Posts Tagged ‘decorating tips’

Decorating Small Space

In Design on January 24, 2010 at 8:59 am

I’m not an expert, but after going over many,  many interior design resources, I’ve gotten a lot of tips on how to decorate small space. Also, by simply looking at people’s spaces, you already get ideas what makes good design.

For small spaces,  the biggest challenge, is how to create more space with small space.


  1. Color Harmony and Pattern – this is a very basic design concept, but sometimes people forget how important this is.  It’s not just about getting a nice art deco print as wall paper and buying that really sleek  furniture.  Sometimes, the furniture may not match the color of your cabinets or the wall paint.  Know what colors and shades look good together, and how all the stuff you intend to put in your space will blend together.  Too many colors can seem cluttered or having  too many loud colors or patterns can make a room look over the top or unclassy.  Getting the right color and pattern combination can make or break your space.   Establish the main colors that you want to use, and when you make your purchase whether it’s  furniture or some throw pillows, always go back to your color scheme.   A few color accents that divert from your main colors are fine, just don’t overdo it.  Strike a balance.

    Kids Bedroom from Tumidei. A room that achieves color harmony and balance. An example of efficient use of space

    Contrasting colors on this tiny bathroom creates illusion of space and livens up the space

  2. The right furniture –  for small spaces,  you really need to put much thought on furniture.  You have to go for the small, sleek, multi-functional furniture.   Before buying furniture, it’s a good idea to have measurements of your space (always bring a tape measure), to make sure  the furniture you’re buying is just the right size.  Or have it custom made.  It would be nice if you have one or two accent furniture pieces.  Beautiful furniture adds to the personality of your space.

    A table that converts into a picture frame by Ivy Design

    Compact Office by Crate & Barrel

    Sofa that converts to a bed and a lounge from Stacks & Stacks

  3. Storage & Shelving – every little nook and corner counts.  Optimizing storage is important.    It takes away clutter and keeps you organized.  if  you have enough money,  invest on a a really good cabinet maker to help you design an efficient storage system.   For me, when I think of storage,  I just don’t think about where to store my clothes or kitchen  items.  I also think about where I can store other stuff like  mops and other cleaning items, a vacuum cleaner, or the ironing board.  You don’t want these things lying around the room.  Hide the ugly and display the beautiful as far as house ware is concerned. 😛

    Small Office Space Design with a simple shelving system

    Compact Wardrobe perfect for small spaces by Naomi Dean

  4. Appliances with today’s technology, a lot of the bulky appliances and electronic devices have become tiny and sleek.   If you ask me, go modern when buying appliances.  They take up less space.  And,  I couldn’t stress enough about color.   If you’re eyeing for a modern look, then choose  safe or neutral colors for your appliances.   Honestly, I really hate anything that’s not black, white or silver, but different folks different strokes.

    One gadget that can do almost anything.

    Go for the sleek TV

  5. Moulding and Trims -trims and mouldings is what I call the icing on the cake.  It’s that extra thing  that makes your space look prim and special.  It’s optional,  but putting trims can tranform a boring room to a lively one.

    White trims on the wall and around the windows and doors accentuate the red paint of the hallway

  6. Mirrors – an old trick but still works.  Create an illusion of space by installing mirrors.  The wider the mirror, the better, but of course, you have to check if you have space for a big mirror and where you want to put it.  It depends on the layout and design  of your space.
  7. Good Lighting – lighting  creates drama to your space.  From observation, lighting affects the way you see color.   Some colors look good on natural light.  Flourescent light may not always be the best choice for interior designing.  It can make some colors look unflattering.   Tungsten lights, though not as energy efficient are probably the best lighting.    I would probably install both.  If  I’m entertaining guests, I  would turn on my tungsten lights, but for everyday use, I’d turn on my flourescent. Also, apart from visual aesthetics, consider functionality of lighting.  It’s not all drama. Lighting has to be functional.

  8. Smaller Details – things like  china, kitchen utensils, bathroom items,  rugs, decorative & art pieces,  and other knick knacks matter.   Your space reflects your personality so your ‘other stuff’ matters.  For me, show that aspect of your personality you like people to see.  Impressions last. For smaller spaces, you can’t have too much though.

    Your furnishings reflect your personality

  9. Cleanliness – with a small space, it’s better to stay clean and avoid clutter.  Minimal is better.  Your space shouldn’t look like a big storage room.
  10. Budget – consider your finances, before decorating.  If you go over your budget, you might leave some things unfinished.  If you are working on a small budget, I think you need to prioritize what is more important, and I guess everyone knows this, but having a good color paint has to be first.  You don’t need to buy all the things you want all at once, just focus on the things that you need first.  Still, even if you have a tight budget, you can still have good design.  And if you remember the first tip about color harmony, I think it will do as a start until you have enough to buy yourself good furniture and other furnishings.  Some design experts even advise that you don’t need to buy everything at once, because you might find something that you like in the future, and guess what? You have no more space to put them.  I believe this is good advise.  You should make space for future purchases. 🙂

Resources (and some of my favorite blogs): smallplacestyle | desiretoinspire | momoy | smallspaceresources | potterybarn | containerstore | stackandstacks | ikea | wshome | crateandbarrel | lampplus