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Expert Tips for Decorating in a Small Space

Updated: Sep 27

Living in a small space doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style and personality. With the right decorating approach, you can create a cozy, inviting, and functional space that reflects your unique taste. In this post, we’ll share expert tips and tricks for decorating in a small space, helping you make the most of every square inch, transforming your small space into a stylish retreat you’ll love to call home.

Key Takeaways

  • Maximize vertical space and choose multi-functional furniture to create a luxurious look in small spaces.

  • Embrace natural light, use color wisely, and experiment with patterns & textures for an inviting atmosphere.

  • Invest in stylish organization solutions while considering traffic flow & window treatments to optimize your living area!

Maximize Vertical Space

Small living room with furniture arranged to maximize vertical space

Thinking vertically is beneficial in small spaces. Here are some ideas to maximize your valuable floor space and make your tiny living room feel larger and more organized:

  • Install tall shelves for storage

  • Use wall-mounted storage solutions

  • Hang plants from the ceiling

  • Opt for furniture with compact dimensions

  • Choose light and airy pieces, such as a floor lamp or a glass-top coffee table with a delicate gold base

By implementing these ideas, you can create a space-savvy look in your living area.

There are plenty of creative ways to maximize vertical space, such as floor-to-ceiling curtains, using small stools instead of coffee tables, hanging plants to avoid taking up floor space, and creating vignettes on top of multipurpose side tables. The benefits of vertical design include providing plenty of storage options, making a stylish statement, and giving a luxurious built-in effect, all while making the most of the available space.

Choose Multi-functional Furniture

Multi-functional furniture in a small living room

Multi-functional furniture proves to be extremely versatile in small spaces like studio apartments, offering numerous functions, and is therefore an ideal choice for compact living. By maximizing functionality while taking up less square footage, multi-functional furniture helps you make the most of a small space.

Some examples of multi-functional furniture that provide additional storage space include:

  • Sofa bed

  • Storage ottoman

  • Expandable dining table

  • Swing hung from the ceiling

Investing in pieces with unexpected storage compartments and space-saving extensions, using a tiny table with a substantial drawer to store and hide unwanted clutter, and adding shelves that also have hooks are all great tips for using multi-functional furniture to decorate small spaces.

Embrace Natural Light

Living room with natural light coming through the windows

A small space can feel more open and welcoming with the infusion of natural light. To optimally enhance natural light, you can:

  • Use sheer curtains and light colors

  • Consider incorporating multi-functional furniture, such as a sofa bed, to make the most of the available space

  • Add Roman shades to add a cheerful touch and brighten up the space

Allowing natural light to enter a small area invigorates the space, making it more inviting and comfortable for small space living. Sheer curtains can bring a brighter, more open atmosphere to a small space with limited square footage by enhancing the natural light already present. Placing a table area near a window in a small space brings an extra sense of openness to the room by taking advantage of natural light, which is an essential aspect of small space decorating.

Use Color Wisely

Living room with bright colors to create an inviting space

A cohesive color palette is a wise choice when decorating a small space, incorporating pops of color through accents, and using color-blocking to define zones. Color blocking can be used to add a sense of definition and structure to a tiny living room, making it appear larger and more inviting. Matching your drapes to your wall is a great way to create a unified look.

Neutral colors, such as bright white, bold charcoal, or warm chocolate, can help make a small space look bigger. Some ways to incorporate neutral colors in a small space include:

  • Using a neutral rug to bring together a range of elements and create a unified look

  • Selecting a neutral color for paint and larger furniture pieces to create a blank canvas

  • Introducing vibrant accents, such as patterned pillows or wall accents, that draw attention and add pops of color

By incorporating these tips, you can create a visually appealing and spacious feel in your small space, even when dealing with limited space.

Create Zones with Furniture Arrangement

Living room with furniture arranged to create zones

You can enhance your small living room’s functionality by arranging furniture to define distinct activity zones. For instance, you can create a seating area for conversation and a workspace for productivity by clustering furniture in different areas of the room. In a small living room designed by Avery Cox, four beautifully blue-painted rattan chairs are invitingly oriented towards each other for delightful visits.

Utilizing rugs to create zones and define each nook is another great way to create distinct zones in a small space. Accent seating can transform a small space and make it more practical. It takes the form of deck seating which can be used as needed, but remains out of the way when not in use.

Utilize Mirrors for Illusion

Living room with mirrors to create an illusion of more space

The illusion of a larger, brighter room can be created by strategically placing mirrors to reflect light and expand space. Placing mirrors strategically throughout your small living room can help enhance the space, bounce light, and create a beautiful illusion of more space.

In addition to adding mirrors to your walls, consider placing a mirror on the floor or propping a mirror against a wall to create the illusion of more square footage in a small kitchen or other tiny space.

Keep Clutter Under Control

Living room with hidden storage to keep clutter under control

In a small space, managing clutter effectively is of utmost importance. With smart storage solutions and regular decluttering, you can maintain a clean, organized living area that feels more spacious and inviting. Look for creative ways to add storage when renovating, such as built-in shelves, decorative baskets, or chic storage boxes, and you’ll be amazed at how much space you can create.

Investing in stylish storage solutions, such as attractive shelving or decorative baskets, can help elegantly separate everyday items and things you don’t use every day, helping to keep your space organized and clutter-free.

Opt for Slim and Leggy Furniture

A picture of slim and leggy furniture, perfect for decorating in a small space

Choosing slim, leggy furniture when decorating a small space fosters an open and airy ambiance. This type of furniture allows for better traffic flow and visual openness, making the room feel larger and more inviting. Slim and leggy furniture is a stylish and modern design choice that creates a sense of openness and spaciousness in smaller spaces, including chairs, tables, sofas, and other pieces that have a sleek and slender design with thin, straight legs.

Stunning examples of slim and leggy furniture include:

  • Chairs

  • Tables

  • Sofas

  • Other pieces with slim profiles and elevated legs

These pieces not only maximize the space in your living area but also add a contemporary touch to any interior design style.

Scale Down Artwork and Accessories

Living room with scaled down artwork and accessories

Downscaling artwork and accessories to fit the room’s proportions is a necessary step when decorating a small space. Oversized pieces can overwhelm the space, while items that are too small can make it feel cluttered.

By selecting artwork and accessories that are appropriately sized for your space, you can create a harmonious and well-designed room that feels inviting and visually appealing.

Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

Living room with quality furniture and decor

Quality should take precedence over quantity when choosing furniture and decor for a small space. Invest in fewer, high-quality pieces that will last and bring a sense of luxury and refinement to your space.

Choosing well-made, durable furniture and decor not only ensures your investment will stand the test of time but also helps create a more polished and sophisticated look in your small living area.

Add Greenery to Your Space

Living room with plants to add greenery to the space

A small room can be rejuvenated and freshened up by introducing greenery. Potted plants, hanging planters, or vertical gardens can help create an inviting atmosphere and add a touch of nature to your living area. A fiddleleaf fig tucked into a corner creates a beautiful statement, and lining up tiny pots of succulents on a windowsill is a great way to add a touch of nature to the room.

Hanging baskets are a fantastic way to save space while still adding greenery to your home. By combining your favorite floral styles in one neat planter, you can create a beautiful impact and make the most of your garden in a small space.

Incorporate Transparent Elements

Living room with transparent elements to create a more open space

Transparent elements like acrylic or glass furniture can be incorporated to minimize visual clutter and establish a more open feel in a small space. This type of furniture allows light to pass through, creating an illusion of spaciousness and making the room feel larger and more inviting.

Additionally, transparent furniture adds a modern and minimalistic touch to your space, blending seamlessly with a variety of interior design styles.

Be Strategic with Lighting

Living room with strategic lighting to create a cozy atmosphere

Layering different types of light sources is a strategic approach to lighting in a small space, such as ambient, task, and accent lighting. This creates a well-lit and inviting space that feels cozy and comfortable. Layered lighting typically includes ambient, task, and accent lighting, providing a complete and balanced lighting solution that creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.

In a small space, it’s essential to make the most of natural light, as well as adding various light sources throughout the room. Consider using floor lamps, table lamps, and wall-mounted sconces to create a layered lighting effect that adds depth and dimension to your space.

Customize Storage Solutions

Living room with customized storage solutions

Maximize organization by customizing storage solutions to your specific needs and space, using built-ins, modular shelving, or adjustable systems. Organizing your laundry supplies and tidying up your cleaning supplies by using containers or baskets and shelves or cabinets can help create a neat and orderly space.

Mounting your bikes or hiding laundry appliances can be great ways to maximize floor space as well. Enhance the area with:

  • a refrigerator for drinks

  • shelving for storing glasses

  • a marble-topped counter in a small bar

  • a banquette to a corner of a living room

This creates a cozy and inviting seating area for party guests or family members in the dining room.

Don't Sacrifice Personality

Living room with personality and style

Regardless of the size of the space, it’s vital to maintain your personal touch. Incorporate personal touches, unique decor, and meaningful items that reflect your style and make your space feel truly your own.

From family photos to cherished heirlooms, be sure to include pieces that express your story and showcase your individuality, creating a space that feels authentic, inviting, and truly one-of-a-kind.

Opt for Wall-Mounted Fixtures

Living room with wall-mounted fixtures to save floor space

To save valuable floor space and add functional style to a small room, consider wall-mounted fixtures like sconces or floating shelves. Wall-mounted fixtures provide extra floor space, add an attractive style to a small room, and offer a modern and minimalistic look to any space.

Stunning examples of wall-mounted fixtures include faucets, sconces, and other types of lighting fixtures that can be easily installed on the wall. When choosing and installing wall-mounted fixtures, take into account the size and weight of the fixture, the type of wall it will be mounted on, and the type of lighting it will provide.

Experiment with Patterns and Textures

Living room with patterns and textures to create visual interest

Adding visual interest and depth to a small space can be achieved by experimenting with patterns and textures. Use rugs, pillows, and upholstery in various patterns and textures to create a dynamic and visually appealing look that adds personality and style to your space.

Mixing and matching different elements can create a unique and eye-catching design that feels fresh and inviting, even in the smallest of spaces.

Consider Foldable and Expandable Furniture

Living room with foldable and expandable furniture

For small spaces or multi-functional rooms, foldable and expandable furniture like folding desks or extendable tables offers versatility and adaptability. These furniture pieces can be easily folded or expanded to suit different needs, making them an ideal choice for efficient use of space without compromising on functionality or style.

Examples of versatile and practical furniture include folding chairs, extendable dining tables, and wall beds – perfect for creating extra space when needed. Among these, a convertible sofa is both a sofa and a bed, making it an ideal choice for small living spaces.

When selecting foldable and expandable furniture, it is essential to consider the size and shape of the space, as well as the type of furniture that will best suit your needs.

Create a Focal Point

Living room with a focal point to draw attention

A focal point in a small space can attract attention and generate visual interest. Consider a statement piece of art or a bold accent wall to capture the eye and add personality to your room.

By focusing on a single, eye-catching element in the space, you can create a sense of depth and dimension that makes even the smallest room feel more inviting and visually appealing.

Optimize Corners and Nooks

Living room with corners and nooks optimized for storage

Optimizing corners and nooks helps to utilize every inch of your small space effectively. Add seating, storage, or decorative elements in these often-overlooked areas to create a more functional and visually appealing space. Enhance a corner or nook with a cozy seating area, such as a banquette or a comfortable armchair, to create an inviting spot for conversation or relaxation.

In addition to seating, consider adding built-in shelves or open shelving to make the most of corner and nook spaces for storage and display purposes. By utilizing these often-underused areas, you can maximize the functionality and style of your small space.

Invest in Stylish Organization

Living room with stylish organization to keep it neat

Stylish organization solutions are a smart investment to maintain a tidy and visually appealing space. Decorative baskets, chic storage boxes, or attractive shelving can help keep your space organized and clutter-free, while also adding a touch of style and personality to your small space.

By combining form and function, these stylish organization solutions can help you create a space that is both beautiful and practical.

Keep Traffic Flow in Mind

Living room with furniture arranged to keep traffic flow in mind

While arranging furniture in a small space, it’s key to consider traffic flow. Ensure there is enough room to move comfortably throughout the room by positioning furniture away from doorways and pathways, and selecting slim and leggy furniture to maximize space.

By considering traffic flow and circulation, you can create a more comfortable and inviting space that feels open and easy to navigate.

Rethink Window Treatments

Living room with window treatments to add style

Rethinking window treatments can help maximize natural light and foster a more open feel in a small space. Use sheer curtains, roman shades, or minimalist blinds to allow more light into the room and create an airy, spacious atmosphere.

These types of window treatments not only enhance the natural light in the space but also add a touch of style and sophistication to your small room.

Don't Forget About Outdoor Spaces

Outdoor space with furniture and plants to create a cozy atmosphere

Outdoor spaces like balconies or patios should not be overlooked when decorating a small space. Use these areas to extend your living area and entertain guests, making the most of every square inch of your space.

By incorporating comfortable seating, lush plants, and ambient lighting, you can create a cozy and inviting outdoor space that serves as an extension of your indoor living area.

Balance Proportion and Scale

Living room with furniture and decor balanced in proportion and scale

Selecting furniture and decor that fit the room’s dimensions ensures a balance of proportion and scale in a small space. This creates a harmonious and well-designed space that feels comfortable and inviting.

By carefully considering the size and shape of your furniture and accessories, you can create a balanced and visually appealing design that works perfectly in your small space.


In conclusion, decorating a small space can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience when you utilize expert tips and tricks to maximize space, functionality, and style. By incorporating vertical storage, multi-functional furniture, natural light, and a cohesive color palette, you can create a cozy, inviting, and stylish space that reflects your unique personality and taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns and textures, and always prioritize quality over quantity when selecting furniture and decor. With a little creativity and planning, you can transform your small space into a beautiful retreat that you’ll love to call home.

Frequently Asked Questions about Decorating a Small Space

How do you decorate with minimal space?

To make the most of minimal space, choose furniture with unexpected storage compartments and extensions, take advantage of wall space with mounted storage and modular shelves, use lower furniture pieces to make the room feel more spacious, incorporate statement pieces that draw the eye, and opt for small-scale versions of favorite furniture pieces. Brighten up the room with lighting, organize items for an uncluttered look, and choose bold decor to create a unique space.

How do you make small spaces look good?

Make small spaces look good by using lighter paint colors, adding large mirrors, choosing multi-functional furniture, creating flow with flooring, and taking the doors off. Decorate with restraint to maximize the space, and hang oversized art and draw the eye up for a bigger impact.

How can I utilize vertical space in a small room?

Maximize the use of vertical space in a small room with tall shelves, wall-mounted storage, and hanging plants to create a larger, more organized look.

What type of furniture is best for small spaces?

Multi-functional furniture is the perfect choice for small spaces, allowing you to make the most of your available space with items like sofa beds, storage ottomans, and expandable dining tables.

How can I enhance natural light in a small space?

Maximize the amount of natural light in your small space with sheer curtains, light colors, and strategically placed mirrors. Doing so will give your space a brighter, more open feel.

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