Design tips for small spaces Image

Design tips for small spaces

By on Oct 30, 2010

By Elaine Williamson

When decorating a small space there are a few easy strategies that'll help make the most of a room with modest square footage.

  • Space planning: Choose a focal point. Perhaps a wall at the far end of a room that will pull your eye into the space visually. Painting this wall a deeper hue will help accomplish this goal nicely.
  • Baseline furniture: Make sure that all furniture selected for the space is smaller in scale, according to the square footage of the room. Lower profile, less bulky furniture will increase the perceived visual space making it feel open and airier.
  • Accent furniture: Keep all accent pieces light in feel. When your side tables and cocktails table are heavy in shape or color, they have a tendency to add visual weight to your room, thereby making it appear even smaller. Keep all pieces light in color or with glass tops and, if possible, keep the shape rounded and flowing.
  • Reflection: Consider mirroring an entire wall with 12' x 12' mirrors. This is timeless look and creates depth and dimension.
  • Decor: Do not over accessorize a smaller space. Choose accessories that mean something to you and then edit! Less is more.
  • Flooring: When overall square footage is small, the walls can feel very close to together. This is the perfect time to consider the fifth wall - the floor! Keep the rest of the flooring neutral and the focus on a beautiful graphic rug which brings the focus down and around the space. When choosing a bold rug, be sure to place a lighter feeling cocktail table on top, keeping the space open and airy.
  • Lighting: Avoid hanging fixtures. If, for instance, your ceilings are low, hanging fixtures will only further accentuate this. Always use can lights when possible or, if you have a more modern style, today's versatile track lighting works great. This keeps the area above your furniture sight-line free and clear of visual interruptions.
  • Storage: Storage is, of course, always important in a small space. To ensure that you don't over accessorize your space with your "overstock" items, make sure that all furniture pieces you select have storage options, such as a electronics console with drawers, storage ottoman, etc. Open bookcases used for storage tend to add nothing but a cluttered, closed in feeling.

Luxury interiors expert Elaine Williamson is the principal of Elaine Williamson Designs - a full service, award-winning firm specializing in high end residential and commercial interior design. She may be reached online at and followed on Twitter at "ElaineWDesigns".

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