5 Small Space Tips That Actually Work

5 Small Space Tips That Actually Work

Leah Moss
Apr 29, 2010

If you've been around long enough you know that what works for some — style-wise and lifestyle-wise— certainly does not work for all. And while the same applies to small home tips and tricks, there are a few that ring true every time.

• Leggy Furniture. Even bulkier seats like Saarinen womb chair (pictured above) do not necessarily take up as much visual weight as a smaller skirted option. This is especially important for higher backed pieces in small spaces.
• Big Mirrors. If you're wondering why I'm using this image (picture 2) from Stefan's Inspired Studio yet again, it's because it's a perfect example of the perfectly fail-safe space expanding trick. And in Stefan's home the large leaning mirror has several roles: mask for a large unsightly vent, light maximizer (placed directly across from a wall of windows to reflect the light around the studio), and visual expander (placed near the corner to the hallway, it adds an illusion of depth to the studio's only jutting-out wall, thereby making it recede and giving the feeling of more space).
• Double-Duty Furniture. It does not need to be as elaborate as the Ludus Modular Sofa by Patricia Hopfer (picture 3), but furniture that works overtime is invaluable in a small space. A bench in the living room serves as a coffee table, extra seating, and occasional storage/display piece.
• Mix of Open and Closed Storage. Too many bulky dressers and cabinets weigh down a room. We found that removing the doors of one wall of cabinets in our galley kitchen (picture 4) did wonders for giving the feeling of a less cramped space. I know that not everyone can get on board with open shelving in the kitchen, but the same concept holds true for living room and dining room storage as well. Instead of a tall dresser, try a low chest of drawers with a couple of floating shelves above it. Or try open shelving with a few storage boxes for stashing more unsightly essentials.
• Strong Vignettes and Small Displays. There is definitely something to be said for open wall space in a tiny home, but a little display goes a long way without threatening to disrupt a feeling of openness in a small room. I was struck by the the way one artfully arranged bookshelf in Grace & Brian's home (picture 5) set the tone for the entire apartment.

What fail-safe tricks would you add to the list?

Images: 1: Martha Stewart, 2: Leah Moss for Apartment Therapy: DC- Stefan's Inspired & Eclectic Studio, 3: Patricia Hopfer via Apartment Therapy: Chicago, 4: Leah Moss for Apartment Therapy: DC, Leah Moss for Apartment Therapy: DC- Grace & Brian Take On the White Box

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