Small Space, Big Style: Tips for Decorating Cramped Quarters

man trying to figure out what to do with his small space



Bigger isn’t always better. There are lots of great reasons to choose a smaller home, including less time spent on upkeep, lower property taxes and lower energy use. But, when it’s time to decorate, browsing magazines and online idea galleries can leave you longing for a little extra room. Don’t let tight spaces squash your decorating creativity! With a few simple strategies, your small spaces can be large on style.


Pick the Right Furniture, and the Right Arrangement

Selecting furniture for a small room can be tricky, since you can’t walk into your favorite furniture store and assume everything will fit. As a general rule, stay away from bulky, visually heavy items and opt for slender, streamlined pieces instead. For example, sectional sofas, or couches with fluffy backs and rolled arms not only occupy precious space, but also look too heavy for a small room. Instead, look for sofas with clean lines, slender arms and straight backs.

great job decorating a small roomLook for furniture that allows the eye to move around the room without interruption. This will make it look as if there is actually more space in the room. Choose tables, chairs and even sofas with slender legs that create visual space between the floor and the furniture. Also, glass top tables take up less visual space, and create an airier feel than their wood topped counterparts.

Planning is key to finding the right furniture for a petite room. Head to the store armed with the measurements for the room as well as the existing furniture. Go a step beyond the basic ceiling heights and all lengths by taking into account window placement and the space needed for door opening. Sound like too many numbers to keep track of? The iPhone app, Photo Measures, allows to you to snap a photo of your room and input as many measurements as needed.

Making your furniture work in a small room isn’t all about having the right pieces. How you arrange them is equally important. Resist the urge to simply line up furniture around the walls. A cushion of space between the wall and larger pieces actually makes the room feel larger. Rather than dragging and pushing furniture around the room in a hit-or-miss approach, design your layout digitally first. Better Homes & Gardens offers an only tool, Arrange A Room, which allows you to create a virtual room of any size and place furniture, rugs and accessories within it. It’s the perfect way to save your back while trying out new arrangements.


Choose a Hue

great way to work a small spaceRely on neutral, light walls to make your small space look larger. Overly dark walls can close in a room, but light walls help to bounce light around and trick the eye into perceiving a larger space. However, that doesn’t mean walls have to be white. Light greys, pale blues, and subdued tans work equally as well. If you are curious to see how a paint color will look in your room, head over to the Sherwin-Willams site. Their Color Visualizer allows you to upload a photo and swap out paint colors for a better look at how shades will impact your room.

Add in pops of color with accent pillows, throws and artwork. Stick to a narrow color pallet of one to two accent colors. Sharp, crisp colors work better in a small space than muddy colors.


Work the Walls

In a room where floor space is at a premium, taking advantage of vertical wall space is the perfect way to add pizzazz. Adding a large photo gallery is a great way to add visual interest to a wall, and it has the added bonus of clearing frames & photos off the mantel and tabletops. DIY & Craft Ideas has a roundup of photo wall layouts and designer Rebecca Robeson shares a YouTube video of an easy way create the perfect picture wall.


Clear the Clutter

Organization is important in any space, but in small rooms it is even more crucial. Many smaller homes lack ample closet and storage space, so you’ll need to create storage that is both function and beautiful. Look for furniture, such as coffee table and nightstands that have enclosed storage. Use baskets on open shelves to gather up loose items such as remote controls and magazines. Decorate Small Spaces offers ten tips for ditching, displaying and stashing items in small rooms.


Bring It All Together

The combination of the right furniture and layout, fun wall accents, organization and lighting can bring big style to your small space. Designer Libby Langdon sums up all of these tips, and more in her own YouTube video, Correct Your Small Space Mistakes.

What are your best tips and most difficult challenges for decorating the smaller rooms in your home? Do you have a particular story you’d like to share on a job well done? Maybe some frustrations? Whatever it is you’d like to share, don’t leave here without doing so! Take the time to leave a comment below and give us the chance to interact with you!

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