A Designer Guide To Styling Small Spaces

A Designer Guide To Styling Small Spaces

Small space bedroom designed by Stewart Schafer

Whether you live by the “less is more” mindset or are living in a small house or apartment and want to switch up the look and feel of your current atmosphere, it can be challenging to personalize and decorate a small space.

It’s easy to feel like you don’t have many options when trying to conceptualize how you can incorporate all of your furniture and have enough space to add style and flair with design elements. That’s why we are here to share with you that, when you work with the residential interior design team at Stewart-Schafer, you have many options.

Small Space Design Solutions

As an interior design team based out of New York, we thrive on small space design challenges. Coming up with clever solutions to ensuring a tiny area of your home is maximized to its fullest potential is our bread and butter, and part of what makes residential interior design so rewarding.

Regardless of whether you live in a tiny Manhattan apartment or cozy home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, today we’re sharing designer tips and tricks to help bring depth and style to your home’s smallest spaces.

Let’s get into it.

These small space design ideas will make your studio apartment or tiny room feel so much larger, while maintaining your individual sense of style.

Incorporate Reflective Materials

When you choose to incorporate high-shine materials that are reflective, light in the room bounces off them and generally makes for an airer space. Try using white lacquered walls or glossy tiles in your tiny kitchen!

Mirrors Are Your Friend

If you’re not blessed with an abundance of natural light, mirrors can help you make the most of what you do have by reflecting it around the room. Mirrors are an interior designer's best friend in helping to make a space feel bigger, after all giving the illusion of a few more square feet can have a huge impact on how a room feels. Consider lining a wall with a large mirror or creating a gallery wall of mirrors that are different sizes and shapes, whether it’s in a bathroom or living space, using multiple mirrors in the right scale and proportions will enhance your tiny space and really work to open it up.

Put a Spotlight on Lighting

It’s no secret that good lighting will make or break any room–big or small. When you’re working with a small space, make sure to take care in selecting and installing strong lighting sources so that the space doesn’t end up feeling dark or smaller than it really is. It’s often best to brighten up an entire tiny home or apartment by adding plenty of light sources in every room, from the kitchen to the bedroom! It’s also an opportunity to get creative with the light fixtures you choose, whether it’s an elegant flush mounted light or depending on the height of your ceilings, a combination of sconces and table lamps, that work together to ultimately create a cozy but bright atmosphere.

Minimalism: Simple Principles for Getting Started

It’s fair to say that minimalism in interior design is a relatively new design trend, which thanks to designers and their Netflix series, (special shoutout to Marie Kondo) is gaining popularity worldwide. At its core, minimalism aims to create artistic, efficient and functional spaces by using the fewest design elements. For these reasons, using principles of minimalist design are extremely effective when designing small spaces.

And contrary to popular belief, minimalist interior design does not mean solely designing with neutral colours and one piece of furniture.

Let’s review a few tactics that borrow from minimalist design principles and will be super helpful when it comes to designing your small space.

Use Your Wall Space

Though it may sound counterintuitive, covering a wall floor-to-ceiling with cabinets or artworks can make a small space feel larger. For example, decorating with an assortment of framed artworks, and including something unique to your style like perhaps, an overscaled watch clock, actually works to draw the eye up, making even a 400-square-foot studio feel more expansive.

In leveraging your wall space to decorate or take on more of a functional approach, you’ll be taking the pressure off the ground of your space, which leads us to the next key design tip.

Keep Your Floor Clear

Of course you need to make space for the essentials in your small space, but let’s be real, even the most balanced and elegantly decorated small room doesn’t work if you can’t walk in it. Try floating pieces, such as shelves and nightstands, to keep the ground clear of obstacles and create space for extra storage beneath a bed or couch if needed. And while you’re focused on maximizing your wall space with floating pieces…

Consider Folding Pieces

You may need a desk and a dining table, but do you really need both of them 24-7? It may seem like a hassle but there are so many furnishings and room elements that can be easily installed to fold up when not in use, while maintaining a high quality finish to the room.

Another advantage of folding pieces is the natural ability they provide in avoiding clutter, suddenly the stacks of mail and work that inevitably pile up on these surfaces no longer have a permanent spot!

And while you’re at it…

Shrink Your Dining Table

Small round tables aren't just for breakfast nooks. Ditch the large traditional dining table and give yourself some extra space by opting for a small and chic round dining table instead.

And while we’re on the topic of efficiency…

Pick a Pocket Door

Pocket doors are extremely effective and can elevate any small space. When combined with glass windows, they allow for shared light to flow throughout the space while also creating a sense of separation in a streamlined fashion. And when you don’t need that sense of separation, they slide right into the wall when not being used, taking up much less space than swinging doors!

And last but certainly not least.

Lower Your Furniture, Not Your Standards

Whether your ceilings are short or sky-high, decorating your small living area with lower furniture pieces will allow it to feel more spacious. For a more dramatic impact, add in some high shelves or tall plants to exaggerate the distance in-between pieces.

We want to make it clear that designing a small space definitely comes with challenges and some compromises, but that does not mean you need to compromise on style and flair.

With a variety of clients, our interior designers at Stewart-Schafer have a wealth of experience in styling small spaces. We’d love to help bring your vision for your space to life and since we offer no-obligation, 30 minute design consultations, why not give us a call today?  

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