Less is More: Decorating Tips for Small Spaces

In any home, especially a small one, every inch of free space counts. Small shelves, tiny niches, and other unique spaces can help accent a home in a tasteful, uncluttered way. By using small spaces wisely and leaving  larger areas open, the living space will feel larger.

You may think because a room is smaller, large furniture pieces are out of the question. Not true! Oversized furniture can give small rooms a cozy inviting feeling. Of course the layout and size of a room will still determine how many pieces can fit comfortably.

The same applies to accessories; it’s better to have a few large dramatic pieces than a lot of small items, which tend to turn into clutter and dust collectors.  Sometimes a small vase, flower arrangement, or even a candle hidden in an angled corner can bring more of an accent to a room than a huge arrangement on the living room table. This difference in your use of space can help ensure that your home looks cozy without feeling cramped or overdone.

Size and Function

Small rooms pack more punch when the furniture and accessories are not only properly sized, but multifunctional. For example, ottomans can work as coffee tables, desks, or end tables. Suppose you need to transform a small study into a multipurpose space.  Adding a sleeper sofa easily creates a guest room.  An entertainment center or armoire stores the TV and other electronics.  A compact desk with a hutch becomes an efficient office area.

Interesting lighting, glass, and mirrors create a spatial effect in a room.  These fixtures provide focal points that de-emphasize its size. It’s always good to have three different sources of lighting in the room, whether it’s a window, an up-lit screen or a floor lamp. Layering lighting elements gives rooms the feeling of depth. Adjustable lighting, whether it’s a table lamp or track lighting, also helps make small spaces look larger.

Storage can be another issue in a smaller space – there just never seems to be enough. If you’re buying new furniture or deciding which pieces to bring from your current home, look for ones that can perform double duty.

Place an armoire intended for the bedroom in the living room. It’s the perfect storage place for magazines, extra bedding, kitchen linens, or any of those pesky little things you just can’t seem to find a place for.

A small floor cabinet can become an end table.  Most of these come with drawers or shelves.

Plastic storage boxes come in a variety of sizes and colors and are inexpensive. They can be stacked in a closet or cabinet or even into drawers. Baskets and hampers are another useful organizational option.

Kids’ rooms are always in need of extra places for all their treasures. Colorful plastic milk crates are a perfect kid-friendly solution. If you are planning on stacking the crates and have small children, it would be beneficial to secure them to the wall.

Plastic shelving units are good for mounting on the backs of doors or on the wall in closets. These come in handy in the kitchen for holding extra soda bottles, canned goods, paper towels, etc.

Don’t forget that moving into or decorating a small space can be challenging, but with a little planning it can be just as beautiful as any large room in a large house or apartment.

Quick Tips

For a multi-tasking coffee table, look for one with a flip top or with shelves underneath, or substitute it with a cedar chest or a trunk.

Mirrors and light-colored art prints increase the light, opening up small rooms and making them feel more welcoming.

Decorative stacking boxes or even old suitcases not only provide great storage, they’re also terrific accessories.



Randi K.
4th Generation Family Member