Decorating a Small Space
Whether it’s one room or your entire home, small space living doesn’t need to be limiting. In fact, it can encourage you to be more resourceful and thoughtful with your decorating!
Let’s check out a few perks of having a small space or home (and then we’ll get into the good stuff).
Small Space Perk #1
It’s easier to make an IMPACT!
Decorating a big space can cost big money as there’s more square footage to consider. A smaller footprint means that you can make a bigger impact with colour/texture.
Read more: The 12 Best Headboards Under $500
In the small guest bedroom above, my client wrapped canvas boards in a graphic fabric and continued that scheme on the bed linens. Good bang-for-buck if you ask me (non street-corner style).
While the gorgeous green cabinets in the above photo would have been a LOT for an entire kitchen, it was an easy and exciting choice in the small powder room above!
See this entire comfortable contemporary home here
In the above bathroom, the wallpaper cost was kept at a dull roar due to the limited wall space. If this was a larger room it would have been quelle mucho moula (well, it kind of was anyway…BUT IT LOOKS COOL!)
Small Space Perk #2
You can achieve any level of intimacy
Whether you’re going for cozy and comfy or bright and airy, small spaces allow you the breathing room to create any type of mood.
A small room is a great place for an intimate, dark colour (SW Anonymous), as shown in the bathroom below (because people love getting intimate in bathrooms, right?)
Small Space Perk #3
You’ll save money…maybe
The smaller the space, the less money you will spend on flooring products, countertops, window coverings etc…you can then spend SMART money where it counts!
While the tile above wasn’t cheap, because it was a smaller space, the cost was MORE than manageable.
Same goes with the tile in this bathroom niche (our last home).
See the before and after photos here
I couldn’t afford to do this gorgeous tile EVERYwhere (nor would I anyway), but it adds just the right touch and I only needed 7 sq ft!
Small Space Perk #4
You have the opportunity to go a little crazy
(I fully embrace this idea…daily)
Small spaces have a high level of forgiveness when it comes to quirky. You might not consider painting a large room saucy red or deep indigo, however, a small space feels like much less of a commitment and allows you the opportunity to inject personality and pizzaz without it appearing ‘larger than life’.
Now that we have talked about how awesome small spaces are, let’s get to some ideas that will bring your small space to its fullest potential!
BUT! Before you read these tips below you’ll want to make a big decision. Bottle or box. Just joking. Kind of. Seriously though, you need to choose one of the following statements:
1. I want my space to look bigger
2. I want to embrace my small space
And before we get started, I know that some of these photos aren’t small rooms, but I’m including them to support the ideas I have for you! I do rely 100% on my E-design and local client photos, so humour the Ginger 😉
Tips and Ideas for Decorating Your Small Space
Using mirrors to make a space look bigger
Mirrors act like windows by spreading natural and artificial light around the room. This will make the room appear bigger and brighter, especially if they reflect a light fixture like the one below (oh, I have some TALENTED clients…)
Paint Colour: SW Agreeable Gray
Mirrors can also lower the contrast against your walls whereas artwork can raise the contrast – making the space look smaller.
Using mirrors to embrace your small space:
Mirrors are great in any room – regardless of size. They add style, sheen and give your eyes a break in a room that has a lot of other things going on in it.
In a small space use a mirror to reflect something you like to look at (ie: window/fireplace/yourself…) If you have a lot of artwork in the room, mirrors will give your eyes a visual break without leaving a blank wall space.
Mirrors are especially great at the end of long hallways or in narrow entryways
Try not to reflect a doorway (bad Feng Shui)
- The center of your mirror (if not hanging above anything) should be hung approx. 62″ from the floor
Draperies and Blinds
Using drapes to make a small space look bigger
Use draperies/blinds that are the same colour (give or take a few tones) as your wall colour.
If you decide to contrast or jazz up your window dressings without blending them into your wall colour, your room will feel smaller as you will have raised the contrast level.
High contrast feels smaller. Low contrast feels bigger.
Using drapes to embrace your small space
Use your draperies or blinds as a way to inject an accent colour or a pattern into the space.
See my quick bedroom refab here
Choosing a colour that is different from your paint colour will define your window coverings from your wall space which will help your room feel cozy, comfy and decoratively layered.
Main Furniture Pieces
Using furniture to make your small space feel larger
While accent chairs/tables/etc…can add visual interest, you’ll want your main pieces to either a) be visual extensions of your floor or b) visual extensions of your wall colour. This means that if you have oatmeal coloured carpet, you’ll want your couch to be in the cream/tan/brown range. If you have cream paint on your walls, you’ll want your couch to be white/cream/off-white. This keeps things low contrast which helps to make a space look larger.
The above photo is low contrast, while still having visual interest and texture to keep it interesting!
Below, this simple tone-on-tone palette keeps things soft and subtle.
Using furniture to embrace your small space
Use your furniture as an opportunity to add visual interest with colour and/or pattern.
You HAVE to check out the rest of this room!
If you’ve always wanted a red couch or a saucy eggplant coloured loveseat then here’s your big chance! These pieces will add to the cozy and comfy factor while adding personality and pop!
Read more: The 24 Best Affordable Accent Chairs
Click on the above image to view available packages!
Using wood to make your small space feel larger
Be consistent with your wood (I’m always saying this to Tim…). In a small space that you want to look larger (and they ALLL want it to look bigger), you’ll want to stick to 1 wood colour. This includes wood/laminate if you have it. While you can vary it subtly from tone-to-tone, you’ll want to stay pretty darned consistent and stay away from a mix of stains/woods.
LOVE this living room. The gorgeous leather couch and navy blue chair add interest, which is made possible by the simplicity of the wood tones.
Using wood to embrace your small space
Don’t be afraid to have 2 or 3 different kinds of wood within the space, however, keep in mind the undertones of the wood when coordinating. You can have different woods with different grains and depths, but try not to get too many different ‘undertones’ (ie: red/yellow/orange/purple).
My clients (above and below) did a beautiful job of coordinating their tones of various wood tones.
A little bit of info first…
Cool colours recede, warm colours advance. Light colours recede, dark colours advance. This means that if you want your small space to feel larger, you might want to consider a light and cool colour so that visually you are pushing the walls out 2 times.
In this next photo, my client (a super long-time fave) used a soft cool colour on the walls, but then added texture with the linens/art and contrast with the furniture to add visual interest!
See the whole project here: An Autumn-Inspired Farmhouse Home
Mind you, I’m a big fan of using paint to a) make a visual statement and b) save MONEY HONEY. The above dining room is DROOL worthy with its dark cool paint colour. Even though cool colours recede, adding DEPTH brings them back in!
Paint is truly the least expensive way to add interest to your space and the best way to drive your husband crazy (or maybe it’s just mine…) so don’t underestimate the visual value of an awesome colour – especially in a small space!
And all of that being said, paint colours are a whole different ball game, so I’m going to refer you to this post which specifies exactly how to use colour to change your space!
Read more: How to Make a Room Feel Bigger or Smaller Using Paint Colour
Check out my affordable and FUN Edesign and Online Paint Consulting packages!
What is the darker paint color in the above dining room with coffered ceilings? Thanks
Hi Sarah, thank you for asking, that is SW Wall Street!
What white should I use in a beach house? The floors are espresso. Open floor plan. I will be painting the entire house, except bathrooms the same color white. The house is bright, rooms are smaller.
With white, it can depend on the other finishes in the room, ie: the type of white in the countertop or furnishings (warm white/stark white/etc…). Off the top of my head, I’d check out BM Simply White and SW Pure White. If you want something softer, BM White Dove 🙂