ReDESIGNS by Ava: Live Large In a Small Space

“Interior design is rarely easy, but those who live in particularly tiny quarters know that it’s even trickier to decorate without the luxury of space.” ~ Mackenzie Horan


My husband and I have lived in several houses during our life together. Some were small; others were larger.  I have always said that no matter the house, I could make it home.  When our daughter and son-in-law were looking for a new home in Colorado a few years ago, April said, “Mom, I don’t want a large house because then I’ll have to have furniture to fill it up.”  There is a great deal of truth to that statement.

No matter how small the space, you can create an intimate retreat that feels cozy and inviting. So whether you have a small apartment, small home or a small room, there are some basic rules to help you make the most of your small space.

  • Clear the clutter. Every inch of space counts in a small space. Donate or sell items you don’t need.  Use baskets to store everyday clutter on open shelving, under a coffee table or open console table.
  • Select furniture with no arms or tight arms and straight sides. Furnishings with exposed legs also help to visually add space to a small room.
  • Consider a smaller version of the necessary furniture like a loveseat, instead of a full-size sofa or a full or queen size bed instead of a king.
  • Choose a round ottoman or coffee table to allow for better traffic flow in and out of the conversation area.
  • Use fewer colors in a small space.  Too many can make a room look messy.  Use color to add personality to your space; not overpower it.
  • Play up texture by varying the textures in a small space.  The eye will be stimulated, but not overly so.
  • Allow for more seating in a small dining space by using a round dining table.  Consider using a glass-topped table to create the illusion of a larger space.
  • Make the space feel larger by using a light colored rug.  Even in a small room, be sure to define the space with a rug.
  • Buy furniture pieces that have a multipurpose, such as ottomans with built-in storage, nesting tables, a dining table with drop leaves, a daybed covered with pillows (can serve as a couch), etc.
  • Decorate vertically with shelves.  Open shelves work best in a small space. A bookcase or built-ins painted the same color as the wall will not distract from the space.
  • Light up your room.  Good lighting is essential.  Overhead lighting (recessed lighting, unlike a hanging fixture, will not demand attention) is helpful but wall, floor and table lamps will spread light around the room.  Lamps always make a room cozy and inviting.
  • Hang curtains high (to create height) and wide (to let as much light in as possible)….just a few inches below the ceiling or molding and 4” to 6” outside each side of the molding.
  • Create a strong focal point by using a large or over-sized piece of art.  This can actually open up a small space.  Using several smaller pieces of art scattered around the room will make the room feel cluttered.
  • Take up minimal visual space by using clear (reflective or transparent) glass lamps and accessories, or Lucite or glass-topped tables.
  • Add interest by using patterns in a small space:  the ratio of 2:1 – two small-scaled patterns or textures with one sparsely used bold pattern.
  • Expand the boundaries of your room with a mirror.  A mirror reflects light and can double the impact of windows.  Word of warning:  Be careful what a mirror reflects.Reflecting clutter or the wrong view, a mirror can make a room feel more crowded.

Live large in your small space. Need decorating help?  Schedule an appointment with ReDESIGNS by Ava!