We’ve been talking a lot recently about maximizing small spaces and hidden storage. This post has some overlap, but it’s about small room ideas.
And, these ideas include two main ideas.
- How to give the illusion of more space
- Space-saving furnishings and storage ideas when the spaces are tight.
Oh, and not all of these are “little known.” But, hopefully, some of them will be ideas you haven’t considered before.
The first thing I’d like to say regarding a small room is:
Unless a room is insanely small, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Small rooms are cozier and more intimate. But still, we need places to put ourselves and our stuff.
So, speaking of stuff.
Yeah, just a friendly reminder. The less you have in the room, the more space you’ll have. And, if you need help paring down, please consider taking the Done & Done organizing course. I’ve just started it, and it’s really good. Plus, there’s a Facebook page you can join for support.
(Please note that I will make a small commission if you sign up for the course at no extra charge to you. However, it’s a great buy and a terrific course on organizing with a lot of support available.)
However, paring down doesn’t mean being sterile and boring in a small room.
Very pretty apartment with a fireplace. I like how it’s open, but not too open.
Use mouldings to bring the eye upwards using all means possible.
my living room
We’ve been through this before.
Another way to make a wall appear taller is to put the wainscoting a little lower than usual. And, also watch the scale of crown mouldings, especially. This post is all about wainscoting.
make use of corners
But also corner cabinets in kitchens and corner desks, as well. We saw some terrific corner desks that can hold a lot of things like printers and extra monitors in last week’s post.
Use mirrors to expand the space.
Mirrors are wonderful to expand space AND light. In fact, if you put a mirror directly across from a window, it’s like having two windows.
photo: Bjorn Wallander
What an elegant home! You may notice that it looks like the entire right wall is mirrored. For more inspiration with mirrors, please go here.
Glass Doors and Glass Dividers between spaces and rooms
Pocket doors are a terrific space-saving solution. I love this frosted glass, and behind it is a tiny office.
between the studs storage
For instance, you can use chests with drawers for night tables. The chest above is by Chelsea Textiles.
For some other terrific bedroom decorating ideas, go here.
Use all of the available space for storage – Go high!
Done and Done Home has a terrific Instagram account with many fantastic examples of making the most out of verticle storage. Please be sure to follow Ann and Kate!
via @doneanddonehome – terrific closet storage ideas
Going high can also mean creating storage situations, especially in closets that make use of every bit of space.
via @doneanddonehome on Instagram – office storage
We saw a couple of loft beds in Wednesday’s post featuring some great ideas to maximize space in kids’ rooms. But, adults can have loft beds too. Actually, we saw one in this tiny house recently. (The article links to the loft bed).
Bob Vila did a post about loft beds. Quite frankly, some of these are pretty scary. I mean, unless there’s some sort of real staircase to get up there, who the hell wants to have to climb up and down a ladder in the middle of the night? I suppose you could bring a bedpan up there with you. Okay, fine. A chamber pot.
But, what happens if you’re sick?
And, what about breakfast in bed? Plus, if you can’t stand up in the loft, then it’s going to be pretty awful. So, you need a minimum 13-foot ceiling unless you’re an NBA basketball player. Of course, if you don’t mind crawling around in your loft, I guess you can get away with a lower ceiling height. But, you really should have at least a 10-foot ceiling.
Stealing space from a closet or the next room.
I am fascinated by this pull-out bed. But, where does it go when it’s in the wall? Well, into the next space, of course. But, still, there needs to be space in the next space for the bed to go into.
Space-saving storage in kitchens and bathrooms
We looked at a lot of great ideas for small and hidden kitchens in this recent post.
storage in hidden or alternative places
And, what better place than under the bed.
West Elm’s Andes Storage bed is one of the best looking I think I’ve ever seen. And, it is available in numerous fabrics and colors.
Another idea for alternative storage places
Here’s an interesting situation. Let’s say you have a dining room or dining area that’s 8′ x 8′. And, you don’t have room for any case pieces except for in the corners. But, maybe you have an empty wall just around the corner in the entry. You could put a buffet or server in that space.
The same holds true for office space; and, of course, clothing. Storage does not have to be in the room the items are used in. Of course, common sense tells us that if the items are used frequently, you will want them as close to where you need them as possible.
drapes hung high
Yep, we all definitely know that one, too. If you are lucky enough to have a high ceiling, even if the room’s footprint is not so big, it will give a sense of space.
Yes, it’s a gorgeous room. Great bones! But perfectly done. The upholstered furniture is just the right scale. The tall lamps look perfect because the ceiling is high. And, the large-scale art adds the right amount of drama. And the light but large plant adds a note of chic.
pieces that serve multi functions
Yeah, we already know that one. But it’s great to find creative ways to find extra space, such as an office that can disappear when necessary.
I love offices that can vanish within minutes. Here, a beautiful vignette emphasizes the room’s height.
Room expanding ideas
paint the walls and ceiling one color
photo: Bjorn Wallander
I’ve long admired this bedroom with its chocolate-brown walls. But what is especially remarkable is that she took the color up on the ceiling too. Believe it or not, this is the bedroom of her teenaged (or he was then) son. Very sophisticated.
The entire home is gorgeous! It’s the same one as the dining room at the top with the mirrors.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but a large piece of art can make a room feel far more expansive than a couple of dinky pieces. But if doing an art wall, like the ones below, you can still cover the wall. I really hate it when the art feels too small for the wall or the composition feels too small.
Oops. I see lots of black and blue toes.
There! That’s better. Sometimes just turning things around can make a huge difference.
Below, I’m sharing some mistakes not to be made in any room, whether it’s a big room or a small room.
Just watch that the art isn’t butting up against the moulding. I would’ve put the bottom piece of art over the chair. I bet they saw that later too. Sometimes things show up in photos that don’t show up in real life so much.
Uh oh… Great idea, but what happens when someone tries to come through the front door? lol
“Oh, sorry, Aunt Edith, I hope you didn’t burn yourself on the tea that’s now sitting in your lap.”
This entry is lovely, and I love the Pembroke table. Alas, it’s a little too big for the space. Furniture should not overlap the door and window casings. Poor pooch looks like he needs to be fed.
This entry is Goldi-Locks-ready-just-right. Everything in scale and even a little place to hang up a coat and put keys. This is a very tiny apartment!
One larger piece of furniture can be quite dramatic in a small room.
Fabulous library in Farrow and Ball Hague Blue. The rest of the house is awesome too!
Monochromatic color scheme / avoid a lot of loud patterns.
legs on furniture instead of skirts give a lighter look
There are many examples already on this page.
Look beyond surfaces for solutions such as hanging up wall sconces instead of table lamps.
It’s a great solution when the night tables are tiny. And here, we can see that they are the kind that doesn’t require a box in the wall.
Carve out spaces for sleep or work.
I love the idea of having a little workspace between two beds. It would work out well, I think, for a kid’s bedroom too.
Have to say that I think this is immensely charming. It would make a great kid’s bedroom. But another idea that came to me is what if there was a pocket door that could close off the bed, and voila, it goes back to being the home office or library when guests aren’t staying over. There could even be a trundle-bed built-in. But, I do love the storage underneath.
And, finally. I love this idea above for an instant workspace. Some version of this could work in many different spaces.
Do you have any great tips for small rooms? Please share! I’m sure that there are many more.
PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES – And especially the Pottery Barn WFH event. It took me about 20 minutes to figure out the WFH stands for Work From Home. haha, But, it’s a wonderful sale with all of their extensive and beautiful line of home office furnishings, bookcases, media cabinets, etc. And, all of their fabulous lighting as well.
Also, if you need more help with figuring out the scale, measurements, proportions, and much more, please check out my newest guide, 333 Hard to Find Decorating Rules & Tips You Need To Know.