finishing touches

Live Large in a Small Space

libraryGood things come in small packages. The age-old adage applies as much to home design and decorating as it does to many other treasures in life. Limited size need not require style sacrifices. On the contrary: A carefully curated small space can be a tiny-but-mighty style powerhouse.

Think vertical
Your room may be small, but is it tall? Extending shelves to the ceiling will both draw the eye up and provide more storage space. Take advantage of unused wall space for a decorative display or to store rarely used items. Vertical storage also helps expand floor space. Fit areas above doors and windows with display cubes or floating shelves and find a space to store cookbooks in a tiny kitchen or towels in a bathroom.

Multifunction is a must
Multifunctional furniture is a clever route to go if your mission is to maximize space and minimize clutter. A coffee table that can also be used as a footstool and flips open for much-needed storage is a smart, three-in-one small-space solution. Sofa beds, daybeds and sectionals can double as seating and overnight guest space, and benches and tables with hidden drawers and cupboards are just the thing for storing things like blankets, pillows and books.
Make storage a way of life
Clutter creates visual chaos which can make a small space seem cramped, so invest in stylish storage solutions for your bric-a-brac. Get creative: wicker or leather baskets, or cloth-covered boxes, are a simple, inexpensive way to stash your stuff out of sight.

floating bookcaseSimple traditional bookshelves or modular cube units are a boon to small spaces thanks to their versatility. Use them to house technology, like computers, audio and video equipment; in kids' rooms, they can keep everything from Dr. Seuss classics to an entire teddy bear clan contained. And of course, use shelf space to stylishly display photographs, art and decorative objects throughout your home.

Customized built-ins are another option-bookshelves, banquettes-that can help make full use of odd corners and nooks.

Create wow with windows

Make small windows appear larger by installing curtain rods near the ceiling and hanging drapes high. For a wall with two or more small windows, fit the drapery across them all as if they were one picture window. The effect, especially when the drapes are closed, can be grand and dramatic. And avoid heavy window coverings that block light. Instead, opt for sheer, diaphanous fabrics that let the sun shine in.

Mirror, mirror
Utilize the magic of mirrors to open up a space and bring in light. Position mirrors so they reflect windows, creating the illusion of extended outdoor space. It may sound counterintuitive, but large-scale styles work well in small spaces, so invest in the largest size mirror that fits your budget. Or create a gallery-style grouping of smaller mirrors to create the same effect. A full mirror-tiled accent wall is another option for more adventuresome, glamour-loving, décor enthusiasts.

staircase bookshelvesEmploy the power of paint
Use paint strategically to create the illusion of space. Think of your home as a whole and establish a monochromatic or cohesive colour palette that blends seamlessly from room to room. Paint mouldings and doors the same throughout the home. To create a focal point in one room, consider a shade a few tints deeper than the main colour you've chosen for an accent wall. If you've got a small but open footprint, that trick can also help define a living space within the larger volume: a sitting area, for example, off the dining space.

Play with scale

Unification is key: Regardless of which size of furniture you select, be sure that all of your pieces are of a similar scale. Remember: Oversized pieces can crowd a room, but don't go tiny either. Selecting low profile pieces and furniture without solid legs also works to keep a room's atmosphere open and expansive.

Edit, edit, edit
Even with the best and most creative ideas, small space decorating requires discipline. There's simply no room for objects that you don't love or that don't function well. Our advice: Every season, review the works and eliminate. Follow the rule: For every new thing added, one old thing must be tossed.

Regardless of your home's square footage, smart decorating strategies can make even the smallest floorplans seem spacious. Investing in smart storage and the right furniture-and applying these few clever design tricks-can give diminutive dimensions dynamite style.