14 Tricks For Making The Most Of A Small Space

Genteel Cottage Exterior
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Two designers show how to live large in a little space. Small is beautiful. These fourteen gorgeous images from The Art of Living Small are a lesson in how to live small. Innovative design solutions, like a second-story loft bedroom, a symmetrical dining nook, and a plush living room all illustrate that —although it may seem daunting at first—once you understand how to live small, it is just a matter of putting each amazing piece of the puzzle together. So enjoy seeing the subtleties of a limited color palette, how architectural details can help to create space, and how a simple understanding of where and how you choose to live can help you master the art of living small.

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The Genteel Cottage

Genteel Cottage Exterior
Laurey W. Glenn

Location: Orange, Virginia
Size: 1200 square feet
Designer: Sam Blount
Architect: Madison Spencer

A couple from Connecticut moved down South with the plans to develop land in Virginia's horse country. With a plan that would take years to complete, they decided to start with a guest house to provide lodging while the main house and stables were built. The straightforward floor plan can be seen in the cottage's simple exterior.

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The Kitchen

White Kitchen with Green Soapstone Counters
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Decorative touches—like green soapstone counters and tole fronts on the upper cabinets—add color and style to the white kitchen without taking up space. The marble-and-iron table also doubles as an island work surface.

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The Dining Nook

Dining Nook with Window Bench
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

"Symmetry is so important. It imposes order and soothes the eye," says Blount. "Sometimes asymmetry is nice and necessary, but in a small space where you see everything in one look, the best image is one that doesn't make your eye work so hard."

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The Living Room

Living Room with Blue Barn Door
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Blount is a big fan of large rugs in small spaces, saying that too many bitsy ones visually chop up the floor. Here, he used as big of a rug as possible. A striking blue barn door takes up less room than hinged doors would.

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The Living Room

Blue and White Living Room
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

"A limited color palette gives clarity. Blues and whites predominate in this house, playing well with the clients' classic furnishings. Too many colors can shrink a room—the eye has to stay very busy to take it all in. Painting the walls white and the vaulted portion of the ceiling celestial blue makes the 14-foot ceilings soar even higher."

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The Living Room

Living Room Bar Chest
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Blount set up a bar atop this chest and stashed glasses in the drawers below.

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The Bedroom

Blue and White Bedroom Nook
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Tucking the queen-size bed into a nook creates more floorspace. The roomy drawers below provide extra storage space.

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The Madcap Loft

Madcap Loft Charleston
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Size: 650 square feet
Designer: Matthew Bees

A Mississippi couple looking to create a home base in Charleston gutted their 1 bedroom, 1 1/2-bath getaway, and Bees created a space that looks like it was cultivated over generations. He drew inspiration from a hotel where "a wonderful mix of 17th- and 18th-century styles was presented in a fresh, modern way."

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The Living Room

Living Room with Brown Velvet Couch
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

In the living room, the 7-foot chocolate brown sofa fades into the wall and the skirt hides a pullout mattress. Filling the room with upholstered pieces creates a plush look and extra seating.

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The Living Room

Living Room Bar Chest with Two Lamps
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Using a chest as the bar in the living room adds extra storage, and also provides a surface to add extra lamps. Since the space is low on natural light, Bees made sure to pile on the artificial light with five lamps, a large central chandelier, and a smaller one over the dining table.

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The Dining Nook

Dining Nook with Glass Table and Brown Chairs
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Beneath the stairs, a wall-mounted TV, glass-top table, chairs, and stools create a lively, low-profile dining nook.

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The Loft Bedroom

Loft Bedroom with Oriental Screen
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

An Asian screen mounted from the ceiling beams gives the illusion of a wall in the loft's second-story bedroom. The garden stool and sconce function as a nightstand and occupy just 2 feet of floorspace.

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The Loft Bedroom

Tall Bedroom Chest with Ginger Jars
Photo: Instagram/@ryanntaylordavis

The tallboy provides ample drawers for storage and ginger jars on top add height and additional storage.

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The Powder Room

Powder Room with Wallpaper and Aubergine Ceiling
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

In the powder room, the deep aubergine ceiling coordinates with the wallpaper.

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