By choice or circumstance, many of us live - or have lived - in small spaces. From inner city apartments to homes that are renovated within the limitation of narrow grounds, the challenge of small space styling becomes as much about creativity as it does about being selective - where furniture, art and objects are necessarily layered, if not integrated. When it works, it feels intuitive: a space that is easy to navigate but has distinct purpose areas, blending function and utility with personality, style and narrative. The alternative? Clutter…a home without refuge nor visual and spatial reprieve which is why we’ve put together our top 3 rules for styling, small space living.
When done well, small space styling feels intuitive where furniture, art and objects are necessarily layered. Via @slow_roads
Less is more.
If ever there was a need to justify investing in a single superlative piece of furniture over the convenience of more for less, this is it. In small spaces, everything becomes visible and the furniture you choose becomes the furniture that defines a room’s tone or overarching atmosphere. Where there is no need to fill or create clutter, choose pieces that are not only elevated now but will remain relevant in years to come, building a strong foundation over which to layer truly loved possessions, objects of art and pieces that hold sentiment.
Where there is no need to fill or create clutter, choose pieces that are not only elevated now but will remain relevant in years to come, building a strong foundation over which to layer truly loved possessions, objects of art and pieces that hold sentiment. Left via @pinterrest, right: The Wave side table in New York for @paigepettitdesign
Problem solving space with areas of built in shelves or seating (that can also double as storage) will also allow these pieces to sing. We love: booth-like seating around a dining table and curved-edge pieces that are both space saving and inherently elegant.
We love: booth-like seating around a dining table and curved-edge pieces that are both space saving and inherently elegant. Left: via @hp_ and right: via @scoutandnimble
Create separation through colour, textiles and lighting.
Small homes or apartments usually flow from one space to the other or can be open plan with kitchen, dining and living areas melding collectively into one. Creating distinction between these spaces gives them identity as much as purpose and is incredibly important in cultivating an impression of comfort or relaxation versus active areas in which we might work, eat or cook.
Subtle borders create distinction between spaces with different purposes. Left: via @ricardromain, right: via @thedesignfiles
From a patterned rug or tiled floor to a different coloured wall, panel or partition, subtle borders can cleverly structure any floor plan just as overhead lighting can animate whereas lamplight usually softens to create intimacy and a feeling of refuge.
Lamplight vs overhead lighting creates a different atmosphere and personality within open plan areas. Via @elinskoglund
Where possible, bring the outdoors in.
Flooding small spaces with natural light is not only expansive but builds an important connection between the outside world and our interior. Perhaps it's part of the human condition, but to see sky or garden creates a deep sense of calm which, when we bridge these boundaries through bifold doors, skylight or large windows, changes our perception of physical space as much as it improves our state of mind and emotional wellbeing.
Where there is no opportunity to do this, we recommend using mirrors - both large and small - to redirect light, reflect greenery and create the impression of depth within otherwise small, dark or enclosed areas.