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Credit: Bridget Wack

Check Out the Most Genius Storage Solution, Best Painted Accent, and More from the 2022 Small/Cool Contest

published Jun 21, 2022
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Have you heard? We announced the grand prize winner of the 2022 Small/Cool Contest, and the space is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G!

In addition to that very big deal, our team chose eight superlative winners to honor submissions with especially genius details. Each of these eight offers mega inspiration for small and bigger spaces alike. Meet the winners below! (And check out all of the top 50 entries here.)

Most Unexpected Use of Color (in partnership with BEHR Paint): Marion’s Blush Pink Kitchen

When life gives you a small room… use it to try out a fun paint color! That’s what Marion did in her Parisian apartment. While the rest of the space is neutral, she swathed the kitchen in a pretty blush pink. “[H]aving a pink kitchen has been a lifelong dream of mine,” Marion explained. “I figured, if I don’t have one when living alone in my late 20s, then when?”

Best Painted Accent (in partnership with BEHR Paint): Denisha’s Cat Wall Mural

Denisha took a wall that needed to serve many purposes and made it a great piece of art, as well. “The cat wall is by far the best DIY project to date,” Denisha wrote, “as it offers our active cat an outlet to climb and explore, in addition to wall art and extra storage.” Genius!

Credit: Maitri Mody

Most Genius Storage Solution: Maitri’s Wardrobe

“I love dressing up my pug and matching with him coz you know — twinning is winning,” Maitri explained. The issue? “I didn’t have enough closet space and also didn’t want to hide all my clothes. So, I customized this IKEA PAX system to fit my and my pug’s matching looks. Not only is this great for storage, but also adds a fun and colorful aesthetic to my space. I have high ceilings, so I wanted to utilize this and save floor space.” Using clothes to add color and pattern to a room? Noted!

Credit: Emily Soon

Smartest Layout: Emily Soon’s Van

“Designing a floor plan for my van was the most fun of the build,” Emily wrote. “I took on the lack of space, and challenged myself to create a home that felt spacious, inviting, was clever in its functionality, and had more storage than I needed.” A super-functional floor plan in a 72-square-foot van with more-than-necessary storage? Ridiculously impressive.

Most Impressive DIY: Michelle’s Kitchen

A kitchen is kind of like a laboratory, right? But you probably wouldn’t think, “science lab cabinetry” when designing a kitchen. Michelle did, though, and with a gorgeous result: “My favorite DIY in the space is my kitchen cabinets and countertops. The countertops were salvaged from a University of Washington biology lab classroom, while the cabinets were purchased from a ReStore and finished out with custom stained door fronts.”

Credit: Miki Carter

Most Inspiring Rental: Miki’s Bungalow

From the carefully curated lighting (those cloud fixtures against the blue ceilings!) to the grounding window treatments and colorful rugs, this space has so much personality even though it’s a rental. “This is the first place I’ve ever lived with a significant other,” Miki wrote in her submission. “It has been a challenge combining our styles (I think it’s pretty clear who won that fight!), but I’m happy with the results so far. I think our home is special because even though we rent, we continually put in the effort to make it feel like our own.”

Credit: Bridget Wack

Coolest Gallery Wall: Bridget’s Collection

With Bridget’s gallery wall, come for the brilliant colors and intriguing portraits, stay for the fascinating origin story: “When I saw this 6-foot-by-4-foot portrait of an anonymous 1950s businessman on an online vintage store, I knew I had to have him. He is a great conversation starter (Who is he? No one knows!) and was my first foray into what some might call ‘strange’ interior design. The rest of my gallery wall was built organically around this imposing frame — collected here and there from family, Facebook Marketplace, and Etsy.”

Most Enviable Plant Collection: Pratika’s Plants

Pratika lives in a 470-square-foot New York City apartment but manages to offer a beautiful array of plants lots of sunshine and love: “My favorite part of our apartment is the plant wall,” Pratika wrote. “I have a fairly large plant collection that could only be housed if we went vertical with storage. Our living room had the perfect niche for built-ins in a spot that gets all the morning sunlight!”