Styling small spaces like a pro

Styling small spaces can sometimes be tricky. Whether it’s a living room, bedroom, or kitchen, smart designs for small places are key. We have brainstormed some important styling tips to keep in mind when working with a small space. Playing with proportion and scale can help with almost any styling obstacle you run into. It’s said you shouldn’t sacrifice function for beauty, but we equally believe you shouldn’t sacrifice beauty for functionality. 

Be choosey with colors

Choosing smooth colors, nothing too high in contrast, is a good thing to consider if you’re worried about the space feeling busy or cluttered. Too many bold or contrasting colors can make a space feel more closed in. This doesn't mean you can't have fun with color, it just means you may have to play around with accent colors or focal points. 

Natural lighting in a living room with a neutral color palette.
Tons of natural light flooding the room in this picture from HouseBeautiful.com.

Smart and natural lighting

Smart lighting can make or break any room design. If you come up with a genius room layout but it has dark, cave-like lighting, guests won’t feel like they can navigate their way through the room. If you are blessed with large windows or direct sunlight, let it all in! Adding accent lamps or overhead lighting when natural lighting is limited can brighten and open up a space. 

Furniture planning

One thing we have found, time and time again, is that a smaller sofa is better than a bulky one that takes up the entire room. One armchair is better than two if it means keeping a pathway clear. There are ways to add seating options if that is the sole reason you are leaning towards larger items. Just because you can fit it, doesn’t mean you have to.  


A large rug, floated sofa, and accent chair in a beautiful small living room.
This customer picture from inmod.com shows the use of a larger rug in a small space and how creating space behind the sofa has a big impact.

Room-changing rugs

Rugs are huge room-changers. Try to go for a larger rug first because the large size doesn't visually break up the floor and it helps anchor the space. There are times when we are intentionally trying to break up a space, like in a studio apartment, but in a single function room a bigger rug can give the illusion of larger square footage in flooring.   

Give it some space

Another thing that can help with creating the same illusion is creating space behind the furniture. People often think pushing everything against the walls for more center space is best, but having a little space between the furniture and the walls makes the room look bigger than it is. Hence the “furniture floating” trend! 

Boho style living room with a bold decorated wall.
A stylist from housebeautiful.com draws the eyes up by hanging hat up the wall of this small space.

Eyes up

Take advantage of high ceilings! Even if they aren’t super high, there are ways to draw the eye up and take advantage of that vertical space. Hanging art, lights, shelving, or anything else to build up instead of out can work serious magic! When everything in a room is low to the ground or right at eye level, spaces feel more dense or full. When our eyes are drawn all over the room with décor spaced out, we perceive the area to be more open and spacious.  

Oversized mirror on a vanity in a bedroom with a neutral color palette.

This image from decorapatio.com used an oversized mirror on a vanity to elevate the room and create the space illusion.

Magic mirrors

Mirrors are magicians that help make any small room look much larger. They add square footage that isn’t even there. The bigger the mirror, the more space it will appear to create. Think carefully about the angle of the room you want to reflect – we don’t want to duplicate a cluttered area of the room, but placing a mirror opposite a window might bring in some extra light. 

Small but stylish studio apartment with a neutral feminine color paletteThis layout from The Nordroom uses beautiful blended furniture and decor to let the eye flow through this studio. 

Blend it all together

Lastly, if you don't have room for a separate living room, dining room, and home office, combine each concept into one space!  New York City is full of studio apartments and there are amazingly functional ways to create chic rooms. We all want a nice flow through our homes, so finding furniture pieces that blend well together (color pairing and size proportion) is a good thing to aim for. This will make it slightly less noticeable that you have some multi-function action going on in the room. Put your cute little desk in your living room across from your tiny dining table and enjoy your work week!

 

We hope you enjoyed these tips! Don't hesitate to reach out to us via email (designadvisors@norseinteriors.com) if you need design advice.

 

 

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