Our living space is where we spend most of our time. Where we rest our head after a long winding day and do most of the things that make us happy. Simply put, it’s home. Even if the place you’re currently living in is small, it can still be a comfortable one you’ll learn to love.
Whether you’re looking to downsize or live in a smaller-than-average apartment, small spaces can offer unique challenges and exciting possibilities. There are plenty of ingenious ways to make your space look and feel more spacious, organized, and inviting.
To help you do just that, we gathered 10 tips designed to elevate your space.
1. Edit your belongings
The first and most important step in maintaining a smaller space is to reduce unnecessary clutter. Small space living is a good opportunity to reevaluate your belongings and get rid of the non-essentials. Holding on to unnecessary things can only make your small space more cluttered and untidy.
Remember, less is more.
It’s best not to overcrowd and choose only pieces that you love. In the spirit of Konmari, let go of things that do not spark joy to make space for what really matters. So, say goodbye to things you’ve hoarded over the years and say hello to valuable space freed up.
Photo source: Unsplash | Dane Deaner
2. Go for space saving furniture
Maximizing small spaces means being extra resourceful about how you use your furniture to create hidden storage. Every piece needs to hold its weight.
Foldable tables, day beds, and convertible sofas are incredibly versatile and can free up space. Multi-storage beds and ottomans also offer another level of storage that you can use to organize your things.
Space-saving techniques can also be extended through creative usage. Give your furniture double duty like using your coffee table as your work table or your chair as a side table to make every piece count.
Photo source: Pexels | Tatiana Syrikova
3. Use mirrors
There’s a reason why this is the oldest trick in the book.
Mirrors bounce light which can make the room appear bigger and brighter. It can also reflect which lengthens the space of the room. Place a large mirror opposite your largest window to bounce light to your room. You can also use it as door paneling or wall paneling to make any room feel more spacious.
Best yet, you do not need to limit yourself to just one mirror. Cover an entire wall with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and double your space. Or go towards the artsy route and make a gallery wall full of decorative mirrors.
Photo source: Pexels | Rachel Claire
4. Use color to your advantage
Color can influence your mood and perception.
Keeping a toned-down color palette can make your space look light and calm. But do not fret. On top of that, you can use throws and some pillows to bring a pop of color to your room. Veer away from large prints and loud patterns which might make your space appear smaller.
Colors can also draw attention. For example, creating an accent wall can make a part of the room stand out more.
Not only that, colors can be used to add depth to a room by using dark and light shades that complement each other. The dark hues can create a sense of depth while helping the lighter ones appear more expansive.
Photo source: Unsplash | Sidekix Media
5. Simplicity is key
Use minimalist and classic home decor to keep your room simple and clean, and have a pleasant, orderly feel.
Instead of contrasting prints, use muted colors like pastels or neutrals to keep your space calming to the eyes. Forego bulky pieces and instead go for Scandinavian and Korean home decor – which, as a matter of fact, is very much on-trend right now.
If this is not the look that you’re vying for, you can try applying zen design principles to your home to achieve that simplistic yet elegant look.
Photo source: Unsplash | Trend
6. Incorporate good lighting
Lighting can be a great way to expand your living space.
Beautiful lighting and other interesting light fixtures can draw the eyes upward and create an illusion of space. Incorporating little pockets of light throughout different parts of your space also creates more depth in your home.
Use recessed lighting like modern wall lights or floor lamps to make small areas look larger and accentuate a certain area in your space.
Photo source: Pexels | Ksenia Chernaya
7. Think vertical and use your walls
Maximizing vertical space is another well-used trick in the book to ‘enlarge’ small spaces.
In a similar vein to light tricks, your walls are an extension of your floor space and if used efficiently, they can give you a lot of room to play with. Use floating shelves and even a floor-to-ceiling shelf to add visual interest and draw the eyes all the way to the top. This can make the room appear larger and give you interesting new opportunities to decorate your space.
Another idea is to mount your television set to regain extra (and necessary) floor space and simultaneous save on counter space.
Photo source: Unsplash | Jason Leung
8. Go ‘leggy’ with furniture
Choose furniture that doesn’t obstruct views of the floor and consumes very little visual space.
Go for tall chairs and furniture with elevated legs that appear lighter compared to boxy upholstered pieces. Bar stools, armless chairs, wire mesh chairs, tables made in glass or acrylic, and sofas with legs are good ways to start.
Photo source : Unsplash | Katja Rooke
9. Define activity areas
Area rugs are a great alternative to spruce up your space and create an illusion of more space.
Now, isn’t that just what you need. This is especially useful for studio apartments or open-plan layouts to help create a clear designation of otherwise blending areas. It’s a great way to create a room within a room that will still feel put together.
In a small apartment, do not make the mistake of going for small rugs – the visual element may shrink in line with it. Instead, do not be afraid to choose a large rug to instill the concept of grandeur that can raise the feel and look of your space.
Photo source: Unsplash | Frances Tosolini
10. Leave empty spaces
Although this might be hard, it is equally important.
You don’t need to fill every corner of your home with furniture and décor.
It’s essential to leave empty spaces where you can easily move around without bumping into things. Position your pieces to ensure a clear pathway and make it easier to pass through unhindered. The open space will allow you to move freely and make your space appear larger because it is not a cluttered mess (remember point #1).
Photo source: Unsplash | Cat Han
When it comes to living in a small space, it would be best to practice minimalism and being more intentional about what you have and plan to have. Get rid of excess clutter and make space for what really matters.
At the end of the day, smart design, living simply, and being intentional is how you make the most of your smaller-than-average apartment.
By choosing quality over quantity, you start to curate and design in a way that serves your needs. When you try these things out, you’ll find that you can have an active role in shaping your surroundings; and living spaces, big or small, are sanctuaries that have the potential to comfort, not confine.