Maximum Style for Small Spaces

Many folks have or are planning to downsize to smaller spaces that are easier to manage, fit better with their lifestyle, and to be able to ‘lock and leave’ when the urge to travel strikes. While smaller spaces simplify our living situations, they can present a challenge in terms of how to make them comfortable and livable as well as stylish. Consider these simple ‘rules of thumb’ to create maximum style in your homes and keep your spaces appearing bright, spacious and open.


Use multi-function furniture in your spaces:

  • Murphy Bed that can fold up to the wall when not needed means a spare bedroom can be a home office or den when you don’t have visitors
  • A stool or ottoman can be used as additional seating or an occasional table in living spaces
  • Bench seating built into an alcove or along a wall can provide extra seating in the eating area
  • Open legs on occasional tables and raised legs on sofas and chairs create a visual openness that makes a space appear larger

Open Leg Furniture Erika WittliebOpen Legs Make a Space Appear More Spacious (Erika Wittlieb)

Furniture Placement

When you are decorating a smaller space, do not shy away from a few simple large pieces of furniture with plain upholstery. These will have a bigger impact and make a statement in your space, whereas several smaller pieces clutter the room and busy patterns create too much visual busy-ness.

  • Place furniture 3-4” away from the wall to create the illusion of spaciousness
  • Furniture at an angle will encourage the eye to travel along the diagonal which is the longest ‘line’ in the room

1000 Old Mill Rd 1582Angled Furniture Creates a Feeling of Spaciousness (Simply Swank Decor)


Throw out the belief that lights colours are best for small spaces!

  • Darker shades create a feeling of coziness (rich brown, taupe or soft yellow) and add a touch of drama to your spaces (cranberry red, dark gray)
  • Paint trim and doors in a shade of white
  • Keep accessories lighter in terms of colour, texture and the number you use.
  • Minimize the total number of colours and patterns you use in your space to ensure a balanced, calm space and not create too much visual clutter and chaos.

Bedroom Dark Colours Add Drama Olichel AdamovichDark Colours Add Warmth and Drama (Olichel Adamovich)

Reflective or Clear Materials

  • Clear or reflective materials greatly increase the sense of space in a room and make it appear and feel more open and airy
  • Glass or acrylic enable light to move throughout the space making it feel roomier
  • Mirrors (the jewels of a room) reflect light and make your space feel brighter and more alive


  • Use curtains made of a sheer fabric
  • Hang draperies close to the ceiling and extend them to the floor to bring height to and visually enlarge rooms
  • If you want to add some pattern and texture, use of fabrics with a simple and soft pattern such as a floral, stripes, vines or an open geometric pattern for draperies and throw cushions

Floral FabricLight Fabrics Keep a Room Airy


Light is your best ally in making a small space feel bigger and more spacious.

  • If you have natural light available in the space open the draperies to their fullest extent and let the light in!
  • If the natural light is insufficient or not available, provide lots of artificial light from lamps and ceiling fixtures and use blue based LED bulbs which are more efficient at converting energy into light and provide better light distribution

Enjoy updating and decorating your smaller spaces and be sure to share your pics and ideas!

Submitted by Janet Armstrong, Simply Swank Decor 
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