Decorating & Design

December 20, 2009

Decorating Small Spaces

Create big impact in compact quarters with our 10 tips using furniture, mirrors, storage, flooring and more. 

1. Create double-duty spaces

Make rooms multi-purpose by delineating areas with the use of seating, tables, rugs and artwork. Creating distinct zones for relaxing, working, entertaining or eating within a room will give it an expansive feeling, even though it may contain more furniture.

2. Set a dresser outside the bedroom

Choose a slim dresser or bureau as a hallway catchall piece. It will provide a tabletop surface for a lamp and a few decorative accessories, while drawers offer lots of extra storage.

3. Keep work hidden

Create a workstation with a small secretary-style desk that can be closed up to hide clutter when not in use. 

4. Choose leggy furniture

Make a compact living room appear more open and airy by choosing a sofa and coffee table with visible legs.

5. Add storage up high

Maximize vertical space by installing kitchen cabinets up to the ceiling. You’ll gain storage space while creating the illusion of height. Adding a shelf around the top of other rooms can also help, says Ty Pennington. Get more little-project tips from Ty. 

6. De-clutter bedside tables

Opt for wall-mounted lamps to free up precious bedside tabletop space for a book, water carafe and alarm clock.

7. Store with style

Add a custom look to big box bookshelves by adding moulding to the top and caulking and painting visible seams.

8. Keep flooring consistent

Using the same flooring and rug style throughout a small space will help create a sense of flow.

9. Expand with mirrors

Use large mirrors, either wall-mounted or leaned up against a wall, to create the illusion of a larger room.

10. Use convertible furniture

A cube storage ottoman does double-duty as seating or a coffee table, a wall-mounted flip-down dining table frees up floor space when not in use, and a pull-down murphy bed can be hidden away during the day.

Find more spall space design ideas in our guide.


Michael Graydon