Thursday, February 23, 2012

From House to Home: Decorating Small Spaces

 I often get asked by friends to help them decorate a small apartment or home-  It can be tough!  I have experienced this design dilemma first hand: Living 2 years in a college sorority house and then a couple apartments with less than 700 square feet will drive you crazy if you don't learn how to design properly! This picture was taken at one of those tiny apartments- this dresser served as book storage, underwear drawer, medicine cabinet, and about a million other things.

My first tip is to decorate with armless furniture.  This keeps a space feeling open and continuous.  No harsh lines separate a couch or chair from the rest of the open room and give the illusion of more space.

See how this armless couch helps create an unfettered space and doesn't prevent traffic flow?  You can approach the couch from either side.  I love it!

In a small apartment or house, storage space is imperative.  Often closets are rather small and there isn't much built-in shelving.  So what's a decorista to do?  

Make your own storage, of course! Utilize a book shelf or cabinet already in your home. Then, hang curtains to hide the mess! To create mini curtains like the ones shown in the image above, buy an adjustable curtain rod and use curtain valances to add a pretty touch.  Curtains are ideal because they provide easy access to your items and can be dressed in whatever fabric you like. 

Another space-saving trick is to invest in furniture with built-in storage. There are many furniture pieces that open up to provide storage for blankets, magazines, books, and the like.
  This trellis-patterned ottoman does just that.

Your bed can also provide storage space underneath-  and even inside!

In a restricted apartment or home, every inch of space must be used.  But that doesn't mean it can't be pretty!  Adding a few floor cushions underneath your coffee table will provide guests with additional seating.

The last trick I am going to share today to maximize a small floor plan is to utilize dead space.  Dead space is space created by furniture blocks- i.e. the back of a couch in the middle of a room.  In this room, the glass console provides additional light and decor accents for the dead space created by the couch.

We want to use every last square inch of our home, which often means a piece of furniture should serve multiple purposes.  For instance, this glass console serves as a desk by sliding a chair underneath.  If entertaining, simply move the chair to a wall for additional seating and use the desk/console as a buffet.


Do you have a favorite trick to optimize living space? Do share!
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