Key Furniture Tips When You Live in a Small Space


Decorating and designing a tiny or small space can be challenging. One part that adds to this difficulty is furniture selection. We have to make sure that they fit, are functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Therefore, to help with this very important but tricky task, we’ve listed down a few tips to help you while furniture shopping for your small home. 

Proportionate sizes 

One large couch can throw off the balance of the entire room. For key furniture pieces in small homes, it’s best to go for custom made choices such as small sofas or bookshelves. This way, they fit perfectly into your space without looking awkward. Probably the one thing you can go large on are area rugs – they help define a space; plus, add a sense of grandeur to even the smallest  of spaces

Lower-to-the-ground furniture

When you have lowered furniture design, you create the visual effect of higher ceilings. Popularly seen in studio apartments or small spaces are platform beds and slipper chairs. Despite their low height, they still give off that contemporary and comfortable feel.

Key Furniture Tips When You Live in a Small Space | CUBICOON

Think light, bright and neutral

Small spaces have a greater need for perception of space. While you can go deep and bold for some accent walls, we believe it’s best to go for lighter tones, especially for larger pieces. Your pops of color can come in through accent pieces that complement, not overwhelm.

Leggy furniture to show more floor

With limited floor space, you don’t want to cover every bit of it with furniture and other knick knacks. Instead, opt for furniture with legs. Leggy furniture creates a perception of more ground space. More seen amongst center tables and chairs but there are also choices for shelves and couches. Just remember to keep it uncluttered – no worse thing to take up space unnecessarily than clutter.

Key Furniture Tips When You Live in a Small Space | CUBICOON

Use vertical space

In any small space, tiny home, storage-related problematic areas, making use of vertical space is the magic touch. Open shelves are easy alternatives to have functionally while injecting decor and personality through your displays.

Several other options are wall racks for coats, hanging plants instead of vases, picture frames for decorations and many more. And remember, you can use the vertical space in any room of your home.

Floating furniture and lights

Along a similar vein, without sacrificing functionality, there are some furniture choices where you can go for the floating type instead. Like a hammock instead of a couch or a floating work desk that you can tuck away when not in use. Other common choices are the use of sconces instead of wall lights; and one that will add more visual interest is the use of swing chairs – functional, pretty and comfortable.

Hidden tables and desks

In some small spaces and tiny homes, they up the ante in floating furniture by keeping them hidden. You’ll see a lot of pull-out desks for a makeshift WFH space. There are even ingenious small kitchen designs where the chopping board is hidden under the island. These solutions add a little ‘extra’ in your design that helps make way for things that matter more to you.

Hidden, extendable table in a cabinet for a flexible WFH space

Photo source: Ute Günther wachgeküsst INNENARCHITEKTUR+DESIGN

Use furniture to create zones

No matter how small our homes are, creating the ‘public and private zones’ are important in keeping some semblance of sanity at home. Plus, it helps make the area feel bigger. To do this, there are several brilliant divider solutions for you to explore. The most straightforward way is for your couch or a low console to act as a divider. Or, if you want a more subtle way to do it, use area rugs.

Key Furniture Tips When You Live in a Small Space | CUBICOON

Double duty furniture 

LIke using vertical walls, another must-have design hack for small spaces is double-duty furniture. Each piece matters, make sure your furniture works in terms of functionality with design, and then some. For this, there are many quick and easy alternatives but here are some of the low-hanging-fruit choices:

  • upholstered ottoman that double as seating and coffee table, sometimes it has hidden storage too
  • platforms beneath your bed for ample storage
  • low stools that can be tucked underneath coffee tables or double as side tables 
Key Furniture Tips When You Live in a Small Space | CUBICOON

Stackable pieces

When space is really hard to come by, select stackable furniture to give you maximum storage with the least amount of footprint. Go for stackable shelves that climb your walls. Or, get stackable chairs that you can put away to one side after a small dinner gathering. To go one step further, have these as decorative pieces too to give them a bit of double duty spin.

Pro tip: this can also mean having trundle beds that slide underneath – perfect for overnight friends and family. 

Three wooden side tables stacked on top of each other in a small living room

Photo source: Refinery29

Acrylic, lucite or glass furniture 

Following the same idea with the point above on leggy furniture, acrylic, glass or lucite materials are very suitable furniture choices for small spaces. They’re functional, aesthetically pleasing and seemingly ‘not there’. They minimize disruption of your visual path thereby maintaining the perception of space and light throughout. 

Key Furniture Tips When You Live in a Small Space | CUBICOON

Photo source: Pexels | Max Vakhtbovych

Lucite side table that seems invisible in a small living room

Photo source: The Spruce | Sophia Reay

Flexible seating

With the smaller furniture and space, most of the time, there’s not enough seating area when you have guests over or if you’re looking for another spot to lounge. Therefore, in small or tiny homes, seating should be more flexible. You can achieve this with the rule-breaking bohemian design style where you have cushions or floor pillows that act as seating and decor and are easily stored away.

Swing chair with a rugs underneath and soft pillows for a flexible seating area

Clean-lined furniture

When you start narrowing down furniture choices, shortlist those pieces with clean lines – straight and minimalist-esque to prevent the room from feeling too full. This style also occupies less space physically and visually.

Key Furniture Tips When You Live in a Small Space | CUBICOON

Stick them to the perimeter

If you’re not using your couch as a divider, we suggest sticking it to the perimeter so they flow seamlessly from the wall to the ground. For some small spaces where you went for a custom made sectional, this point will be very fitting. You remove any wasted space or awkward void and maximize the central space where movement will largely occur.

Large sectional couch on the perimeter of a small living room

Banquette seating 

Similarly, besides the couch, putting furniture at the perimeter also works pretty dining areas through the banquette seating style. This design minimizes space wastage since they’re stitched right to the wall and even maximizes seats at the table when partnered with a round table. Pro tip: you can even add a great amount of storage beneath that whole L-shaped seating area if you wish. 

Banquette seating in a dining room with circular table to maximize seating and eating space

Round table all around

Instead of going for those bulky tables, round dining tables and side tables are the way to go for small spaces. They give you more leg room without taking up additional spaces, chairs hide underneath and there’s more room to go around. It serves a relatively similar function as leggy and floating furniture. Further, round tables soften the sometimes boxy perimeter angles of small spaces or tiny homes.

Key Furniture Tips When You Live in a Small Space | CUBICOON

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Amy Saunders June 15, 2022 - 10:53 pm

I was really impressed with the way you reassured us that furniture with dual functions (such as sofa bed) could significantly make our living area even more spacious and less crowded. I’ll share this information with my sister so she could purchase the perfect items for herself afterwards. Her apartment living room is in dire need of a makeover before her office mate moves into the place next month.

CUBICOON June 22, 2022 - 4:49 pm

Hey Amy! Thanks for this! Yes, double duty pieces are the way to go in small spaces, especially if you can add secret storage spaces underneath a day bed. Show us how your sister’s apartment living room looks after the makeover 😉

Emily August 17, 2022 - 9:54 am

Adding a murphy bed with a couch helped me double my small space as a bed and a living space. It is amazing what functional furniture can do.


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