Small space, big potential

Last Updated on : 2nd May 2017

City living can often mean exploiting small spaces for maximum benefit. From dual-use rooms to multi-functioning furniture, it’s time to explore every nook and cranny, says Georgina Blaskey


Zone out

If you have a one room or studio set-up, you need to create zones. Think about all the things you do in that space – work, dine, relax – and then create spaces that work for these activities. Through subtle distinctions you can establish ‘rooms’. Play with modular seating arrangements – make use of window seats in a bay window or utilise a wall for a banquette in a compact kitchen. Well-designed lighting can also successfully divide a room.


All is not what it seems

Furniture designers are responding to our needs with cleverly designed pieces that fold, stack and collapse easily to save us time and space in our compact homes. Much-loved by Scandinavians for centuries, daybeds are a great investment to give you daytime sofa seating and a place for your guests when they stay over. Even better is a fold-down bed that can be hidden way when not in use.



By using mirrors in narrow hallways, you can bounce light into a small, gloomy space. But don’t stop there. Mirrored splash backs are bang on trend – antique glass is the current fave – and even mirrored kitchen wall cupboards can create a sense of expansiveness and height. Enhance your garden with an outdoor mirror – it’s a modern way to add interest to bare walls and planting schemes.


Curate your collection

Take time to consider how your furniture will impact your small space and make every piece count. Choose a lamp that offers decorative interest as well as light, and go for smaller items that can be easily moved around to different zones when needed, such as a pair of side tables rather than one big central table. Replace bedside table lights with individual hanging lights, which are far more stylish and take up less space.


Calm it down

Using the same scheme throughout with subtly varying tones and textures can help a space feel bigger. A good tip is to paint the walls and celling the same colour so there is no break between them. You can even use painted furniture, bed linens and curtains in the same hue to blur all boundaries and help the space seamlessly flow.


Grand gestures

Pokey corners don’t need to mean plain, simple choices. By going to town on a few key items, you can make a potentially boring room exciting and inspiring. If you’re choosing a mirror, opt for a decorative frame. If you need a central light, be opulent with an eye-catching chandelier. Don’t be afraid to really decorate the space and you’ll enjoy it so much more.


Up, up and away

If you can raise the height of a doorway you’ll immediately benefit from the change of proportions. Look up in every room and see what can be achieved. Library-style shelving with a ladder on runners is a fantastic, interesting and quirky design technique to maximise space and storage. Equally take your kitchen cabinetry to the ceiling.


Built-in storage

Paying for bespoke storage is certainly worth it in a small space. Every nook can be used to give you the shelving, seating, fold-down desk or storage cupboard you need (you’ve got to put the hoover somewhere). Paint it the same colour as the walls so it blends in.




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