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10 Smart Tips for Decorating a Small Space

Design Tips

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…..as 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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