Just thinking about decorating your house is probably pretty exciting, right? Whether you’re just moving in, or have finally decided to follow through on that redecorating job you’ve been meaning to get started on the past few years, doesn’t it feel like the possibilities are endless? Well, that is until you realize you’re working with a tiny space, and perhaps an even tinier budget.
Given the current downsizing trend and the fact that a bigger home just might not be in the cards for many new homebuyers, here’s a guide to decorating for small spaces. Whether it’s just one tiny room you’re unsure what to do with, or an entire apartment, with the help of these tips and tricks, you’ll feel like you’re living big in your small space.
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How Do You Make the Best Small Space?
Given downsizing trends and the fact that a bigger home might not be in the cards for many new homebuyers, here’s a guide to small space interior design. Whether it’s just one tiny room you’re unsure what to do with, or an entire apartment, with the help of these tips and tricks, you’ll feel like you’re living big in your small space.
Before you start shopping for furniture or make a purchase of any kind, you need a plan.
Have you set a budget yet? It’s important to address the money aspect before you head to the store or start pinning dream rooms on Pinterest. Set a budget and stick to it—you’ll feel much more satisfied at the end of your project when your house is beautifully decorated, and you aren’t staring at a credit card bill that will take years to pay off.
Evaluate Your Space
Once a budget is set (and you’ve pinkie promised you’ll stick to it), it’s time to walk your house and evaluate your space. Measure each room you want to decorate and keep those numbers handy while you shop for furniture—the last thing you want is to find a piece you love, only to get it home and realize it’s way too big.
It’s wise at this point to at least get an idea of the purpose you want each room to serve. If you know you want your living room to be more of a social sitting area than a TV-watching space, you’ll want to make sure you choose seating that will fit your needs. It’s much easier to stick to your budget and shop with purpose when you know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.
How Do You Maximize Space in a Small House?
Many people get it all wrong when it comes to maximizing space in a small house.
“Lots of people have the idea that they need to buy super-small furniture in a small space. I like to do the opposite. I like to normal-size furnishings that just fit within the space, maybe even push the limits just a little bit (within reason). Placing small furniture in a small space can have a dollhouse effect, making everything look diminutive. It is amazing how a room can visually expand to accommodate well-chosen contents, and you will be so much more comfortable.” – Christoper Kennedy
If your walls are anything but a light, neutral color right now, you may want to consider changing that. While painting each room a different color sounds fun, it will actually make your house feel smaller.
What Colors Make a Living Room (and Other Rooms) Look Bigger?
Choose a great neutral color like beige, gray, or even white and use it throughout your home to help unify the space. The darker the color, the smaller it will make your rooms feel, so choose something light, and watch your space open up.
What is the Most Popular Color for a House?
Neutral colors have long been the most popular paint color for a home, but the “it neutral” changes from year to year. Right now, gray reigns as the most popular neutral. But tides are slowly changing back to a trend of warm, pink-toned beiges in the lightest shades.
How Do You Make Small Rooms Look Bigger with Paint?
Paint the ceiling a fun color to draw the eye upward and open up the space. Another fun idea is to use wallpaper to create a beautiful constellation ceiling like this.
No matter what room you’re painting, it’s also important to think about the general color scheme of the home. Rooms will seem to flow more seamlessly if you choose a color scheme that goes together. Choose three or four colors that compliment each other and emphasize them in each room. For example, one room could have light blue walls with accents of gray, pink, and green. An adjacent room could have gray walls and incorporate accents of light blue, pink, and green, etc.
How Do I Maximize Space in My Home?
There are dozens of ways to make the most of your space, no matter the size. These principles can also be applied to larger homes to make every square inch count and to avoid clutter:
- Create an outdoor living space to seamlessly take your home from inside to outside.
- Take down walls to open up the space.
- Install floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
- Use loft bunk beds in kids rooms.
- Create bench seating that doubles as storage.
- Use space under the stairs for storage.
Consider using cinder blocks (or investing in a nice new frame) to raise your bed frame slightly to allow for more storage space under your bed to accommodate bins for out of season clothes, socks, paperwork, books, shoes—really anything that might be cluttering up your space. A storage headboard is an excellent way to add style and storage to your space (you can even go the DIY route).
Consider creating a modular storage system in your closet to help store and organize your clothes and personal items more efficiently. Sure, you can buy a fancy, customized closet organization system, but why not build one yourself?
What Colors Are Good For Small Rooms?
White and other light colors are commonly known as the best paint for small rooms. But you can incorporate bold colors in other ways, such as furniture and accent decor. Try a bold couch in bright green or yellow if you really want to add some personality to a small room. Or purchase brightly colored bedding for your master bedroom and throw in some fun accent pillows.
Another way to enhance a small master bedroom is by adding an accent wall. Though light colors are best overall for small space interior design, an accent wall gives you a chance to go bold. Try something bright or dark on the wall where your headboard is to amp up the design of the room.
How Can I Get the Most out of My Small Room?
Make sure your bedroom furniture fits properly in your room. A king sized bed is good in theory, but isn’t the best idea if it’s the only thing that will fit in your room. Choose a bed to fit the size of the room, and try to be realistic. Even if you don’t have a lot of space to work with, you can use bright, textured pillows to decorate your space and make a statement.
You can also make the most of a small room by incorporating storage space everywhere possible. Raise the bed to use storage underneath. Add shelves to the closet to maximize out-of-sight storage. Organize shoes in a shoe rack or over-the-door organizer. Put shelves over the dresser to store books, jewelry, or anything else you want to keep in your room. You can even skip the dresser all together by adding hanging shelves in your closet. Think out of the box, literally. Try using a larger dresser or console as a nightstand to add more storage, then place a smaller side table next to the other side of the bed.
Kids’ bedrooms are meant to be fun, brightly colored, and full of youthful decorations, but working with a small room can be challenging. Use posters, pictures, and décor that gives you the most bang for your buck, but doesn’t leave the room feeling cluttered.
Bunk beds are the best option to make extra space in the room. If you must keep toys in the room, make sure they’re stored away out of sight—open boxes and cluttered shelves will make any small room feel like it’s closing in on you.
Whether your office is located in your living room, jammed in the corner of your kitchen space, or a portion of one of your bedrooms, the most efficient use of space is a wall-mounted desk—think of a hideaway bed in desk form.
If you have a little more space, choose a small, streamlined desk—although something bigger could offer more workspace, it would likely just dwarf your room and look out of place. Wall-mounted shelves take up less space than bookshelves, making them a much better option.
Make your small office space more appealing by adding decorative pieces. Though the space may be limited, you’ll enjoy using your office more if you hang art pieces and add decorative items to your bookshelves.
You may not think you can efficiently decorate your bathroom, but there are a few tips to gain storage and make it feel bigger. To increase space and improve small space design, install a pedestal sink to make the space feel more open and skirt a decorative sheet around it to allow for extra hidden storage space. Install a curtain rod in your shower that curves out, giving the feel of a much larger tub or shower area.
Add storage by putting an organizing shelf over the toilet. Neatly store your toilet paper and other bathroom necessities in this convenient space.
Living Room/Family Room
Here are a few of our favorite tips on how to decorate a small living room or family room space:
- Use a behind-the-couch console table instead of a coffee table to save floor space.
- Add a rug to infuse style without taking up any extra space.
- Avoid bulky furniture to maintain an open feel in the room.
- Mount your TV to the wall to save space.
- Purchase a storage ottoman for extra seating and hidden storage for blankets, DVDs, remotes, etc
- Use a media console to increase storage space for books, magazines, etc.
- Raise the height of your curtain rods to make the room feel bigger.
- Hang shelves right below the ceiling to draw the eye upward.
- Color code your shelves to add cohesion and make the room more organized.
- Hang a mirror to create the illusion of space, especially if the room lacks windows.
- Choose a unifying color scheme that flows from room to room.
- Select furniture with exposed legs to add breathing room and minimize bulk.
How Can You Make the Most of My Small Living Room
The above small space design tips will help you make the most of a small living room. Some other principles to consider are making sure you still have plenty of seating so you can enjoy the room with guests. Even if the space is small, you want to make it functional and enjoyable to be in. Try a sectional couch to maximize space, or even purchase a bench that can be taken down and stored away when you don’t have people over.
You may also want to be selective with the fabrics you choose for curtains, couches, and rugs. Fabrics can have a subtle but big impact on the way the room feels. Choose lightweight fabrics to open up the room, such as linen or gauze for curtains. You can also choose fabrics in the same color as the wall to create a seamless look that makes the space feel bigger.
If you entertain often, you know what a difference an open, organized, kitchen and eating area can make. Open shelving makes even the smallest kitchen appear more spacious and eliminates the need to constantly open and close cupboard doors. A magnetic strip is a great option to attach knives or spice containers to your wall to keep them easily accessible and free up space.
How Do You Maximize Space in a Small Kitchen? Plus Other Rooms
If you’re looking for additional ways to maximize kitchen space, we have more great tips for you. These small space design tips can be applied to any room in the house to save on space and increase functionality.
Invest in space-saving storage options like spice racks, can holders, and drawer organizers. If your pantry and drawers are messy, you’re probably wasting a lot of space. You can also stack the pantry and cabinets higher if you have expanding shelves to make the most of otherwise unused space.
Add baskets and decorative bins to countertops in the kitchen and other rooms to save on space without it look messy. You can also invest in large glass jars to store everyday kitchen ingredients like flour, sugar, and oats.
Lastly, remember to keep your kitchen clean. A clean space will feel so much better and more inviting. When you have a designated place for everything, it will be easy to stay on top of the cleanliness. So make sure your drawers are organized and everything has a home. Even taking a minute to clean the counters and windows alone will do wonders to make a small kitchen feel more open.
Choose a small table with a lot of character to keep your eating space stylish, yet functional. Surround your table with clear acrylic chairs to give the illusion of more space, or create a built-in banquette to eliminate the need for some seating. If possible, choose chairs for your living room that can double as extra seating for your table when you have guests over. Benches are another good option to save on space while still allowing you to host a crowd.
Decorate with Purpose
The best small space design living ideas are the ones that infuse style into the space while helping the room function more efficiently. Make sure that the decorative elements you add in your home do not leave it looking cluttered—there’s a fine line between a well-decorated home and one that looks tacky. With the help of properly placed statement pieces and brightly colored furniture, you won’t need much more to make your home look beautiful.
How Do You Make a Room Look Bigger?
When trying to make a room look bigger, some principles are counterintuitive. For example, most people try to place furniture right up against the wall to increase the floor space. But this can actually make the room feel more cramped. It will be a subtle feeling, but if you bring furniture a few inches away from the wall, you’ll instantly feel more relaxed. The new positioning will give your furniture room to breathe and make the room feel more spacious.
Another idea most people have when decorating is that it’s better to choose smaller decorative items if the room is small. Conversely, many interior design experts recommend choosing large statement pieces to make a room feel bigger. One rule of thumb is to never choose a decorative accent that is smaller than a cantaloupe. Otherwise, the space will feel cluttered.
Though many people also try to avoid patterns in a small space, certain patterns can make a room look bigger. Try adding stripes to draw the eye upward and open up the space. Stripes can be incorporated in wallpaper, pillows, and rugs.
In addition to the above, some excellent small apartment decorating ideas include adding in a strategically placed mirror to make your space look bigger, and utilizing the natural light in your apartment. Let’s face it—apartment living isn’t always glamorous, especially when you’re renting and can’t really personalize the space.
How Can I Make My Room Look Cozy?
Though we recommend minimizing clutter in small living space, this doesn’t mean the room has to feel sterile. Make any room cozy by applying a few surefire principles.
Make a plan to enhance the lighting in your room. Whether you’re working with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, or any other space, it’s important to layer the lighting and provide options for any situation. The most cozy rooms usually have five different light sources, including accent lighting, main lighting, task lamps, etc. Add fairy lights or Christmas lights any time of year to really amp up the cozy factor.
Layers of texture are another great way to increase the coziness of a room. Lay a throw blanket over the couch or bed. Add textured throw pillows to a couch or armchair. Put down a fur rug on a hardwood floor or even layered on top of another woven rug.
Lastly, a room will feel much cozier when you add a personal touch. If your room is lacking art or photos you love, hang some in a gallery wall or above the bed. Take a trip to the antique store and choose some unique pieces to instantly make a room cozier. Plants are another great way to add interest and make a room more inviting.
How Do I Maximize Space in a Small Apartment?
When working with a small apartment, give the illusion of built-ins with the help of a few bookshelves, lay down rugs in every room, and hang curtains. All these design elements, when carefully chosen to match your own style, can open up your small apartment and make it feel like a home.
Many people try to avoid busy walls in a small apartment, but removable wallpaper can be a fun way to jazz up the space and add a unique touch. Try wallpaper in the bathroom for something that’s less of a commitment.
Interior Design Ideas for Small Flats
If you have a small flat, don’t be discouraged.
“Most of us have far too many possessions. I recently downsized slightly, to accommodate my busy work and travel schedule, and it made me really rethink everything I own. Do I love it? Does it enhance my life? Does it bring joy? If not — get rid of it! One of the tenets of modernism, to me, is surrounding ourselves with fewer things, but things that have utility and meaning.” – Christopher Kennedy
Tips to Remember
The most important thing to remember when considering all of these small space design living ideas is to keep things organized and ensure you have ample storage space. Decorating small rooms is difficult, but when done right, can take even the tiniest space and make it look bigger.
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