Whether you live in a small apartment or just have a small room you don't know to decorate, there's no reason to sacrifice style in your petite quarters. Over the years, we've garnered quite a few tips from the pros about how to maximize style and square footage in a small space. Read on for a few of our favorite tricks.
Built-in kitchen banquettes are one of our favorite designer tricks. Installing this communal seat allows you to maximize your space—you may not have enough space for six chairs around your kitchen table, but you can easily seat four on a banquette and pair that with two dining chairs.
This requires some custom handiwork, which may not be appealing if you’re living in a rental, but it can make quite an impact.
Glass and Lucite furniture are a small-space dweller's best friend. These see-through materials blend into their surroundings, visually decluttering your space so it doesn’t seem as full as it actually is. Instead of a bulky wooden dining table, consider one with a glass top. Instead of a chunky marble coffee table, go for an acrylic waterfall table.
The first thing you should do when you’re decorating any space is clear your mind of any notions you have of what should be there. Not every bedroom needs a nightstand flanking each side of the bed, and not every living room needs a floor lamp and a side table beside it.
Designers who know this are all about putting furniture flush with the walls. In a small sitting area, choose that big cozy sectional you love and let it take over the width of the room. You can float small side tables in front of it to hold your drinks, remote controls, and other necessities, and use sconces instead of table or floor lamps. The same goes for a bedroom: If your bedroom is tiny, choose that big bed you want and use a wall shelf instead of a nightstand and an overhead light instead of a table lamp.
Have short ceilings? By placing eye-catching items up high or running an accent or a furniture piece from the floor toward the ceiling, you’ll effectively create the illusion of height by draw your guests' eyes upward. We love the idea of hanging a textile behind a headboard for added height or setting vases on top of a bookcase or mantel for an extra lift.
Another way to effectively “fight” your short ceilings is to bring in low-slung furniture. When you sit down, you’ll be that much further away from the ceiling, so you won’t feel as cramped. If you keep the styling simple, you’ll also allow more white space on your walls, creating the illusion of space.
Mirrors are one of the most transformative and foolproof additions to any small room, as they visually double your space. A mirror of any shape or size will help, but the longer and the wider it is, the better. Just beware full-on mirrored doors, which tend to look dated.
It’s incredible what a little natural light can do to a space that feels dark and cramped. If you have a small space on your hands, pull back the curtains, roll up the blinds, and watch your space suddenly look light, bright, and expansive.
Storage is the biggest struggle for small-space dwellers. The Catch-22 is that while you may be thrilled to find a bookcase or a built-in unit that houses all of your things, if the piece exposes your odds and ends, it can make your space feel cluttered. The trick is to use hidden storage: Consider putting drawers in the aforementioned banquette seating or using sliding doors so that your record collection doesn’t create visual clutter.
Interior designers love paint, fabric, and wallpaper, so when you see an interior that’s predominantly white, don’t assume it’s unfinished. Going white was likely a strategic choice, as the neutral makes everything look and feel bigger. White walls might just do the trick, but also creating a cohesive white color scheme (such as white dinnerware against white kitchen tile) can work wonders for a small space.