From cramped kitchens to petite powder rooms, small homes have their charm—and their drawbacks. In order to keep a clean, organized space in a less-than-spacious home, you must get creative with storage and furniture. Not sure where to start? We got you covered.
Whether it’s a trick to make rooms feel bigger (mirrors: the oldest trick in the design book) or a simple storage solution that will save you floor space, take note of these ideas that’ll have your sweet little space feeling spacious before you know it.
Scroll on for 20 clever ways to make the most of a tight space.
Wow With Wallpaper
A small room + an oversized wallpaper design = a wow factor, guaranteed. Black Lacquer Design punched up this powder room with moody, tropical wallpaper—and not much else. A pedestal sink takes up minimal real estate, and the mirror’s reflection tricks your eye into thinking the space is bigger than it is.
Keep Your Colors Neutral
As this petite A-frame cabin—available to rent—proves, keeping your color palette in a swath of neutrals does two things: it creates a calming effect, and the sea of taupes and tans enlarges a room, since the space as a whole grabs your eye, instead of individual pieces of décor.
DIY-er extraordinaire Erin Francois of Francois et Moi broke out her saw and drill to turn her dingy, eye sore of a back hall into this sweet space. Now it’s not only beautiful, but thanks to the peg rail wainscoting, it’s also functional. Hooks are an easy and inexpensive trick to getting items organized and off the floor, a must in a small space.
Make Murphy Beds Cool Again
Think this is a normal bedroom? It is—kind of. Take a page from Marie Flanigan Interiors, who outfitted this upstairs loft with a Murphy bed so the bed can be tucked away, opening up floor space for a workout area. If you need a bedroom to serve as so much more than just a place to sleep, a Murphy bed is the way to go.
Hang Open Shelves
If you’re craving an airier feeling in a tight kitchen, ditch cabinets in favor of open shelves. As Karen Emile of Milk and Honey Life’s kitchen proves, open shelves are significantly less bulky, and the continuous length elongates a space.
Plus, open shelving lets you show off your prettiest ceramics.
Lift It Up
If ceiling height isn’t an issue, consider raising a bed up—way up—to accommodate some serious storage. Mega under-the-bed storage is particularly helpful in a guest bedroom that doubles as the room where you store sweaters for the winter or stash your high school yearbooks. Add a step stool, and voila.
A small entryway where you might not have room to kick off your shoes makes for a more charming "welcome home" with hand-painted wallpaper. She She, a Minneapolis-based duo who creates custom hand-painted wallpaper, both brightened and enlarged this tight squeeze of a space with a one-of-a-kind, spring chinoiserie design.
Hang a Gallery Wall
For a slim space, like a hallway or a powder room, don’t be afraid to go big with art. Gallery walls will never go out of style, and they add dimension to an otherwise overlooked space, décor-wise (Sorry, hallways). M. Lavender Interiors hung a uniform gallery wall, but feel free to get funky with it too.
Select Furniture With Dual Purposes
One day, ottomans could serve as seating during a cocktail party. The next, a footrest as you nurse a hangover, and the next, an extension of the coffee table. The fact that they partially slide under the actual coffee table, sparing precious inches of floor space? All the better.
Pieces that serve multiple purposes, like these ottomans in a living room designed by Studio Ten 25, are a must in a small space.
Hang Symmetrical Pendants
Good lighting is a room maker or breaker no matter the space’s size, but it’s especially important for brightening (and warming) up a small space. Take a cue from this bedroom designed by Anne Sage.
The symmetrical pendants create an optical illusion of height, while the soft glow lightens up even the tiniest of rooms—and don’t even get us started on that too-cute wallpaper.
Create Storage in Architectural Details
Rule #1 of small spaces: get creative with storage. In this living room, KT2 Design Group made the most of a window seat bench, adding storage to every direction of the window. If you’re working with interesting architectural details around your windows, replicate this to create a cozy reading nook and storage bench.
Double Up On Beds
Double the beds, double the fun. Say your kids outnumber the bedrooms in your house, or maybe you’re outfitting a cabin that’ll occasionally house a handful of guests, kids, or adults. Bunk beds are a classic solution, as Ashley Webb Interiors proves here. And how sweet is that slim staircase? So sweet.
Don’t Forget the Space Under Your Stairs
Every inch counts in a small home, including the space under your staircase. Maestri Studio turned what could have been forgotten square footage into a kids’ hideout den, perfect for reading, coloring or hiding from siblings.
Or, slightly more mundane, you could use this squat space to store holiday decorations and other items you’ll drag out once a year.
Reimagine the Purpose of an Awkward Space
What’s a confusing “what do I do with this?” space to one is a perfect minibar to another. If you’re working with a sliver of empty space, take inspiration from JL Design and consider if it’s enough square footage to add a wine fridge, a mini countertop to shake (or stir) cocktails, and a couple of floating shelves to show off your best bottles. Cheers to that.
Create Multipurpose Stations
The desk where you take Zoom calls in the morning can evolve into the countertop where you roll out the dough in the afternoon into the table where you work on a jigsaw puzzle in the evenings.
Multipurpose corners of your home make a small space more functional. Simply add a stool, like Arbor & Co. did for this mini desk/kitchen counter. If you have a window view, even better.
Take It to the Ceiling
When you need to take advantage of every last inch, don’t let the often forgotten about space between the tops of cabinets—kitchen, bathroom, mudroom—and the ceiling get dusty. Instead, select cabinets that extend all the way to the ceiling.
The benefits are two-fold: the room will appear taller, and therefore larger, and you’ll also gain more storage. Win/win.
Nix a Shower Curtain in Favor of a Glass Wall
In this dreamy bathroom, Prospect Refuge Studio created a bathing platform, a defined space for showering and bathing that maintains sightlines and an airy feel. The glass wall is key to providing division without visually chopping the bathroom in half. Take this glass theory into any room, switching out solid doors for glass ones, or enlarging windows wherever possible.
Reconsider Rooms and Downsize
Forget a laundry room—how about a laundry closet? Designer Marie Flanigan got smart with small space solutions for her own garage apartment, including installing shelving units to tuck away laundry machines and pantry items. So efficient.
It’s no myth that mirrors have a way of opening up a space, bouncing around light and reflections to make any room feel larger and brighter. Black and Blooms knew this when she propped a full-length mirror in her bedroom. Now, she nearly doubled the appearance of her bedroom and can check her lipstick before leaving the house.
Stick with a Round Dining Table
While there’s nothing particularly small about this dining area designed by Proem Studio (lucky homeowners), there’s a clear takeaway: a round dining table is the way to go when you’re on a mission to save space.
Petite round tables can fit into small spaces, such as a breakfast nook, better, and they’re easier to wiggle around when space is tight.