The size of your home or apartment doesn’t limit its potential. A small space can have a big impact, as long as you acknowledge your restrictions and use them to your advantage. Putting your restrictions in a positive context can be difficult, but space isn’t always a challenge you need to overcome. If you can learn how to live in small spaces, you’ll save money, reduce waste and avoid clutter. So how do you get started?
Here are six design ideas for homeowners and renters in small living situations. Just because you might feel cramped doesn’t mean you can’t live with comfort and class. From choosing paint colors to making the most of vertical space, a little knowledge can have you living large in no time.
1. Stay Low to the Ground
The measurement of space isn’t entirely horizontal. It’s also vertical. When you select tables, sofas and chairs that sit low to the ground, you make the room feel more spacious, using the available square footage to furnish the space while achieving a visual effect which raises your ceiling.
If you have a smaller room in your home with low ceilings, you should review your options and browse furniture with shorter legs. Of course, it’s important to strike a balance between short and too short. A low couch or bed frame should still be comfortable when you’re trying to relax.
2. Exploit Vertical Space
On the subject of vertical space, you should take full advantage of the walls in your home. Set aside some time to walk through your smaller rooms and search for furniture you could replace with shelves, cabinets or pegboard racks. If these alternatives work within the space, you should consider them. Ditching clunky bookshelves and tabletop clutter will free up floor space and keep you looking organized.
While this suggestion won’t apply to every room in your home, you’ll likely find several opportunities to reduce clutter. When you come across an area you feel could use a change, try to visualize a rearrangement which might work. This is particularly effective in kitchens and bathrooms, when the amount of stuff you keep on your counters can feel overwhelming.
3. Use Color Strategically
The colors you choose for your interior design are crucial to the way it feels. Certain colors will make your rooms feel large and spacious, while other colors will make your rooms feel cramped and claustrophobic. When you understand the properties of colors, you can employ them to incredible effect.
As an example, if you have a small bedroom, you shouldn’t use dark colors. They tend to advance toward the viewer, where light colors tend to recede. With the right palette, you can transform your smaller space, whether you want to expand its size or even change the perception of its shape.
4. Choose Light Furniture
Concerning the use of color, visually light furniture is ideal for smaller rooms. You can fill a space with many more pieces of furniture if they have a soft and airy appearance. By “soft and airy,” think of styles that take advantage of elements like acrylics, hairpin or MCM tapered legs. These tend to be much less heavy and commanding in a small living space.
As you rearrange and update the design of your rooms, do your best to leave plenty of empty space around your furniture. It’ll keep your design choices from crowding visitors when they enter your home, making it feel far more comfortable and accommodating. This also helps you make your living space look much larger than it really is.
5. Add a Statement Piece
This one might not seem obvious advice on how to live in small spaces. Homeowners and renters with a smaller living space will often hesitate to purchase furniture or decor which is “too large.” While this is perfectly reasonable, the addition of a piece which is “too large” isn’t always a poor choice. In some situations, it’s the best choice you can make.
The right statement piece will add a dose of visual interest to a room. A large sofa or armoire can inspire the overall style of the space, serving as the foundation on which you plan the rest of your design. Even if it takes a significant portion of your square footage, its added personality will pull the rest of the room together.
6. Buy Multi-Purpose Items
A resourceful homeowner knows the value of double-duty furniture. When you’re working within the restrictions of a smaller space, every piece of furniture in your home has to serve a purpose, or, better yet, two purposes. Something as simple as a storage bench could prove extremely beneficial.
Among the many commandments of small space living, furnishing your home with multi-purpose items is one of the most important. You can buy under-bed boxes, the aforementioned pegboards, hook racks and other pieces. If it’s convenient, you can even use your dresser as a nightstand.
How to Live in Small Spaces
As you evaluate your home and search for areas of improvement, consider some of the suggestions in this list. You might choose to invest in shelves and cabinets, light furniture, a statement piece or multi-purpose items. These design ideas for how to live in small spaces will keep you — and your guests — comfortable.