Smart Ideas for Small Spaces

baskets under stairs
These rooms show you that small spaces can be super-efficient without sacrificing style.

Multitasking Decor

Tiny rooms need to be deft multitaskers, so this living room features a long sofa that moonlights as a guest bed. And the ottoman gets a helping hand from a tray, allowing it to double as a coffee table.

Energize with Color

With its pale walls and light furnishings, this neutral oasis was the perfect candidate for a color transformation. A few bold pillows, a rug, a throw, and DIY artwork turn up the heat in this compact living space with little effort.

Make a Style Statement

Trading dark upper cabinets for a sparkling wall of vintage-look tiles turned this kitchen luminous. Open stainless-steel shelves let the tile backdrop take center stage while keeping dishes within reach.

Watch our step-by-step guide to learn how to tile a backsplash.

Tile a Backsplash

Give your kitchen a focal point with a new backsplash. Learn how to install one this weekend with our step-by-step video.

Enlist a Built-In

Integrating a recessed daybed into this room's design maximized limited floor space and eliminated the need to buy additional furniture. Cushions and pillows covered with plush fabrics make this alcove cushy and inviting, and overhead lighting offers illumination.

Hidden Assets

Don't let a tight space cramp your style choices. Instead, look for furniture that can pull double duty. A secretary offers storage and workspace in this small living room, yet neatly tucks away when it's not in use.

Add Visual Impact

Hang an oversize mirror in a dining area to make the room appear larger than it is. Position the mirror opposite a bank of windows to maximize the amount of natural light reflected throughout the space.

Wonder Wall

An open vanity in this long, narrow bathroom keeps the space airy but doesn't allow for storage. A bumped-out ledge and shelving along a nearby wall offers space for bathroom necessities and display items.

Outfit a Playroom

Restore order in a playroom with simple strategies to keep toys off the floor but in plain sight. Matching baskets beneath a tiered coffee table satisfy both kids and parents by combining storage and decor in one convenient location.

Look Under the Bed

This bedroom uses the space under the bed for storage. But, rather than allowing that space to become a tangle of stuff, well-made drawers with dividers keep clothes neat.

Create a Landing Zone

Transform the often-unused space at the top of the stairs into a destination. Built-in bench seating capitalizes on the sunny window of this second-floor landing, creating a cozy reading retreat. Divided compartments under the bench cushion provide clever storage for reading material.

Delineate Spaces

In an open living room, create subtle division with a shelving unit. This floor-to-ceiling bookshelf separates the open floor plan into two distinct rooms while offering ample display space.

Upgrade the Ceiling

Most people slap a coat of white paint onto their ceiling and call it quits, but creative use of the space can reap room-enlarging results. A beamed ceiling takes this room to new heights, while board-and-batten paneling adds substance to the room's sherbet color palette.

Convert a Closet

Turn a closet or nook into a work zone. In this space, drapery panels slide along a curtain rod to make it easy to conceal the clutter. Even without an architectural niche or bay, you can duplicate this effect by curtaining off an area across the width of a room -- just hang the drapes from a rod or thin wire suspended from the ceiling.

Relax the Room

Set a casual, family-friendly mood for meal times by mixing and matching chair styles. In this dining room, a bench accommodates multiple people and takes up less space than a group of individual chairs. The pieces around the table can easily segue into the living room for hosting a crowd.

Slim Down

Opting for a narrow, shallow refrigerator netted more counter and shelf space in this compact kitchen. A tall cabinet with a mix of shelves and deep drawers maximizes storage space.

Nesting Instincts

Nesting tables are perfect for squeezing a lot of storage out of minimum space. Pull out the lower table when you need an extra surface for holding drinks or reading material, then tuck it away when you're done. On the lower shelf, a stylish fabric-covered bin keeps DVDs accessible but contained.

Mix Materials

Get big style from a small space through careful design. Tall cabinets stretch to the ceiling, and a mixture of light woods and reflective stainless steel keeps the space clean and open.

Step It Up

Reclaim wasted space under a staircase for storage. Wide-trim molding turns these staggered shelves into a strong architectural feature. Baskets add eye-pleasing texture as they keep linens and other kitchen odds and ends corralled.

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