Design Tips

10 Smart Tips for Decorating a Small Space

If you’re looking for some practical, simple tips to decorate a small space, this is the post for you!  Whether you’re tackling a small room, an apartment, or even a smaller-sized home, the goal is to maximize your square footage while giving the illusion that the space is larger than it actually is.

While Pinterest and magazines provide great inspiration for home decorating, often these homes are ginormous with ample room for furniture and decor!  Given that  not everyone’s home is quite so grandiose, small spaces require a few unique approaches and tricks in order to create a beautiful space.  Here are my 10 tips to give your home a bigger feel.

10 Tips for Decorating a Small Space



1. Pay Attention to Scale

Choosing the right size furnishings is a bit like Goldilocks – not too big, not too small, but just right.  With a smaller space, it’s important that the scale of your furniture to proportionate to the room itself.  Avoid overstuffed, large-scale furnishings that take up a lot of visual space, not to mention floor space.  Now, this doesn’t mean you should find super small-scaled furnishing either.  If your furniture is too small for the room, it can actually make your space look smaller!  Instead, opt for furnishings that are proportionate to the space.  Proportion is the key.

{via Elle Decor}


2. Look for these Furniture Features

Along with scale, pay attention to the features of the furnishing that you choose.  For example, furniture with legs, as opposed to pieces that go all the way to the floor, tend to look less bulky.  Clear acrylic or glass pieces also give a lighter-weight appearance than solid wood pieces.  Round furniture also takes up a bit less space and is easier to walk around, so consider round coffee tables or side tables.  Lastly, avoid overly bulky objects {regardless of the scale} because these tend to look heavy and can weight down the visual space in a room.

Small scale decorating ideas for the living room
{via 2 Ladies & A Chair}


3. Maximize Storage

Small spaces are usually somewhat limited on storage, so look for items that can do double-duty.  For example, maybe a coffee table that offers storage for blankets or seasonal items.  Or maybe an accent chair in the living room that can also be pulled into the dining room for extra seating at the table.  Limited space for dining seating?  Try a banquette that also serves as storage.  Make sure everything in the room has a clear purpose and use.

Small kitchen dining decorating ideas with a banquette
{via BHG}


4. Clear Floor Space

We’ve all seen pictures showing a cute basket next to a sofa or ladder in a corner or some other object placed on the floor to take up space.  If your room is small, though, try to maintain as much open floor space as possible so as to help eliminate clutter and allow people to easily walk through the room without feeling like they are in an obstacle course.  As a general rule, maintain a clear path of 26″-36″ in order to easily maneuver through the room.  In a large room, objects are often placed in corners or near furniture to add interest and/or take up visual space to keep the room from feeling empty, but a small space just doesn’t have the need for these extra items so keep that floor space clear!

{You can find more decorating measurements HERE.}


5. Simplify Decor/Knick Knacks

It’s easy to add new items to your home, but if you don’t edit and purge, it’s equally easy to have too much stuff!  Decor items are a fun way to show off our personalities and give character to the room, but in a small space, be sure you keep them to a minimum for fear of making the room look cluttered.  Evaluate everything you bring into the home to ensure it falls into one of two categories: useful or meaningful.

One exception might be if you have a collection that you want to display.  While a collection includes many objects, they all have something in common which makes them seem less busy and cluttered than a random group of objects otherwise would.  Still, even with a collection you’ll need to edit depending on the size of your space, but don’t let a small space stop you from showing off something you love!

Opening kitchen shelving with bottle collection
{via My Domaine}


6. Pull Furniture Away from the Wall

This tip will obviously depend on the size of your room, and actually, applies to spaces of all sizes, not just small spaces.  Here, the idea is that if you line all of your furniture up against the walls, you’re simply outlining the shape of your room and emphasizing its size, whether large or small.  If your space is big enough to allow, pull the furniture away from the walls to create a grouping in the center of the room.  This way, your eye will focus on the grouping and not the dimensions of the walls themselves.  Keep in mind that space needed for a walkway, as mentioned above.

Beach style living room small scale decorating ideas
{via Coastal Home}


7. Take Advantage of Wall Space

If you can’t go wider, go taller!  Take advantage of wall space both in order to maximize storage and to help draw the eye up for an added layer of dimension!  Consider using a grouping of artwork hung vertically, floating shelves for added storage without sacrificing floor space, or even a vertical striped wall treatment!

{via Truly a Lovely Life}


8. Hang Window Treatments High

Similar to Tip #6, make sure your window treatments are hung higher than the window themselves to add more height to the room.  Also, hang them wide such that when open, they only overlap the window by a couple of inches.  This will make the window appear bigger and brighter, which tricks the brain into thinking the space is larger than it is.

How to hang curtains to make your window look bigger
{via HomeGoods}


9. Add Light

On the subject of making the windows appear bigger for more light, also be sure to bring in lamps and other light sources to brighten the space!  You can also use hanging mirrors to help reflect light around the room and open up the space.

Small entryway decorating ideas
{via BHG}


10. Keep Colors Light and Bright

This tip is a bit controversial because sometimes, dark colors create a cozy and unique feeling in a small room.  As a general rule of thumb, though, dark colors tend to make a space feel smaller, so if you want your room to feel larger, opt for light or bright colors, both on the walls, doors, and trim.  If you want to add a darker color, consider using it on the floor as a rug, or in accent pieces like pillows or art.  My downstairs bathroom is so tiny there isn’t even a window, so I opted for light colors with lots of lighting and a planked ceiling and wallpaper to draw the eye up!

Tidbits&Twine Bathroom Makeover


A final thought… with every tips or rule-of-thumb I write about, there are always exceptions!  And at the end of the day, it’s your home and it should be what YOU want, even if you don’t follow the rules!








Budget Decorating with 5 Everyday Items

Knick-knacks – are they necessary or a waste of money?  Well, it all depends, but sometimes, we want to fill a space – like an end table, coffee table, or shelf – and so rush to buy that special something that will fit the space.  If you love the item, then great!  Your purchase was a good one!  But if you buy something simply to fill space, here are some budget decorating tips that will save you money by allowing you to use everyday items as decor objects.  And my guess is that you probably have all five of these in your home right now…

Decorating on a budget with 5 everyday items



Most people have books and they’re probably tucked away in a cabinet or shelf somewhere for future reading or reference.  But books look great when used as decor!  Instead of hiding them away, consider using them as “filler” on your mantel, table, nightstand, etc.  If I don’t love a book’s cover, I simply turn it around so the pages face outward.  Or, you can cover it in fabric for a whole new look {instructions HERE}.

A few books on the mantel help to fill an otherwise empty space!

Fireplace mantel decorated with vintage books and crystal


Not only do books add great texture and dimension to your home, but they can also be used as a base to give other items a bit more height.  Simply stack them up for a unique base!  When stacking books, I like to mix sizes and often, stack them slightly askew.

Coffee table vignette with books and branches

Christmas fireplace mantel display


Even if you keep your books in a cabinet, don’t feel like you have to line them up side-by-side.  Feel free to break up with books with other items, or even lay some books down!  Doing so will create more of a stylized look to your cabinet.

Styled bookshelf


Wooden Cutting Boards

This one might sound a little silly, but wooden cutting boards {or breadboards} can be quite beautiful when incorporated into your home.  As a bonus, if your board is out on display, you don’t have to worry about storing it!  I use a mix of vintage and new cutting boards.  There’s nothing fancy about any of them; I simply chose them because I liked the way they looked and I liked the size.

You can layer a few together along your kitchen backsplash to help break up the lines of the tile.  {Okay, maybe this isn’t the best picture to illustrate this idea, but if you look closely, you can see them in the background on the left side.}

Fall farmhouse kitchen decor


I’ve even placed an entire collection on display on my mantel!

wooden cutting board collection on mantel


Similar to books, cutting boards also make a great base for other objects.  I frequently use a cutting board on my dining room table to create a large, sturdy base for my centerpiece.  Even a small centerpiece will look larger if used on a base!

French spring dining room


Dishes can be beautiful and as such, don’t always have to be stored in a closed cabinet.  An empty corner can easily be filled with a collection of dishes.  I used to “store” some of my platters on the wall as a decorative display.


Now, my teacups are on display!

If you have an empty wall, consider making a display with your plates and/or platters.  Even your kitchen can be decorated with a beautiful display of dishes and cups!


Dried Flowers

Whether you have store-bought flowers or stems clipped from your garden, do your best to preserve the blossoms because they’ll come in handy in the future!  My personal favorites to use in decorating are roses, lavender, and hydrangeas because I like the way they look when they are dried.

You can create a bouquet of dried flowers, or you can simply sprinkle dried flower heads in among other items for a touch of color and an organic shape.


With their large flower heads, dried hydrangeas can make a beautiful centerpiece or accent to any decor, so consider adding them to containers or grouping them together in a vase.

French farmhouse fall dining room



Baskets not only provide storage, but they’re beautiful to look at!  I love when an items serves a dual purpose, don’t you?  Plus, baskets come in so many shapes, sizes, colors, and styles that you’ll easily be able to find one that meets your needs and visually works in your space.  A beautiful basket tucked away in the corner can instantly fill an empty spot.  A messy collection of magazines can easily be organized and stored away in a basket providing instant character and charm.  Shallow baskets are great for grouping items together on a coffee table, under a console table, or even under a bench.

French Farmhouse foyer decorated for Fall


A grouping of baskets on top of a hutch and help visually expand the height of furniture.

French spring dining room



Before you buy something new, look around your home to see what you might already own that you can pull out of storage and put on display in a creative way that will add character, interest, texture, and dimension to your decor without costing a dime.








5 Tips For Fall Decorating with Nontraditional Colors

Traditionally, Fall decor is defined by the colors the leaves turn in Fall – yellows, oranges, reds, and browns.  When I visit the seasonal decor aisle of any store, while there are plenty of decor items to choose from, I’d say 99% fall into the traditional color scheme.  For me, these colors just aren’t my personal favorites, so for the last few years, I’ve been making up my own Fall color scheme, and you can too with these helpful tips below!

You can make any color combination “work” for Fall.  Yes, any!  Pink and white, blue and green, purple and yellow….they can all be used for Fall decorating so long as you give them a Fall feel using the tips below.

Decorating with Nontraditional Fall Colors


1. Use a Lot of Texture

Think about it…Are Fall leaves are known for their baby-soft textures?  No!  They’re crispy and crunchy and uneven in color.  So if you like purple, for example, use purple in your Fall decor! But instead of bright purple Spring flowers, maybe used dried purple hydrangeas.  If you’ve saved and dried flowers or branches from earlier in the year, this is the time to break them out because their crispy texture is just perfect for Fall, regardless of the color.

French farmhouse fall dining room


Similarly, Fall decor – no matter the color – has a heavier feel to it.  If you’re using vases, maybe skip the clear glass {which is light and airy}, and opt for a wooden bucket or maybe burlap-wrapped jar.  If your heart is set on bright green, maybe forego the boxwood {which has smooth, glossy leaves}, and instead opt for moss, which has a brillo pad texture.

Burlap utensil holder for Fall decor

Wooden items also have a lot of texture, so breadboards, dough bowls, wood slices, etc. all work well in Fall decorating.  Bringing lots of heavy texture into your decorating scheme will help lend itself to a Fall look, regardless of the colors you’re using.


2. Include Natural Elements

Fall is a great time of year to decorate with what  nature provides.  Adding natural elements to your decor not only brings in a nice, organic shape, but it makes the home feel less like the seasonal aisle of a craft store and more like a home.  As mentioned above, dried flowers or branches are a wonderful option.  Pinecones, acorns, bark pieces, moss, stones, and even antlers are all wonderful natural elements that you can add to your home to give it a Fall feel without giving it a Fall theme.  {For more on the different between a look and a theme, read HERE.}

Pink and white nontraditional fall color mantel


And of course, feel free to decorate with pumpkins!  The nice thing is that many grocery stores now carry gourds of various colors, like white and green, that you can add to your home and blend seamlessly with your non-traditional Fall color scheme.  Craft stores and other home decor stores also sell quite a few faux pumpkins now in a variety of colors, so there are a lot of options that will allow you to decorate with pumpkins even if you don’t like orange.

Nontraditional fall color decorating ideas


3. Add an Element of Warmth

The idea of adding warmth directly coincides with the outdoor temperatures!  As it becomes colder outside, we start to dress warmer but we also keep our homes warmer.

The idea of adding warmth to your home can take on a few different forms.  One way, is to add natural light, or the hint of natural light, to your decor.  For example, add candles or votives around your home or into your Fall tablescapes.

White Fall dining tablescape with candles and baby boo pumpkins


Another way to add warmth is to put more of a focus on your fireplace, so decorating your mantel to draw the eye to the fireplace to subconsciously make one thing about fire.  Even if your fireplace doesn’t work, this would be the perfect time of year to fill the fire box with candles or even pumpkins, to emphasize that element of warmth!  {You can find more ideas for non-working fireplaces HERE}

French fall fireplace mantel decorating nontraditional colors


Lastly, You can also strategically place throws on furniture, which lend themselves to a cozy feel.



4. Sprinkle in Warm Metals

To help add another layer to your decor and another element of texture, sprinkle in some metals!  Warm metals, like gold or copper, are perfect for Fall and easily coordinate with a wide variety of color combinations.  If silver is more your speed, maybe skip the chrome and opt for galvanized steel, which while it has the same silvery color, has a rougher texture more in keeping with the Fall season.

Fall farmhouse kitchen decor

Ideas for decorating with nontraditional Fall colors



5. Stay Seasonally Appropriate

Now this tip might seem a little odd, but it’s important if you plan to use nontraditional colors, which might otherwise lend themselves to another season.  So if, for example, you’re using purple in your Fall decor, now’s not the time to break out your collection of beautiful butterfly picks to sprinkle in with your dried flowers because butterflies tend to be associated with Spring.  Similarly, if you’re using food as part of your decorating, maybe skips the limes and use apples instead.

Fall acorns in a vintage trophy cup - Fall decorating ideas


Examples of seasonally appropriate items include feathers, acorns, pinecones, gourds, owls, antlers, dried grasses, apples, pears, etc.Dining tablescape decorating with nontraditional Fall colors

As you select items to use in your Fall decor, look for items that seem seasonally appropriate because these items will help create a Fall feel, which is especially important if you aren’t using traditional Fall colors.



So the next time you’re at the store, don’t feel limited to shop only from the seasonal aisle; instead, use the tips above to find things that will provide a Fall feel in any color scheme you choose!