Small Space Solutions for Every Room

Do your small spaces feel cramped and uncomfortable? Find simple solutions that you can use to maximize space and make your home inviting.

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    Small-Space Scale

    Scale—the visual size of objects in relation to one another—is key to a successful small room. But don't think everything has to be small-scale. Avoid oversize furniture, which can eat up floor space. Include a mix of small to medium-scale furniture pieces. And remember that scale is relative, so what looks like a small sofa on the showroom floor may be just the right size for your small living room. Always take room measurements when buying furniture.

    Check out our fave living room furniture!
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    Create Counter Space

    If your kitchen lacks counter space, don't feel defeated! Temporary solutions, like this store-bought island countertop, make up for a lack of storage. Look for bar carts on wheels for mobile use or tables that fold flat for extra space-saving capabilities.

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    Carve Out an Office Space

    No room for an office? You don't have to sit at the dinner table to get your work done. A sleek secretary-style desk sits perfectly against a small wall in a hallway, foyer, or living area. Lay the lid down to work, then flip the lid up to hide all of your office items when not in use.

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    Bring a Bookcase into Your Kitchen

    There's always more room for storage! If you find yourself running out of cabinet space, don't be shy about open shelving. Add a bookshelf to your kitchen or pantry for your most-used items. The display doubles as decor this way, and you won't need to dig through your cabinets to find your favorite coffee mug.

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    3 Small-Space Tricks

    Use these genius tricks to make the most of your tiny spaces!

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    Add Function to Furniture

    Don't sacrifice space for style. Have both! A modern take on the classic Murphy table works perfectly in a small kitchen corner. The quick setup and tear-down for this tabletop is ideal for apartment-dwelling couples or down-sized empty nesters.

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    Utilize a Kitchen Corner

    Nooks and crannies sure are cute in small homes, but what do you do with them? Introduce restaurant-style seating to an eat-in kitchen with a built-in booth. A movable bench and chair allow for easy clean-up.

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    Make a Laundry Room Do More

    Mudroom, laundry room, storage—it doesn't matter what you call this tiny workspace, because it does it all! Sleek pale-blue lockers house bulky jackets while a rolling cart holds laundry supplies. Shoes stay tucked away on a wooden shelf below the window cutout, and a stacked washer and dryer save space.

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    Squeeze In Seating

    When your kitchen lives on only one wall, a small eating area can provide extra storage and prep space. You'll have a table to place ingredients on, hidden bench storage, and seating for friends and family. When no guests are over, the table can be pushed into the bench's L shape to allow for more wiggle room.

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    Maximize Space

    Watch and learn the tricks that make these small rooms so cozy and comfortable and how you can apply the same ideas to your own space.

     

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    Double Up

    Tap into wasted space for storage in a small space. Drawers built in beneath this daybed corral files, extra linens, and more. Are built-ins out of your budget? Invest in a bed skirt and shallow plastic bins that can slide under your bed. The skirt conceals the affordable, but not always pretty, bins and the space beneath your bed now houses more than just dust bunnies.

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    Small-Space Zoning

    Some rooms may not be small, but they are called upon to perform multiple functions, such as dining and relaxing. Use rugs to delineate a great room and to be a visual cue as to where one function stops and the other begins.

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    Make Your Own Room

    Similarly, use physical barriers to designate spaces. The front door of this home opens directly into the living room, but a folding screen creates a functional foyer.

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    Small Bath Style

    Bathrooms are often the smallest room in the house. See how to take a small bath from drab to fab with these ideas.

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    Use Windows to Enlarge a Small Room

    Windows can be a strong tool in visually enlarging a small room because your eye moves beyond the wall to the outdoor view and embraces it as part of your living space. Take advantage of this liberating effect by leaving windows bare, or dress windows with draperies that match the color of the walls to eliminate boundaries and open the space. For privacy, install simple shades or blinds that can be pulled out of the way during the day.

    Shop now: our favorite window treatments!
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    Design Small Rooms to Multitask

    If your house is too small to meet all your needs, gear spaces for double duty. A daybed anchors this living room by mimicking the look of a trendy, extra-deep designer sofa -- and scores space for guests to sleep. Look for a daybed with a solid back for all-day lounging support. Cap off the ends with a pair of bolster pillows to imitate the rolled arms of a sofa. Two small tables work together as a larger coffee table but move aside easily to give guests more space.

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    Small Bedroom Storage

    See three smart ways to add more storage to a small bedroom.

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    Choose Small-Scale Furnishings

    Small spaces are quickly overwhelmed by large or overstuffed furnishings. Choose neatly upholstered pieces with compact frames and slimmed-down, leggy pieces without skirted bottoms that allow you to see through them to the walls and floors.

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    Keep a Small Room White and Light

    It's an age-old decorating adage: light colors open up a room, while dark colors keep a space cozy. To give your room the illusion of spaciousness, bathe it in white. White surfaces bounce light around the room, keeping a small space feeling bright and open. In this narrow bathroom, white walls, a white bathtub, and an off-white vanity reflect light, giving the feeling of spaciousness. Dark tile floors ground the room. White grout lines break up the tile, ensuring the black tile doesn't weigh down the room.

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    Add Mirrors to Small Spaces

    Hang a large mirror with a decorative frame (or prop it against a wall) to create the illusion of depth in a small room. Even small mirrors expand the sense of space by reflecting views and light, but an oversize mirror like this one has a dramatic effect because it reflects a large chunk of the room.

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    Use Fewer Colors in a Small Room

    When it comes to small spaces, too many colors can be chaotic. Select a few and stick with them. In this living room, a cream background is accented with sky blue and rusty red. The colors add personality without overtaking the space, and the muted tones are far more subtle than fully pigmented hues, which also softens their impact.

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    Limit Pattern in a Small Room

    When decorating a small room, let texture and color guide your fabric choices. Introducing too many patterns in tight quarters will create confusion. In this bedroom, a little bit of pattern on the bedding goes a long way. The patterns are subtle and small in scale, yet pop against the monochromatic blue palette.

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    Float Furniture in a Small Room

    Create a sense of movement and make a room feel larger by floating big furnishings away from walls. Allowing elbow room between the wall and seating pieces gives the impression of depth and space. In this open floor plan, the living room "floats" in the middle of the space, creating a distinct living area within the combination kitchen, living, and dining room.

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    Downplay Contrast in a Small Space

    Architectural focal points can make a small space feel choppy by causing the eye to stop and focus in on that area. By painting the brick fireplace white in this compact sitting area, the fireplace stopped distracting from the room and now the wall nearly disappears into the neighboring bank of windows. The cohesive color of the wall and architectural focal point blends with the primarily white furniture to make the area feel open and spacious.

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    Let Small Rooms Breathe

    Accessories make every room personable, but filling a small room to the brim will steal space visually. A handful of well-chosen and well-placed accessories is all it takes to give a small living room a layer of sophistication. To avoid a cluttered look, take advantage of natural display spots, such as the coffee table, end tables, and the fireplace, accenting them with a handful of thoughtful items. If you spread accessories throughout the room, keep the walls simple and quiet to focus attention on the objects. Likewise, if you want the eye to focus on the shapes and textures of accessories, keep their colors neutral or monochromatic.

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    Make Space in a Small Hallway

    A little something in the entry creates a welcoming focal point for guests, but when you're squeezed for space, keep it lightweight visually. Try a narrow console table. This provides a surface for some flowers and a place to deposit mail, keys, and a handbag when walking in the door. It also anchors the mirror, creating a well-balanced display that doesn't eat up too much space.

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    Keep a Small Room Flexible

    Keep a small room from getting extremely cramped when you entertain by outfitting it with smaller, portable pieces of furniture that can be rearranged. Here, a lightweight table with fold-down leaves can be expanded to accompany extra guests and can easily be folded up and scooted against the wall to be used as a console table.

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    Keep a Clear View in a Small Room

    Anything that stops the eye in its movement around the room can register as a boundary or border that limits space. Eliminate the obstacles, and you enhance the sense of limitlessness. A unifying color is one powerful means of banishing limits; glass is another. The glass top on this dining table virtually disappears, opening the eating area so it feels bigger. The transparent surface also allows the table's decorative base to shine without weighing down a room. Open-slat chairs further contribute to the airy feel and visual openness.

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    Deliver Big Impact in a Small Space

    One oversize piece of art can create a strong focal point that actually opens a small space. To the contrary, multiple pieces scattered around the room make it feel cluttered and small. Here, a graphic painting perched on a console table delivers a dramatic performance. The rest of the room remains neutral and subdued, giving the artwork a chance to shine.

    Shop decorative and throw pillows we love!
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    Take the Edge Off a Small Space

    Add round elements to a small, square room. Soft edges, instead of rigid corners, turn small into cozy. In this living space, curvy chairs and an oval-shape table lend a flowing, organic feel.

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    Go Wide

    Visually expand a small room by wrapping the walls with wide, horizontal stripes. In this bedroom, horizontally aligned boards achieve this effect without overpowering the room. The rough texture of the planks, installed with the unfinished side facing out, lends a light and airy washed finish to the soft wall color. You can achieve the same effect by painting horizontal stripes on plain walls. Use light colors to maintain a bright, open scheme and similar tones so the stripes are noticeable but don't visually break up the space.

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    Right Size for a Small Space

    Squeeze more function into small spaces with strategically selected pieces of furniture. A tall table designed for an entry hall or foyer supplies a slice of sophisticated storage in this cozy bath. The table's height and long legs play up the room's vertical dimension. The open space beneath both it and the console vanity contribute to the room's airiness.

  • Next Slideshow 26 Ideas to Steal for Your Apartment

    26 Ideas to Steal for Your Apartment

    Living in a small space is tough, especially when your decorating options are limited by rental rules and landlord laws. Let these ideas inspire you to make the home (and space) you want.
    Begin Slideshow »
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