When you live in a small space – whether it’s an apartment, a dorm room, or just a petite house – you’ve got design challenges aplenty. But not all small spaces are created equal. While many are blessed with natural light or tall ceilings, more often than not, when it comes to their architecture, small spaces don’t do themselves any favors. Be it puny windows or a wonky shaped room, there are certain features that can make your small room feel even tinier than it is.
All that to say, designing a small space is no laughing matter. And while it can feel it can feel like an impossible challenge, with a few simple hacks even the smallest rooms can be completely transformed. To prove it, we’ve put together some small space hacks that will make a small room feel instantly larger, no contractor required.
1. Utilize Vertical Space
One of the keys to designing a small space is to not dwell on how small it is. Instead, embrace what your room has to offer and work with it. One of the best ways to do this is to make use of your vertical space.Shop This Room
With square footage at a premium, vertical space is a great way to add some practical functionality to your room. Wall-mounted shelving maximizes storage without taking up a ton of floor space and can multitask as a place to house books, clothing, storage, and decorative objects – adding both function and personality to your space.
Stylist Tip: One of our favorite small space hacks for your bedroom is to try replacing your nightstand with a bookcase. This will triple your available storage without taking up any more floor space. Not to mention, replacing your nightstand means one less piece of furniture to buy!
2. Stay Organized with Hidden Storage
Clutter instantly makes any space feel claustrophobic – but the effects are especially noticeable in small rooms! Keep clutter at bay with creative storage solutions.
In small spaces, we love furniture that does double duty, like this bench with interior storage. These three-drawer nightstands also offer that extra little bit of storage that a small space needs! And we love woven baskets for good-looking storage solutions that allow us to tuck things out of sight but within reach.
3. Draw the Eye Up
One of the greatest culprits of making your small space look (and feel) smaller? Low ceilings. Luckily, there’s an easy trick for combating this optical illusion. Hang your curtains high! A good 6 inches above the top of your window frame is an easy rule of thumb.
Why does this help? Because when you hang your curtains too low, your room will look smaller and more cramped, but hanging your curtains high will create the illusion that your space is taller and will make your ceilings look instantly higher. Just make sure you get curtains that are long enough, so they still hit the floor when you hang them extra high!
4. Save Floor Space
You don’t want to over-stuff a small space with furniture. But on a practical level, you want to make sure you have what you need to accommodate both day-to-day living and entertaining. The last thing you want is a bunch of extra seating that you never use crowding your small space.Shop This Room
Instead, look for clever ways that you can tuck extra seating into your space that won’t take up valuable floor space. Try tucking a few stools under a console, or placing a storage bench behind your floating sofa. Seating that you can pull out when you need it, and tuck away when you don’t, is a great way to make use of dead space.
5. Go for Clear Furniture
When all else fails, a good old optical illusion is a great way to make your small space seem larger. One of our favorite small space hacks, clear furniture in glass or acrylic is a great way to open up a small space.
These pieces serve their functional purpose, but they have the added benefit of not taking up visual space or adding weight to the room. It’s a small space win-win!
6. Choose Leggy Furniture
Bulky furniture that sits on or close to the floor adds a sense of visual clutter and makes your room feel heavier. On the other hand, furniture perched on elegant, tapered legs makes small spaces feel more open.Shop This Room
Even if they take up the same amount of floor space, furniture on long, spindly legs creates more of a light and airy feeling. And the extra floor space under a couch or bed that’s perched on legs offers a place for easy storage.
Design Historian’s Note: As styles go, Mid-Century Modern furniture is a great choice for small spaces. The furniture from this movement was heavily influenced by the life in smaller, urban spaces, hence the functional and small space-friendly designs.
7. Layer Your Lighting
In a smaller space, you may be tempted to minimize your lighting so you don’t add more to an already small room. But multiple lighting sources are actually your friend in a small space. Don’t be afraid of an overhead light, wall sconces, and a few table lamps. These varied light sources create depth and make a room feel larger. It’s also a great way to soften the lighting if your space doesn’t get a lot of natural light.
8. Add Mirrors
Just like clear furniture, mirrors create an optical illusion that makes small spaces feel more open. They trick the eye into thinking there’s more space and they bounce light around, which helps create an open, bright feel.