9 Design Techniques for Small Spaces

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Image: Archdaily

When it comes to small space living, the Scandinavians have it down. Most apartments are quite small, and most houses even have a small feeling due to lowered ceilings, closed floor plans, and small doorways. Because of this, they’ve learned to adjust their lifestyles to align with the spaces they inhabit, and I believe we could learn a thing or two from them.

Images:The Design Sheppard, Anthropologie, Planete Deco, Willow Decor

1. Multifunctional and hideaway furniture

There are a number of companies out there that specialize in small space living. They focus on items that are smaller in scale and that also serve multiple functions. For example, this kitchen doubles as a sink and oven range and then closes up to act as the counter. It’s raised up and mounted to the wall so that it doesn’t take up floor space.

2. Small furniture

The ‘90s saw the trend of oversized furniture and now, we’ve realized that you don’t actually need a triple sized fridge or a gigantic sofa. If you don’t use it, don’t buy it! Here, a mini fridge is all that was needed for the kitchen. The furniture placed below the windows allows the natural light to come in, which also makes the room appear larger.

3. Go vertical. Small space living is all about looking up

If you have kitchen shelves, stack them all the way to the top. Bookcases? Go up!

4. Translucent furniture

Blocky furniture stunts the view in a room while translucent furniture enhances it. This acrylic coffee table is a great way to “add” space to a room.

Small SpacesImages: NVUS, Desire to Inspires, Bohemia Shop, Elle Interior

5. Floor to ceiling curtains

This studio space functions as a bedroom, kitchen, and living room, but it all seems so cohesive because it’s unified in colors AND it has beautiful floor-to-ceiling draperies on the 4-post bed. Floor to ceiling draperies heighten a ceiling and draw your eye up, which creates the illusion of space.

6. Line the perimeter of the wall with storage

This is a fun trick that eliminates the need for bulky furniture. The art placed on top of the storage draws the eye to the higher part of the wall.

7. Use airy custom detailing

This simple and modern space has a few techniques that make the multi-purpose room seem larger. For example, the railings of the stairs and stairs themselves are open, allowing the eye to view the back of the room. The furniture pieces are not heavy so it creates a light feeling.

8. Get clever with your furniture pieces

The designers of this space saw the value of vertical space and decided to build a workspace on top of a storage area that’s accessible by ladder. Another way to do this without custom building is using bunk beds or a heightened bed with storage underneath.

9. Use lots of white

(Top Image) The light wood flooring and white cabinets create a luscious and airy feel to the otherwise small space. It’s also enhanced with a table attached to the wall and high cabinets that take advantage of the taller walls.

What do you do to make your space seem larger? Tips welcome!

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Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter who just returned to America after 2 1/2 years in wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is "a creative mess is better than tidy idleness" and she lives each day accordingly. During graduate school for interior design she spent one summer working for designers Jonathan Adler and Celerie Kemble and another summer studying textile design at the Danish Design School. She created her blog, The House That Lars Built, as a way to keep her designing and crafting. She currently runs her blog and her etsy shop, where she sells her home accessories and paper flowers.