Great Design for Tiny Spaces

Even in Texas, where everything is big, people are opting more and more for right-sized spaces which may be too tiny for some. The dilemma of small space design and decorating has always been a challenge for some people.  Today, we have a Chicago-based interior designer share with us some secrets of the art of great design in tiny spaces.

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Although the times have changed and the economy have forced a lot of people to downsize, cities like New York and San Francisco are still charging prime for their real estate. As a result, the houses are getting smaller as many people are found living in apartments. If you live in an apartment, especially in New York City, where the average size of a studio is 400 square feet, you must know how to master the art of space saving. If you are struggling on how to fit all your belongings in such a small space while keeping everything looking pretty, the following tips are just for you:

1. Bye-bye Clutter:  Since space is an issue, you should keep your place to a minimal by reducing the amount of unnecessary items. Everything that is broken beyond repair should be tossed and everything that hasn’t been used or worn in more than a year should leave the house too (consider selling or donating). Go paperless on as many bills as possible.
2. Think Vertical:  When living in a small space you should always think vertical by incorporating bookshelves or storage systems that allow you to expand up to the ceiling (for a cleaner look seek storage with doors).  Remember, more vertical storage you get, less claustrophobic your space will feel.


3. Embrace Color  & Think about Scale: It is true that certain colors can make your room looks bigger or small. However, what a lot of people forget is the scale of their furnishings. You don’t have to live in a completely white apartment to feel the largeness of the room. What you need to consider when designing for a small space is the proportion of the furnishings and how they are connected to each other. If your entire wall unit is white (and has doors), your sofa and chairs are also white, and you are using clear materials for your accent tables for example, you can (and you should) go bold on your walls. A medium to dark shade of grey will make your furniture to stand out and you can easily change the feeling of the room by using different colors on pillows and throws.

4. Bring Light In: From bringing down your energy bill monthly to improving your health, the benefits of day light are endless.  If you live in a very tiny home, the probability you have a very limited amount of windows is pretty high. However, you can create the illusion of having more windows by installing mirrors at strategic walls that would reflect the day light throughout your home.

5. Make most of your bed : When living in a place where every inch counts, having an underneath bed storage is a must. Although I prefer beds that are designed to provide storage underneath, if you don’t like them or if you can’t afford them, you should look for a bed lift to raise it just enough for you to slide few bins under the bed. Pottery Barn and West Elm have great options for bed with underneath storage.
6. Buy Strategic Furniture :Start thinking outside the box and consider buying double duty furniture. In the bedroom, replace your nightstands with a dresser on each side of the bed. In the living room, a sofa bed instead of a traditional one; and have a storage ottoman for extra linens as a coffee table.


7. Decorate with Shelves: In the bathroom, instead of hanging artwork opt for installing shelves for extra storage.   If you have a specific area you use for your home-office, don’t limit yourself to traditional bookshelves. Do better by installing shelves above the desk for a cleaner, more organized look.


No matter how small your space is whether it is an apartment rental, loft, or small home, if you start feeling lost or overwhelmed, consult an interior designer. A good interior design professional will find a very unique design solution to address your needs.

VK Sustainable Concepts’ Principal Andrea Vollf, LEED AP ID+C, is a registered interior designer and sustainability professional with over fifteen years of experience in the interior design and marketing industries. Ms. Vollf is an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter, with in‐depth knowledge of all aspects of Sustainability – Social, Environmental and Economic.

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Interior Design in Austin | E-Design everywhere. Contact me.

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About Maureen

Details are my passion. From curating vignettes to designing spaces. I thrive in finding the finds and just discovered the art of collecting...all while sipping on a cafe au lait & a french macaroon in hand.

One thought on “Great Design for Tiny Spaces

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