Space Case Design’s 10 Favorite Ways to Live Large in a Small Space


Small space living is on the rise in these times compared to previous decades. Many people are choosing a more intimate dwelling as an aim to reduce their carbon footprint and live within their means. Some are choosing to downsize to a small living space to make life easier and more manageable. No matter what the reason for choosing to do so, there are so many amazing ways to live large in a small space.  

A beautiful small apartment design

A beautiful small apartment design offers all the conventions of a home twice its size.

In small rooms we need to make sure that every piece of furniture serves as many purposes as possible. A designer needs to be creative about how to use walls and open space to incorporate additional living centers in which one can enjoy themselves and live fully.  Below, I share Space Case Design’s 10 Favorite Ways to Live Large in a Small Space. 
1. Define an Entry –There are many ways to create a defined entry in a small space. Having a place to land upon walking in will keep clutter from merging into other areas and overwhelming a room. You might define an entry with a small console near the front door or a few shelves on the wall with storage baskets below. If that is not possible then it could be as simple as a hook for your coat and bag and a wall mounted inbox for mail. The idea is to create a landing area so that everything in your arms doesn’t end up on the bed or the floor. 

Small Space Living

Small console defines an entry, provides storage and a landing strip for everyday items.

2. Choose multi-purpose Furniture pieces –For example, use a drop leaf table to double as a display and an eating area. In a very small space plan, a drop leaf table can provide a console like display and focal point wall as well as a functional place to eat for 2-6 guests. This configuration can work in an entry/dining room and kitchen/dining room configuration.Try to find furniture that does more than one thing: an ottoman that also provides storage or a bench to sit on, put your tv on, or store baskets underneath.

Drop leaf table design.

Cute and cheerful drop leaf table. Design by Charmean Neithart Interiors, LLC.

3.  Create More Wall Space with a Room Divider, Screen or Curtains –Screens are a wonderful way to create needed wall space in a small room. When walking into a home that has an open space living plan, a screen can be placed near the door to create the illusion of a formal entry. Screens are also a useful item to use when floating furniture in the middle of a space to create a wall where there isn’t one. Finally, a set of curtains can add a feeling of walls to a room as well as add privacy.

Room curtains to divide a room

Curtains create a wall where there is none and serve as a beautiful divider the small space.

Room Screen Design

Floating furniture backed by a room screen creates a wall in an open space.

4. Use Sofas, Beds and Other Furniture to Create Floating Furniture Arrangements–In a small bedroom we must get creative with the space. What we are aiming for are multiple living centers within a room whenever possible. We need the bedroom to function as more than just a place to sleep.  In this bedroom, the designer pushed the bed up against the window and added a desk to the end. In the following image, the room is narrow and the end of the bed serves as the perfect place for a chest of drawers. The designs are well balanced and the furniture fits the scale so it all works. Adding seating to the end of a bed or a bench to the wall if there is room, is also a wonderful idea to make a bedroom more functional and add visual points of interest which make a space feel larger.

Desk at the end of the bed.

A desk at the end of the bed turns a place to sleep into a multifunctional space to enjoy.

Dresser at the end of the bed

Dresser at the end of the bed in a narrow room is brilliant design.

Use the back of the sofa to place a table or a small desk. It will divide the room and add more function to a small space.

Use the back of the sofa to place a table or a small desk. It will divide the room and add more function to a small space.

5. Add shelves, hooks and additional storage to small rooms-– The bathroom is often a small space when compared to other parts of the home and the vanity and sink area are a very important area in which to make sure there is full space utilization. Here, in this small bathroom the designer has added towel storage under the vanity, an extra shelf above the sink to place items used at each visit, a tiered storage caddy at the side of the sink and hooks for hanging multiple towels.

Small Bathroom Design

Small bathroom design provides extra shelving, useful hooks and a storage caddy to add function to this small space.

6. Maximize the Height in Small Spaces –A great way to make a tiny seating area feel large is to maximize the height of the room. Hanging curtains from floor to ceiling or create an expansive salon style art hanging to make the room interesting and feel full scale.

Coffee and dining table with leaves.

Flush mount accent lighting and curtains hung from floor to ceiling help to make this tiny space feel large.

7. Figure out the Scale of a Room and Select Furniture to Fit–Choose a sofa that fits the room. Often the arms take up the most space so a narrow track arm sofa or armless seating can be great options. Choose occasional furniture to fit the scale. A coffee table can double as a storage place for books, games, and magazines, while the table top itself remains a place for enjoying those items and a refreshment. Also,make sure there is enough space to have an end table with a pretty lamp. Warm and atmospheric lighting is essential for enjoying a small space.

Small Living Room Design

Nice clean sofa with salon style art wall, coffee table and book storage. Great small space living room.

8. Define More Living Centers in Your Small Space by ADDING Furniture and Art to Your Small Space— Yes, that’s right! I am suggesting for you to ADD more to the space. This is a point which comes up often in client consultations. I realize, that it seems logical, that adding more furniture to a space that is tiny will make it seem even smaller. But, more often than not, there is too little furniture in the room and not enough on the walls. Just like in an art composition, it’s important to create a foreground, mid-ground and background in your design. The eye must be able to journey back into a canvas, stopping on one spot and moving again further to another. This creates the illusion of space. Adding the right pieces can make all the difference in the beauty and use of a small area.

Small Space Living

In one open space a designer has defined a bedroom, formal sitting room with storage and a TV area.

9. Choose Furniture on Wheels When Possible— Furniture on wheels = mobility and multifunction. A small mobile chopping board in the kitchen can double as a great tea cart to serve wine, cheese and crackers when guests arrive.

Rolling Cart Design

Rolling cart serving as an office caddy tucked nicely into a corner.

Rolling Coffee Table

Coffee table on wheels and with storage makes for a perfect occasional piece for a small living room.

A mobile island or cutting board with shelves is a functional addition to a tiny kitchen.

A mobile island or cutting board with shelves is a functional addition to a tiny kitchen.

10. Commit to Seasonal Clean Out Parties — Reviewing your possessions 4 times a year to keep them to only the things you use and/or love will help to free space up for better living. Take a look at what is in your closet, cupboards, in the magazine rack. Invite friends or loved ones to come over, partake in refreshments and clean with you. Sell your extra stuff on craigslist, give it to a friend or loved one who might enjoy it or just donate it at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Get that stuff out of your house so that you have more space for living! And don’t forget to detox the bathroom and kitchen. Typically items of food or beauty product should be thrown out yearly.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed Space Case Design’s tips for living large in a small space. Small spaces are among the most intimate and lovely. For tips and help that relate directly to your personal space, please contact us for a consultation.