I’ve lived in some very small apartments in my life, and to be quite honest, I prefer it. It’s a challenge, but there is something incredibly satisfying about working out just the right arrangements to fit a small space – you can really pat yourself on the back when you get it right! When I saw snippets of the two spaces featured below, I thought it might be helpful to outline some of the solutions I’ve found work well for small spaces.
The first thing I suggest is to rein in your whole house (or whole-apartment) color palette. Working with too many hues in a small space can work, but it requires a skillful hand. Choosing a few neutral shades as a base throughout your home will lend the space cohesion and make it feel bigger. You can set each room apart with accessories in different colors. Also, take the time to search for small scale furniture that fits your space well. The beauty is, smaller scale pieces can easily be reused in different ways in a larger space – it’s much trickier to go from big to small!
In your workspace, buy a matched set of storage boxes, magazine files – whatever you use to stash your stuff – leaving some empty so you have room to grow. But, it really is best to limit paper storage. It’s tough, and there are some things you may want to keep no matter what, but pare back where you can and try to go paperless. Be mindful of every detail you leave on view – a candle, a pretty card, artwork, plants, cushions – these things add personality, but less is more.
Be sure to carve out an entry area even if you don’t have an entry hall. A row of hooks on the wall and a simple boot tray on the floor beneath can hold most necessary items. If you are truly short on space (i.e., no room for a table), try hanging a decorative bracket or shelf on the wall instead, and you can toss your keys and wallet there. I also like to work my wall hooks by hanging a french market basket or pretty tote to hold odds and ends.
It is really easy to accumulate too much stuff in the kitchen, especially if you enjoy cooking and entertaining. My best advice is to be highly selective about what you keep: in other words, keep only the best! There is no point in keeping so-so dishes and mugs you don’t enjoy using everyday, or tons of specialty pans and gadgets. Will there be times you wish you had something you didn’t? Sure. But most of the time, you will just be happy to have an uncluttered, lovely space.
The last two tips I want to share are 1) invest in good lighting, and 2) create a focal point. An accent wall covered in pretty patterned paper or the backs of shelves painted a fun color can add so much to a small space…and great lighting really does make everything (and everyone) look better!
Weren’t you inspired by the lovely spaces above? I discovered them both on 79 Ideas, which is such a wonderful interiors blog. The first images of the apartment in gray originally appeared in the guardian. The two images above of the sweet kitchen are from fantastic frank.
Happy decorating, friends! xo Laura