are, so you can make the most efficient use of each room.
2. USE LIGHT COLORS ON THE WALLS AND THE FLOOR.
While darker colors make a room seem cozy, they also absorb light instead of reflecting it, making the space feel smaller. Opt for lighter colored flooring as well as wall colors to make the room feel airy. If you only have a few rooms in your apartment to work with, give each one its own distinct personality. Start with specific color schemes, so when you move from one room to the next, each space feels distinct, from the walls to the decor.
3. DITCH THE OVERHEAD LIGHTS.
Harsh top-down lighting pools all the light in one space. Instead, use a few smaller lamps to spread the light around and draw the eye around the room. Let there be light. Good lighting can completely transform a room, and its source doesn’t necessarily have to be a hardwired ceiling fixture. Invest in lamps to place on end tables, nightstands, and side tables. Position floor lamps to illuminate dark corners.
4. MAKE USE OF HIDDEN STORAGE AND MULTI-PURPOSE ITEMS.
Make your couch do double duty. Large furniture pieces are under particular pressure to make the most of their space on the floor plan. Couches with a hidden compartment beneath the seat really earn their keep—just lift up a subtle handle to access additional throw pillows, blankets, or whatever needs hiding. Retailers have caught on to the tiny-living craze and now offer several handsome coffee table models that have built-in storage— whether it’s a shelf below the tabletop, a surface that folds out to reveal a drawer underneath, or both.
5. HANG SHELVES NEAR THE CEILING TO DRAW THE EYE UPWARD.
Make full use of vertical space. Take advantage of your walls by hanging floating shelves that can be used for just about anything, and adds a clutter-free way of updating your décor as your moods or needs change.
6. FOLLOW THE CANTALOUPE RULE.
“Decorative accents smaller than a cantaloupe (muskmelon) – crowd a room.” Instead, go for fewer decorations that are bigger.
7. CHOOSE STATEMENT FURNITURE THAT FILLS THE ROOM.
In small living rooms, one large couch instead of multiple small pieces actually decreases the look of clutter and makes a room feel bigger.
8. USE STRIPES TO ELONGATE THE SPACE.
Just like vertical stripes on clothing, a striped rug will make your room appear longer. Orient the stripes to go the length of the room that is the longest for optimal effect.
9. COLOR CODE YOUR SHELVES TO CREATE THE LOOK OF STRUCTURE.
Whether it’s with size or color or type, anything that makes a group of smaller items look intentionally arranged will make it feel more streamlined. This works for books or anything else that is visible in your home.
10. USE A CLEAR SHOWER CURTAIN IN A TINY BATHROOM.
11. LEAVE YOUR WINDOWS UNCOVERED TO GIVE A ROOM MORE DEPTH.
More light gives a space depth. If you’re worried about privacy, roman shades or blinds instead of curtains look less crowded.
12. USE DRAMATIC ART PIECES TO MAKE A ROOM FEEL MORE EXPANSIVE.
Instead of a gallery wall, choose art pieces that are large and bold.
13. BUY GLASS OR LUCITE ITEMS
Glass and lucite pieces are totally in style right now, and can provide an added function of not taking up too much visual space.
14. PULL FURNITURE AWAY FROM THE WALL TO CREATE THE ILLUSION OF SPACIOUSNESS.
Pushing furniture up against the wall makes everything look and feel cramped. Even just few inches in between the wall and your bigger items can make the space look more open.
15. USE RUGS TO SEPARATE ONE ROOM INTO SMALLER SPACES.
Especially useful in studio apartments, this creates the appearance of having more than one space in a large one.
16. TO CREATE UNITY, USE DIFFERENT SHADES OF THE SAME COLOR.
For the wall, rug and furniture using different shades of the same color creates a visual coherence that makes the space feel open. If you’re not in the market for new furniture, adding a throw or pillows or accessories in the same shade can give you the same effect.
17. FURNITURE WITH EXPOSED LEGS IS KEY.
Instead of a sofa with a skirt or boxy chairs, bigger pieces with exposed legs are perfect for a small space. Show off those legs!
18. STRATEGICALLY PLACE MIRRORS TO CREATE THE ILLUSION OF MORE SPACE.
This is a classic condo trick used by all professional interior decorators. You can almost double the feel of space inside your small unit by strategically placing mirrors in tight spaces. In fact, you don’t have to hang mirrors on the wall. Huge mirrors can be propped up on the wall from the floor for an even larger reflective area. Placing a mirror across from a window is the best way to reflect light and make the room feel larger. Another trick is to place a large window behind a chest or end table for a glamorous trompe-l’œil that makes it look like a whole other space is tucked behind it.
19. BREAK ALL THE RULES.
Just because it’s a living room doesn’t mean you need a sofa and a coffee table and a TV. Unexpected furniture and layout will make the space itself feel more open and fun and personal. Maybe you want a bean bag for a chair. Maybe you want a swing inside. Maybe you want both. Go wild.
20. HANG LONG CURTAINS.
If curtains are required on windows or doors for privacy – Hang them close to the ceiling to give an illusion of tall windows. This will make your room appear larger.
21. PAINT YOUR FURNITURE.
Small dark spaces can feel claustrophobic. Introduce color into your apartment by painting your furniture with bright colors.
22. MAKE YOUR PIECES MULTI-PURPOSE.
Instead of cluttering your small space with lots of furniture, stick with a few but make them serve two or three purposes at the same time. A dining table can serve as your home office, or as an extension of your kitchen when you need a bigger working area.
23. CONCEAL EYESORES.
Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Your space might come with a hideous radiator or some other unsightly feature. Use room dividers to hide them.
24. SKIP THE DEDICATED DINING AREA.
Dining rooms take up huge amounts of space. You can extend your kitchen into a dining area, freeing up precious square feet for living and working space or extra built-in storage.
25. PAINT OR WALLPAPER THE CEILING TO MAKE THE ROOM LOOK TALLER.
Anything that draws the eye upwards makes a room feel bigger.
26. STASH MEDIA IN A BENCH
There’s no need to choose between extra seating for guests and storage for your records (or books or catchall baskets). Find a unit that does both. Make sure it’s sturdy enough to support the weight of a few friends, and top it off with a cozy cushion.