12 Design Ideas to Maximise a Small Space

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When living in a small house or apartment, decorating can feel like an impossible task. You want to show off your personality and fit as much in as possible, but don’t want the space to feel cramped. Accommodating everything is where the challenge lies, but is also where the fun is. Creating space where there isn’t, takes hard work and creativity. Finding solutions to these obstacles is what makes the process so rewarding in the end. Whether you live in a studio apartment and want to make the most of the whole space, or you have a tight room within your house, there are tons of design ideas that can make your space feel much larger than it actually is. Too often people compromise on style when it comes to smaller locations, so read on for our favourite design ideas for tackling your space conundrum.

Avoid Clutter 

While this first point may seem fairly self evident, it is the most important and cannot be forgotten. Obviously there are essentials that are needed within any space, however, even the most elegantly designed room won’t work if you can’t walk within it. There are many ways to showcase your personality and style, without cluttering the area. Floating pieces are great; they don’t suffocate the room, while still imprinting on the area. Consider shelves and nightstands, as they keep space underneath free. Instead of buying floor lamps, take a look at sconces and wall lights. 

Avoid clutter with floating and mounted furniture

Be Resourceful 

Thinking outside the box is fundamental when it comes to styling a small room or apartment. Picking furniture can be incredibly tricky, one piece could completely swarm the room and before you know it, everything is cramped. Sliding doors with substantial glass panels are a great idea – they can separate areas when needed, but also give an open plan feel that allows light to flow throughout the place. Fold away desks are also an ingenious way of creating space when needed, while still putting your spin on the room. Similarly, being resourceful with furniture helps to de-clutter; think: chairs for bedside tables, cubes that can act as coffee tables and sofas that can double up as beds. 

Fold away desks free up tons of space

Light is Key

Due to cramped conditions with tiny or non-existent windows, small spaces can often feel dark and gloomy. To avoid the place feeling claustrophobic, fill rooms with light. If you don’t have much window space, think about soft lighting – achieved through wall lights and carefully positioned floor lamps. Skylights are another way to bring out the clean lines of your furniture without having to take up room within the space. 

Skylights allow so much light into the smallest spaces

Reflective Materials 

Reflective materials like glossy wall tiles, shiny surfaces and mirrors bounce light around the room. This creates the effect of space and leaves the place feeling airy and tranquil. If you don’t have an abundance of light, mirrors can help elevate the room – reflecting the light around and brightening up the area. 

Frognal uses mirrors and Canbury uses tiles to bounce light around

Neutral Colour Scheme

While it isn’t imperative to stick with a neutral colour scheme (dark and dramatic aesthetics certainly have their place), calm and even-toned colour palettes trick the eye into the illusion of more space. To avoid making the room feel flat, make sure to texture where possible,  through cushions, throws and rugs. 

Eco House and Kingswood elegantly show how to use neutral colour schemes

Express Yourself 

This is where designing can become a passion project rather than a chore! While neutral colours trick the brain into thinking a room is bigger than it actually is, small doesn’t have to be a white box. Decorating with bold, standout pieces draws attention and takes away from the size of the space. Since expressing through endless pieces of furniture isn’t achievable, beautifying larger units is a great way to get your personality across. Try decorating these larger units with plants, colour and other decorative elements. 

Express yourself through colour and plants like Dray Gardens has here

Clear Cohesion

There are only so many things anyone can consider in a small room, so making sure items, styles and colours aren’t mismatched is imperative. Stick with one encompassing aesthetic and run with it – whether it’s light and airy or dark and moody, be confident and don’t saturate with too many colours. Having a clear flow makes the space feel bigger, so really think about every piece and whether it belongs there. 

Clear encompassing aesthetics at Aldersbrook and Cole

Play with Scale 

A small space doesn’t have to mean miniature furniture! In fact, having a few standout pieces intermingled with more slight furniture actually draws the eye, making the room far more memorable. Try mixing regular furniture with large walled artwork – the juxtaposition of small and large, without losing space on the ground is a great way to play with scale.   

Playing with scale can make a room look a lot bigger

Use the Architectural Quirks

By now we have made it apparent that every inch counts, so taking full advantage of the architectural quirks a house has can really help maximise the space. Ledges and window sills can be used as shelving, the neglected window nook can be turned into a sofa space and investing in a radiator cover can be a subtle way of getting your character across. By adding these elements, you can forgo the bulky shelving unit and cumbersome sofa, freeing up space for other pieces. 

We love the use of these window nooks here

Hide your TV

A television can be one of the biggest space wasters going! Think about mounting your TV onto a wall – not only does this regain vital floor space, but if your living room doubles up as a dining room or space for entertaining, you can hide it behind artwork. 

Artwork can be a great way to hide your tv

Make every piece count 

Functionality is key when it comes to decorating a space. If a piece of furniture only has one function, while taking up a lot of space, consider whether it’s worth keeping. For example, instead of having an end-of-the-bed bench, swap in a desk that can be used for working or getting ready and has space for storage underneath! 

End-of-bed desks are great ways to make space

Keep it Cosy 

Although the other points look at how to maximise space and create the illusion of a bigger room, sometimes leaning on the smallness of a place can end up being the best part of it. By keeping the area intimate, through bringing furniture away from the walls and closer to each other, you are able to make it inviting and cosy.

Make every room inviting and cosy regardless of size