Small space design can be tricky, but not impossible. There are ways to make a petite space work well for you and look good at the same time!
Here are five of my favorite ideas for how to maximize your small space:
1. Take Advantage of Natural Light
Natural light brightens up a space and keeps it from looking dark and cramped.
Mirrors are perfect for bouncing the available natural light around a room - it will give the illusion that your space is larger than it really is.
2. Divide your Space into Zones
Defining space by activity will make your space function well. Create a zone for each of the different activities you do in a space, like eating, sleeping and working.
Try using bookcases or folding screens to create specific areas within a room. Bookcases are a great option as they also provide additional storage, which brings me to my next idea...
When floor space is precious, think up.
Tall bookcases, armoires, or floating shelves draw the eye upwards and emphasize the verticality of your space, which helps a small space feel larger.
4. Use Furniture that Does Double Duty
In small rooms, space is at a premium, so it is important it to maximize what space is available.
Ottomans and benches can pull double duty as coffee tables and additional seating.
These pieces often come with a storage option, which is a bonus because you can never have too much storage, especially in a small space.
Clutter is the bane of a small space's existence.
Storage boxes with lids or baskets are perfect for hiding and organizing clutter. Keep what you use often close at hand and tuck the rest away in the back of a closet or under the bed.
Watch this video to learn about some small space lighting essentials
These are just a few small space design solutions - what techniques do you use when designing a small room or a studio apartment? Share in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Lamps Plus
Designer Peter Fehrentz
played up the cocoon-like nature of his Berlin apartment (clocking in at 646 square foot) by decorating it with elegant, dark colors like, painting the old wood floors a very dark eggplant that reads as a warm black and the bedroom walls a rich blue-green. A sliding door divides the verde bamboo granite bathroom from the bedroom.
A retail executive in Manhattan tapped architect Darrick Borowski of Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture to reinvent his diminutive, 500-square-foot Manhattan studio
. Exploratory demolition revealed enough space in the kitchen for an Asko washer-dryer and a full-size refrigerator.
One time-tested method for making it work in a small space? Edit, edit, and edit some more. In the living room of this 538-square-foot deck house in England
, Arne Jacobsen Swan chairs flank a Marcel Breuer for Isokon nesting table. Above the Florence Knoll–designed credenza is a print by English artist Terry Frost. The adjacent deck holds Breuer’s Folding Armchair and a table from Aram in London.
Rule #2? Carve out plenty of storage. The square inches you may lose are gained by maximizing every cranny to stash detritus. Restricting storage to a monolithic bank of bookshelves and cabinets can also cut down on furniture clutter, as in this architect’s self-renovated Brooklyn apartment
Fear of losing space within a small footprint? Go vertical, like these homeowners did
by staggering Ikea cabinets to the most of their loft’s 14-foot ceilings.
When a New York City couple had their second child, they saw two options: Go broke buying a bigger apartment, or renovate their existing 620-square-foot home
. The rejiggered living space has to function as both a bedroom and a family room, so when the family watches TV or reads, they cozy up on the bed or sit on the built-in bench, which also serves as a dining and play area.
A Tokyo architect
wanted more shelf space in her home office, so she added a plywood door with built-in bookshelves that opens into her bedroom to form a reading nook. Glimpsed from the adjacent room, the space looks larger than it actually is, thanks to the bright green walls.
Designer Nina Tolstrup employed some clever space-saving tactics in the tiny guest house at her London home
. A built-in, combination bed-closet is cozy and saves valuable inches; Studiomama’s Pilot hangers for Trip Trap help organize the closet area.
To maximize their small Warsaw loft
, a transatlantic design couple handcrafted a fleet of double-duty furnishings. Caster wheels on the bottom allow the shelves to be stored under the kitchen island or rolled elsewhere to create a library anywhere in the apartment.
For this Seattle carpenter’s tiny red house
, every piece of furniture in the living room and kitchen is mobile for ultra flexibility. That includes a kitchen-supply box/cocktail station/breakfast bar with casters that hides beneath the stairs.
Get creative with nooks, a la renowned American woodworker George Nakashima. The architect of this 240-square-foot shoebox apartment
on Manhattan’s Upper West Side took a lesson from Nakashima in designing this serene, wood-clad apartment stocked with shelving and book storage.
In Oakland, California, two designers transformed a 100-year-old barn
into a (very) cozy home of their own by redefining the functionality of walls and windowsills: The extra-deep sills of the first-floor window become a bench on the outside and a shelf on the inside.
A hardworking garden and appreciation for indoor-outdoor living help expand the boundaries of this 704-square-foot home in Portland
. Keeping everything in its place is critical in this tiny home.
Double- or triple-duty rooms are paramount in small homes. Take the example of this Montreal home's
front room (or music room, as well as a play room). “Every space needed to be used efficiently,” the architect notes of the home’s remodel, which eked out a 500 square foot addition with a clever multilevel space on one side. For furniture, go with floating, built-in pieces that allow usable floor space underneath.
In Auckland, New Zealand, a couple braved a minuscule budget to build a perfectly proportioned family home (a modest 1,200 square feet)
. Steal this tip from their kitchen, in which the reflectivity of a brass kitchen island makes it seem to dematerialize.