We are so excited to be working with our friends at Apartment Guide to bring you Small/Cool 2012, our international search for the most stylish small homes. After all, Apartment Guide is an expert source for small space inspiration and problem-solving of all kinds. Every year, our Small/Cool contest showcases the incredible creativity and resourcefulness of our small-space dwelling readers. If you're working on getting your own home contest-worthy, check out some of Apartment Guide's top tips for decorating and living in a small/cool space.
If you have a small space, keep your furniture proportional. Check out this roundup of smaller-scale furniture on Apartment Guide's blog.
Put shelving and hooks on the interiors of closet doors and kitchen cabinets to maximize your storage potential.
Controlling clutter is one of the best ways to make your small home feel stylish and comfortable. Find furniture that serves multiple purposes, like beds with storage drawers, ottomans that double as trunks or a side table that can double as a laptop desk.
Small spaces will look bigger if you keep all four walls light. In fact, limiting your palette to two main colors and an accent color — all light colors — will go a long way toward making your small room feel expansive and uncluttered.
Mirrors are a favorite trick for making a space feel larger while reflecting a lot of light. They're also an opportunity for decorative accents and whimsy.
Another great trick is to make sure your rug is smaller than the area it's covering. In a small room, your rug should just be under the front legs of your furniture, so it doesn't limit and enclose the space, but instead helps it feel open and expansive.
Go digital! One really effective way to edit down and unclutter is to digitize your audio and video collections.
Don't forget to enter and vote for your favorite Small/Cool entrants all month!