Master's Class: Small Spaces

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Having a small space is a common problem with which most of us have to deal at some point in our lives. Often it seems as if there is just never enough room!

In today’s Master’s Class, I want to give you a few tips on how to make the most of what you have. The first thing to remember—and it’s probably a good rule to live by in general—is, DON’T pretend your space is something it’s not! You will not be happy trying to stuff a large sofa into a space that just won’t take it, and will be overwhelmed when you have no more room for anything else when you do. Take it from me—there are ways to make a small space feel warm, inviting, and as if it is much bigger than it really is.

Here’s how to work with what you have. If your square footage is tiny, you will need to compensate with smaller and fewer pieces, which also means you’ll be looking for items that serve dual purposes. So take a look at the list of ideas here, see what applies to you, and maybe by the end you’ll have a few tips of your own to add, too:

Mirrors are a great way to bring more light into your space. If you get a large-floor standing mirror, it can create the feeling of another window in your room. You might even try putting mirrors on two opposing walls so that they reflect off of each other, which will really open the room up. And if your space is narrow, a mirror will help create width.

Dual purpose items are at the core of small space design. You’re limited in square feet, but most of the time, will still want to use your space to do all of the same things you would if you had more of it. Here are the core dual purpose items I suggest you start with—they’ll really start to open your mind to ways to make more items multi-functional:

—Whether it’s a bed, coffee table or side table, I cannot stress enough that you should make sure there is an opportunity for storage. It’ll really do the trick for clearing away clutter, which is even worse in a smaller area. There are also a lot of great storage ottomans that are good for this purpose as well.

—Tables and chairs that can be folded up to put away in a storage closet—perfect for creating a pop-up work station or for entertaining guests.

This chair is an extreme example of a storage option, but will get the wheels turning about getting creative with storage. If you’re handy, you could even fashion one yourself!

Image via Bright.Bazaar

Smaller-scale furniture is key. You’ve got a small space – don’t overwhelm it with furniture that doesn’t fit. So think carefully about what you really need. A dining table can function as a bedside table, desk, and a place to eat. Thinking in these terms will help you cut down on crowding. For example, if you don’t really entertain much, maybe just one lounge chair is enough.

Vary the heights of furniture in your space. Keep it interesting! Just because the space is small doesn’t mean you can’t have bar stools for your guests to sit around the kitchen counter. Add a floor-to-ceiling mirror to add drama and interest, or large pillows for floor-seating that can be easily tucked away. This concept will add dynamism and break up the room.

Bare floors will open up the space. Adding rugs can chop the space up too much, so leaving the without dressing will make the space feel more open and, well, spacious.

Image via Elle Decor

Neutrals are a great direction to go, because they make a room feel airier and more open. That’s not to say color can’t be incorporated in fun ways, but crowding a room with color should be thought of like crowding a room with furniture. There’s just not going to be enough space for it all.

Downsize the amount of stuff you own. This is probably the key to existing in a small space. If your belongings are overflowing onto your countertops and your drawers, you’re going to feel cramped—no doubt about it. Don’t take multi-use pieces as an excuse to hoard tons of unnecessary stuff!

The takeaway for dealing with a small space? Reduce, Reuse and Resize! Let me know how you work with your small space by giving me a shout-out @nousdecor—I’d love to hear your ideas!

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