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You won’t ever feel claustrophobic again.
When you live in a small house or apartment, fitting in everything you need is difficult. Trying to fit everything and making it look cute is an even bigger challenge, but that’s what makes small space design so fun: Coming up with clever solutions to those obstacles makes it all the more rewarding in the end. Whether you live in a studio apartment or want to get more out of a tiny room in a small house, these small space design ideas will make it feel so much larger while maintaining style.
Opt for white lacquered walls and glossy tiles, as designer Brian Patrick Flynn did here. The high-shine materials are reflective and will generate the same maximizing effect that a mirror will, bouncing light and making for a generally airer space.
SHOP TILES Zellige Tiles, $2
Pocket doors with glass windows allow for shared light to flow throughout the space while also creating separation. And even better, they slide right into the wall when not being used, taking up much less space than swinging doors.
SHOP DOORS IKEA Sliding Doors, $180
When space is limited and you don’t want to shop for new, bulky furniture, use a chair as a side table and install wall sconces to save surface space. A cheerful color, like this pale turquoise hue, is also a good idea to set a happy mood in a tiny room.
SHOP SCONCES Arc Mid-Century Sconce, $79
Small round tables aren’t just for breakfast nooks. Ditch the giant dining table and give yourself some extra space by opting for a small, round dining table instead.
SHOP TABLES Marble Dining Table, $999
Add a day bed and watch your bedroom double in size. If you don’t have a designated guest room, this could also come in handy in your living room.
SHOP BEDS Monarch Hill Daybed, $672
Yes, even on the fridge—no, especially—your fridge and other bulky appliances. Since there’s limited space for extras and less room to pile in all your favorite items, you’ll need to beautify everything. Here, Anthony Dunning turned a regular old refrigerator into a design opportunity by dressing it up in removable wallpaper.
SHOP REMOVEABLE WALLPAPER Peel and Stick Paper, $150
A media console is the biggest space waster in a small living room. Mount your TV on the wall or above a fireplace and you’ll regain necessary floor space.
SHOP WALL MOUNTS TV Wall Mount, $30
Or, even better, hide it! Whether inside of a credenza or disguised as artwork, this design trick is perfect for anyone whose living room is always their family room, dining room, and/or more.
SHOP MEDIA CABINETS TV Stand, $300
Pieces that can serve multiple purposes are key: Find a table that can function as a desk and dining table, get a deep sofa that can double as a guest bed, or buy cubes that serve as a coffee table and bonus seats when guests are over.
SHOP SEATING Storage Ottoman, $315
Every single inch counts in a small house, so be sure to take full advantage of architectural quirks—this way, they’ll actually become your favorite thing about the space. That radiator by your window? Invest in a pretty radiator cover and customize a cushion so you can use it as a window nook to read and relax in. (And you’ll be able to forgo the bulky couch that’ll take up half the studio!) Pile on the pillows and add a pendant light for tasks, as Jae Joo did here.
SHOP RADIATOR COVERS Radiator Cover, $255
It’s the oldest design trick in the book: Mirrors will make your space feel larger, lighter, and airier. And a fun convex one like this adds a lot of personality without taking up a ton of space.
SHOP MIRRORS Mirror Plates, $16
Choose furnishings that offer maximum functionality in minimal square footage. For example, instead of an end bench, opt for a desk with a small side chair. You can use it for work, getting ready, and more.
SHOP DESKS Writing Desk, $68
If your kitchen doesn’t have an island and you don’t have a living room that’s separate from the kitchen, don’t give up on making it functional. Opt for a tall wooden table that can provide some extra counter space for cooking and as a two-top dining table. Use this one in a kitchen by Corinne Mathern Studio as your blueprint.
BUY SMALL ISLANDS Counter Table, $125
Calm, even-toned rooms fool the eye into thinking they’re more spacious than they are. Make sure to add a variety of textures to keep the space from falling flat.
SHOP PILLOWS Velvet Pillow, $6
Designer David Kaihoi used some seriously smart storage solutions to make his New York City apartment work harder—including creating this compact laundry “room” in his closet. That way, when he’s not doing laundry, he can close the door on these eyesore appliances.
SHOP LAUNDRY MACHINES Washer and Dryer Unit, $1259
Bespoke built-ins, storage nooks, and furniture tailored to your exact needs can utilize every available sliver of space. When they’re part of the walls, you don’t lose nearly as much valuable square footage. And extra storage under a bench helps, too.
SHOP BENCHES Storage Bench, $449
In interior designer Max Sinsteden’s studio, he made his sleep zone feel separate from the rest of the room by hanging a super high curtain and then suspending a floating painting to break it off even more. “I hate seeing a bed from the front door, so I added a curtain to partition that space. When you close it, you honestly feel like you’re in a Parisian hotel,” he tells us. This means you can entertain, too, without feeling like everyone’s hanging out in your bedroom. “A small space doesn’t hamper me from inviting 50 people over.”
SHOP CEILING TRACKS Ceiling Track, $90
Even a windowsill can provide extra storage space for decor, lighting, and other essentials when there’s no room for an extra table.
SHOP SHELVES Floating Shelf, $20
Think you have no room for an office? Think again. A mounted wall desk takes up way less room—and you can even mount shelves above it for even more storage space. Designer Tariq Dixon transformed an unused corner by installing a wall-mounted desk.
SHOP DESKS Floating Desk, $65
Opt for extra seating that can fold up and be super compact so you can store it away while the guests aren’t over. A stool like this one in a living room designed by Hecker Guthrie is perfect.
SHOP STOOLS Royal Design Folding Stool, $136
It may seem counterintuitive, but outfitting a small space with just a few large-scale pieces (rather than a mishmash of pint-size furniture) can actually make it feel grander. Resist the urge to push all of your furniture up against the walls. If you create space behind the furniture, it makes the room look wider than it is.
SHOP BED FRAMES Canopy Bed, $1,299
It’s easy to overlook a room when it’s super tiny, especially because there simply isn’t enough useable space for décor. But it’s definitely possible—and well worth it—to elevate and personalize these little rooms. Take this powder room in Ailana Michelle Ralph’s home, for example. With a light blush pink wall color and a surrounding gallery of eclectic artwork, the small room packs a lot of punch.
SHOP FRAMES Gilt Frame, $39
Exploit the often under-utilized space between the tops of furniture and a room’s ceiling with hanging or high-mounted elements. Take bookcases and cabinets all the way up—it’ll make the room feel higher.
SHOP CABINETS Kitchen Cabinets, $489
Though the under-the-sink storage can be great, larger vanities with a lot of drawers and cabinets can end up looking oversized and awkward in small spaces. In this bathroom designed by Studio DB, the dainty marble vanity has plenty of surface space and the extra towel tracks and hooks take care of the storage needs.
SHOP TOWEL BARS Towel Bar, $50
Tear down walls, enlarge windows, or swap solid doors for glass to open up views and connect adjacent spaces.
SHOP HARDWARE Glass Door Sliding Track, $200
Good lighting will make or break any room–big or small. Make sure to especially install good lighting in smaller, cramped spaces like a bathroom with a tiny window, as shown in this gorgeous space.
SHOP LIGHTS Mount Ceiling Light, $23
You don’t have to display everything. After all, nothing makes a room feel smaller than clutter.
SHOP SHELVES White Shelf, $397