10 Big Ideas For Small Spaces

A - Cover Pic Option 2 - 450 x 380
Photo Credit: Design Tripper
When it comes to your home, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Sure – we all pin pictures of ginormous, picturesque houses with sprawling, manicured lawns. When I was in real estate, people would always ooooh and ahhh at the biggest house on the block, and turn their noses up at the more quaint homes. And I was no different: when I bought my first house, I opted for the house that gave me the most square footage for my money (far more than I needed), instead of the sweet little jewel box that I really loved (the joys and pitfalls of home buying is another story I’ll tell you another day). But here’s the truth about “bigger”: bigger is almost always more expensive – first to get the place, and later to furnish it. And if your home is anything like mine, bigger sounds great upfront, but once you’re settled in, you find that you really only live in half the rooms in the house, while the others you can hear crickets in. Scariest of all… bigger means (gulp) more cleaning. And who’s got time for that?
The great thing about smaller spaces is this: in addition to fewer hours scrubbing floors and having a little extra coin in your pocket to spend at your leisure, what I love about living in a smaller space is that it forces you to hone in on ONLY using the things you really, truly love. Quality > Quantity.
So if you’re in a small space now, dreading downsizing, or just need to figure out how to make the most of what you do have, here are 10 ideas that might help you:
1. First and foremost, give yourself time to live in the space first before you decide how you’re going to use it
(and before you buy out Ikea this weekend in an effort to do the whole place in 2 days, ‘cause Grandpa was right when he said “haste makes waste”). Smaller spaces require a bit of restraint and a little strategy, and you owe it to yourself to figure out how you want each area to function… then later, to fill it only with things you love.
1 - Option 2 - Live in it
Photo Credit: Paul Costello, Style Hostess
2. Pare down.
It’s amazing how much – well – junk we have that we don’t need, and how much clutter-anxiety accompanies that junk. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked around my house, or my closet, and thought, “what do I REALLY love that I’ve had for more than 5 years?” And the list is always small. Be honest with yourself about what you actually need and use. If you wouldn’t buy it again today, SELL IT. If you can’t bear to part with it yet, store it (the parents’ house is always my go-to option). Chances are you will forget it’s even there, and it’ll be easier to part with after a year of not needing it.
2. Pare Down
Photo Credit: Real Simple
3. Use your vertical space.
When you’re limited on floor space, look up! Here are a few good ways to go vertical:
Incorporate shelves…
3.1. Use Your Vertical Space - Shelves
Photo Credit: Lonny, Switcheroom
Hoist your bed up on risers and use rolling crates or baskets underneath to store out-of-season clothes, Christmas decorations, or extra bedding. Conceal the clutter behind a pretty bedskirt, and you’re golden.
3.2. Use Your Vertical Space - Under Bed Storage
Photo Credit: Lonny
Hang curtains as close to the ceiling as possible, so it gives the illusion that the space is larger.
3.3. Use Your Vertical Space - Curtain Height
Photo Credit: Apartment Therapy
Paint the ceiling. Not only is it one of the most neglected areas in any space, but it draws the eye up and makes the space feel much more grand.
3.4. Use Your Vertical Space - Paint the ceiling
Photo Credit: Melanie Turner Interiors,
Domino Mag
Instead of bedside lamps, mount sconces on the wall to save surface area.
3.5 Use Your Vertical Space - Sconces
Photo Credit: Number Four Eleven
The Decorista

4.Try a plush love seat or a large settee instead of a traditional-sized sofa.
And if you like lazy Sundays watching TBS 80’s movies as much as I do, make sure it’s still comfortable enough to curl up on, because it still has to function well for your lifestyle.
4. Loveseat
Photo Credit: Coco and Kelly
Be Fair Be Funky
5. Don’t let anybody tell you that you if you paint the walls anything other than white, it’ll close the space in.
It’s an old myth. I’ve found that going a bit darker with paint can have the opposite effect: it blurs spatial lines and makes the walls feel like they’re receding and more infinite.
5. Dark Walls
Photo Credit: Domino Mag, Lonny
6. Multitask.
Opt for a sofa in the living room that pulls out for out-of-town guests. If you use an ottoman as a coffee table, make sure it has storage inside. You can also use poufs as coffee tables – just top ‘em with trays. Also, consider letting your dining room table double as an office. Our dining room is beautiful, but it gets used as my desk about 99% of the time, and for any sort of dinners about 1% of the time. Keep your work essentials on a large tray, so you can easily adios them when company’s coming.
6. Multitask
Photo Credit: Emily A. Clarke, House and Home
7. Add one oversized element.
It is counterintuitive, but adding a canopy bed or a huge piece of artwork or mirror, for instance, is unexpected in a small space and can add a big dose of glamour and drama.
7. Oversized Element
Photo Credit: Domino Mag, Olivier Gagnère
8. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.
Mirrors not only add depth, but are also a great trompe l’oeil and give the illusion that your space is much lighter and more expansive than it really is. A good rule of thumb is to place them opposite of where the sun comes in each day, so they not only double the space but also reflect the natural light. Or, just pop a pretty chandelier in front of one.
8. Mirror Mirror
Photo Credit: The Rustic Modernist, Lonny
9. Take a seat.
Outfit a window ledge with an upholstered seat and pillows as a reading nook. Or consider installing a narrow bench that runs the length of a wall – it can give you storage space underneath, and a place for guests to perch at parties.
9. Take a seat
Photo Credit: Flickr
10. Lighten up.
Try to use a variety of lighting sources at different levels. In addition to the overhead lighting, incorporate sconces, table lamps, and floor lamps where you can. It makes the space feel larger and more open, and having more than one dimension of light also helps you control the ambiance in each space. Putting overhead sources on dimmer switches is also a plus. Click here for a slew of my favorites.
10. Lighten Up
Photo Credit: Meg Adams


Stephanie from Covet Living