50 of Our Best Small Space Decorating Tricks
Whether you’re looking to maximize a small closet or are learning to live in 600 square feet, we have 50 tips and tricks to help you make the most of decorating small spaces. While short on square footage, there are countless opportunities to take advantage of in tiny, often-overlooked spaces. Being smart about small space decorating is important from a practical standpoint—there is only so much under-bed storage, after all. With a few tweaks, you can infuse your small space with big style. We learned more than a few of the best small space decorating tricks this year, especially in key areas like creative storage solutions, repurposing furniture, and stylish, space-saving design elements. Let us help you make the most of your small space. From cozy cottages to teeny studio apartments, small spaces have big potential. Here are a few of our biggest ideas for the tiniest of rooms…they may even convince you to try one of our tiniest house plans.
Find New Uses for Big Furniture
If you have beloved large furniture but are short on square footage, use your big pieces in creative ways. For example, store dry goods in a china cabinet to create a pantry in the open.
Employ a Wheeled Wonder
No storage space in your bath? Use a solution on wheels (like this chrome beauty) to store towels and trinkets in style.
Construct Shoe Shelves
Shoes littering your space? Try this small space solution: Create a shelving system in your closet beneath the hanging garments for your shoes, bags, and folded sweaters. You can even tuck a small, clean-lined bookshelf into the bottom of the closet to take advantage of vertical space—shelves always do the trick!
Lean on a Book Stack
Small spaces rarely have room for a big bookshelf, but if your books aren’t corralled together, they can look messy. Avoid this problem by stacking books vertically in one corner of the room—plus, you’ll add a bit of shelf space in the process.
Add Hybrid Seating
Tiny kitchens need seating space too. Grab a clean-lined stool to offer additional seating, but make it work double duty: Set a tray on top, fill it with your favorite liquors, and make the stool into an unobtrusive corner bar cart.
Extend Your Mantel
In a small space, every inch of shelf space is valuable. Add two-tiered shelving to the top of your mantel with a shelf affixed to the wall. It provides a seamless addition of display space.
Define Zones with Rugs
Define each area of your space—especially if you have a studio apartment. Rugs help to create zones and define each nook, instead of giving the impression of one blurred, multi-functional room.
Deploy Old Objects in New Ways
Find creative ways to use objects that you already have. A gorgeous set of antique champagne buckets? Affix them to the wall and use them for flatware storage, as planters for flowers, or as graphic art. When in doubt, go vertical and take advantage of wall space in small rooms.
Don’t be afraid to go big and bold with pattern in small spaces. Add touches of joy through pattern mixing on beds, framed photos, and vibrant wallpaper. Mix with serene neutrals for a grounding base and joyful accents.
Don’t crowd small spaces, like this open-air porch, with furniture and plants. Use well-chosen, sculptural details, like these planters flanking the porch doors. This addition offers visual interest with vertical power but doesn’t eat up too much floor space. A tiny planter by the front door adds just enough charm for this compact facade.
In a small space with one big focal point, like the stunning tub in this small bath, embrace simplicity. Here, bare, white walls give the illusion of more space, and the addition of one large piece of landscape art maintains the clean-lined, spacious, and elegant vibe of the room—but it also adds color, depth, and interest.
Embrace Banquette Seating
When you need flexible seating in a small space, a banquette can be a great go-to. The chairs can be moved throughout the space, but lots of people—kids, friends, family—can crowd onto a banquette for breakfasts, homework, and game nights.
Carefully Curate Tabletops
Clutter is your enemy when you are styling a tabletop. Especially in a foyer, keep things simple with a few well-chosen lamps, frames, and beautiful objects.
Play With Symmetry
In a cozy family room, oversized sofas can be perfect for movie nights, reading hours, and long afternoon naps. If you aren’t concerned with having lots of room to move, fill a small space with comfy, symmetrical seating. Big sofas that mirror each other create an eye-pleasing design that will keep the space feeling clean, not crowded. It will become everyone’s favorite nook.
Shrink Your Favorites
If you have a small space to fill, look to small-scale versions of your favorite pieces, like the loveseat version of a beautiful sofa, or a side table version of a pretty coffee table. It will fill the space with style, only smaller.
Cultivate Container Style
Who has room for all those pots and planters? Combine your favorite floral styles in one compact planter for garden impact that takes up much less space. It’s perfect for a small porch or patio.
Add Color with Flowers
For design in small spaces, flowers work wonders. You can always change the colors and styles, but they add lively impact in vases, small planters, and window boxes.
Keep Countertop Clutter to a Minimum
Nothing makes a kitchen feel smaller than a countertop filled with bowls, utensils, and cookbooks—in a word: clutter. Keep spaces bright, airy, and clean by using shelving and in-drawer storage solutions.
Take Advantage of Nooks and Crannies
In a small area, no corner should go to waste. This nook offers an efficient use of space by adding a refrigerator for drinks, shelving for storing glasses, and a marble-topped counter to corral a small bar and mix up cocktails. It adds party and prep space to a small kitchen.
Decorate Your Walls
Take advantage of empty wall space with creative wall art. Fill a vintage basket with flowers, add art, or hang pretty, graphic objects for decor that doesn’t encroach on your square footage.
Design for Real Life
Who uses the space? There’s limited square footage, so make it work for you, your family, and your pet’s needs by thinking through your daily routines. In this kitchen, a clever, hidden door opens to a cozy bed for a sweet pup. It saves space since there is no need for a kennel.
Go For Brights
In a small area, like this tiny guest bath, bold wallpaper and bright accents lend a lively and airy vibe to the enclosed, windowless room.
Insert a Breakfast Nook
Even in the smallest rooms, breakfast nooks add real impact. They have service—making everything from breakfast to homework to game nights a little easier. Find a way to carve out the space for a breakfast nook in your tiny home (with just a few chairs or a full banquette), and you’ll never look back.
Play With Recessed Spaces
Have any awkward recessed nooks in your small studio? Crannies with no real purpose? Use that small corner for storage. Try tucking your furniture into the area—if you can find just the right size of desk or dresser, the nook will go from waste of space to ultimate storage solution.
Fashion Multi-Purpose Rooms
This home was a two-bedroom with a serious need for more living space. The second bedroom was revamped with turquoise walls and a queen-size daybed to create a multi-purpose den that easily can also serve as a guest bedroom.
Select Multi-Use Furniture
A daybed works wonders in a small space. It can function as both sofa and bed and adds increased flexibility and functionality to a studio apartment, guest room, or living room. This queen bed-daybed hybrid was created by affixing two headboards to a mattress base.
Stack and Lean Art
No room to hang art on the walls? Stack it on the mantel and lean it against the walls. It adds instant style and a casual, mix-and-matched vibe. If there is more art than wall space, create mini galleries throughout the house and branch out—art isn’t just for walls anymore.
Add a Touch of Green
Desperate for some green in your space but no room for pots and planters? Tuck a fiddleleaf fig in the corner, or line up tiny pots of succulents on a windowsill. The fiddleleaf fig will thrive in bright light and regular water, and the succulents require very little attention. Voila!
No space for entertaining inside? Move things outdoors and entertain alfresco. The whole yard can be your living room as long as the weather cooperates. There’s no need for cramped cocktails inside when you can set up table and chairs under the stars.
Search Out Space-Saving Elements
Space-saving pieces with thoughtful features, like the elements in this bath, make the most of a tight space. A single sconce and perfectly proportioned drawers (plus custom under-sink storage) ensure that this space is streamlined, ordered, and impervious to clutter.
Invest in Sconces
No room for tabletop lamps? No extra square footage for a floor lamp? Then sconces are the way to go. They add ambience, illumination, and functional style without eating up valuable floor space.
Keep Cabinetry Streamlined
Hide clutter with streamlined, minimalist-inspired cabinetry. This small kitchen maintains visual consistency by mirroring the style of the cabinets and bar. The glossy white hue keeps things light and airy too. A bar or island is also a great place to incorporate seamless storage—if you can, add drawers for all your tools and a place for a trash can. An island with storage keeps everything hidden and countertops looking clean, but the kitchen remains completely functional.
Use a pair of ottomans to create a clever coffee table that doubles as additional seating. By setting a tray atop the fabric ottoman, you add a sturdy place to set a cup of coffee or style an array of books and beautiful objects.
Incorporate Substantial Storage
While it may be tempting to toss a basket under an open sink for impromptu storage, adding permanent storage can be a better—and more attractive—option. A hefty, enclosed series of drawers and cabinets make a real impact while hiding any and all of the clutter that is bound to accumulate.
Embrace Close Quarters
When small spaces require multiple functions—like this dining room-living room space—cluster furniture to create defined spaces. Instead of a single sofa, add a sofa and a loveseat at a right angle and tuck a small table in the open corner. Much like puzzle pieces, well-chosen furniture elements can fit together closely and seamlessly without feeling cramped or cluttered.
Paint Walls White
It’s quintessential small-space advice: Paint your walls white. And it’s a classic tip for a reason. White walls add an airy lightness that makes any small room feel more spacious.
Add Unexpected Vibrancy
White walls can work wonders, but in a small space with lots of windows, add a vibrant color that draws the eye in and interacts playfully with colors both inside and outside. That vibrant color can be found in pillows or art, but for a bold addition, paint the ceiling. This ceiling is adorned in a deep, saturated emerald hue, a nod to its waterside setting, and a gorgeous design element for this small living area.
Use a Rug To Create Cohesion
When you have lots of pieces that you love in a small space, embrace the vivacity created by the mix, but use a neutral rug in a subdued pattern to tie all of the colors and textures together. Even the most eclectic of spaces needs a grounding base, and a rug can offer that stability.
Make the Space Work For You
If there are any architectural or design elements that aren’t functional or that you don’t want to use, then change them and make them work for you. Here, the designer covered the front of the fireplace with antiqued mirrors. This effect adds interest and makes the formerly boarded-up hearth a welcome sight, not an eyesore. Instead of leaving it open to access, the designer placed matching chairs in front of the fireplace. There’s no need to access the area, so seating works perfectly here—and looks great when reflected in the fireplace’s new, mirrored design.
Think Outside the Cabinet
No room for a full set of kitchen cabinetry? Try using freestanding pieces, like this antique case, that can be hung and repurposed as over-the-sink storage. It’s simply inspired.
Go Wild for Wallpaper
Tiny spaces are the perfect places to branch out and try bold wallpapers and paint colors. The vibrant wallpaper in this small bath packs just enough punch.
Maximize In-Between Areas
In this space, the owners enclosed an upstairs balcony to form a second-floor study. Instead of a landing that was only used for passing through (a.k.a., wasted space), now the room is perfect for lounging or hosting guests, who can sleep on the room’s foldout sofa.
Style With Accessories
Your space should evolve with you, but it isn’t always convenient (or in the budget) to buy new furniture to fit your space and your mood. Make changes with pillows and accents. Mix and match colors and patterns to create a brand new room in a snap.
Flex Your Furniture
If you have limited space but also have a big family or lots of regular guests, focus on the flexibility of the pieces, colors, and design elements that you already have. This family created a bunkroom by lining up four Jenny Lind beds painted in bright red. It’s a maximized space that is also flexible—it’s great for kids and guests alike, and the configuration can be changed on a dime.
Open Up the Floor Plan
This cramped kitchen doubled in size when the owners took out the wall separating the breakfast room and kitchen. The open floor plan makes the whole area feel more spacious.
Keep Bedsides Simple
There are few other places in the house that can become as cluttered as this tiny corner. Use a bedside table with a substantial drawer to store and hide unwanted clutter, and style the tabletop with a simple lamp and carefully chosen design elements to keep things simple—and peaceful.
Brighten With Benches
This small foyer doesn’t have room for a big desk or other substantial furniture, so this small, brightly painted bench works wonders. It adds a pop of color to a neutral, dark space, and it provides a perfect perch for groceries or bags. Make the most of in-between spaces, and remember how you use the room. Design for function—design for real life.
Avoid Stumbling Blocks
In a narrow space like this living room, don’t be afraid to forgo typical design features if they don’t work in the area. This room doesn’t try to squeeze a coffee table between the parallel sofas; instead, it allows the seating to flank the focal point of the room, the gorgeous fireplace, and it leaves plenty of legroom between the sofas.
Design Customizable Elements
This birch-bark cardholder is used for Christmas cards in December but can be customized with photos and keepsakes all year long. Incorporate simple, flexible elements (like photo displays) into your space so that you can update them—and so that guests can fawn over them. A beautiful feature, like this birch-bark cardholder, can also stand on its own without additions.
Create An Eat-in Kitchen
If you don’t have a dining room—or if you decided to turn the dining room into a living room and now need a place to eat—try tucking a table and chairs into the kitchen. It’s easy enough to create an eat-in kitchen, even if you are tight on space. Try a foldout café table and two chairs for a tiny space, or a banquette and substantial breakfast table for an area with more space to move.