In partnership withNew York School of Interior Design

4 Interior Design Students Share Their Favorite Tips for Refreshing Small Spaces

published Feb 28, 2019
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(Image Credit: Jessica Isaac)

No one knows interior design better than interior designers, and no one knows small spaces better than students living in New York (#studioliving), so it makes sense that interior design students really know how to make small spaces sing. We asked four graduate students at the New York School of Interior Design—whose six-week interior design course (available on-site or online) is an approachable first step toward a new career—how to refresh your look when you don’t have room to spare.

Keep clutter out of sight

(Image Credit: Melanie Rieders)

Keep the horizontal (eye-level) line of your space clean and open—decluttering this area will make the space look larger. Hide daily or functional items above or below eye level.

—Shoko Nakai, MFA & NYSID Dorm Resident Advisor

In many smaller spaces, hiding everything out of sight just isn’t an option. This is a great trick for minimizing visual clutter while being realistic about storage.

Give boring tile a DIY update

(Image Credit: Diana Paulson)

Tile stenciling is an easy DIY upgrade for existing backsplash or floor tiles. Find a great tutorial here.

—Deeksha Banerjee, MPS-Sustainability

This is a great way to transform boring tile and it has a major presence in a miniature kitchen—just make sure to check with your landlord first.

Use patterns to add pizzazz to a neutral scheme

(Image Credit: René Johnsen)

If you prefer to stick with a neutral color palette, add a mix of patterns at different scales in the neutral color for visual interest.

—René Johnsen, MFA

Neutral colors are a good way to keep a small space from becoming too overwhelming—and a dose of pattern gives a neutral scheme a little excitement and interest.

For the big stuff, invest in timeless pieces

(Image Credit: Samara Vise)

Apply trends in small doses. Interior design is like fashion in that it pays to invest in timeless styles for your bigger items (e.g., your sofa) and then to apply trends via smaller pieces and accessories. This way, when the trends change, you can easily and inexpensively update!

—Hanna Propst, MFA

This is excellent advice for any space, no matter the size. It’s much more economical to swap out a throw than it is a sofa when you move on from millennial pink.

Considering a career in interior design? The New York School of Interior Design is a great place to get started. NYSID Institute for Continuing and Professional Studies provides a broad introduction to the profession and the process of interior design, with no prerequisites. With full-time, part-time, and online programs, NYSID offers a path for anyone wanting to turn their passion into a reality — even those who are past their dorm days.