Easy Ways to Open up Your Smaller Space

Did you know that you can get the feel of a larger space with the right furniture and storage options? That should go without saying. But there’s a lot more to openness than just what you furnish your small apartment with.

Below, I’ve outlined several great ideas for decorating a smaller space which will open it up. These are techniques I’ve recommended when I’ve been invited into a client’s home, and they have all created remarkable changes in the overall look and feel of a home.

1. Distinguish Areas to Create a Larger Feel

In very small apartments – especially lofts or studios – most people are tempted to create one large, open space. The logic makes sense, after all. If you have one small living area, you’re better off decorating as though it’s all one cohesive unit, right?

Absolutely not.

Small space design tip #1: delineate your living space into distinct, well-defined areas. Even something as simple as a few area rugs and wall hangings that mark an area as different can serve to create a much more inviting (and less cramped) home.

2. Go Lighter on Your Colour Choices

Dark or rich colours are a great way to accent a bold personality or style – in a larger home. But these types of colours have a reverse effect in a tiny apartment. They'll make your space look smaller, cramped, and a little bit claustrophobic.

Instead of embracing the darkness, go with lighter shades to brighten things up in your space. Coordinate your walls and furnishings to a complementary palette.

3. Install a Wall Unit

One of the best ways to achieve a more spacious look is creative storage solutions, they’re key to space efficiency.  A wall unit in an open-plan space has multi purposes. Use it for   books, toys, glassware, cookbooks and pop baskets on top with spare linen. Thinking about the way we use the space is more important than how much space exists.

A Few Small Steps for Major Results

Just because you’re in a smaller space does not mean you have to feel cramped and uncomfortable while you’re there! A space efficient apartment means everything has a place, nothing feels cluttered, and you only live with the things you really truly need.
Use these tips, alongside a tasteful furniture selection will keep your tiny place looking and feeling more open and inviting. For more advice read a feature we contributed to with more great storage solutions, 'Creative Storage Solutions for Small Apartment Living'

The art of tidying up

Often when I'm invited into someone's home as a professional to help guide them through redecorating their space, I hear comments like "I hate the way this room feels" or "this room just doesn't work".  And often I want to say, you just need to tidy up!  Now, I understand that this is not a simple task for a lot of people.  So here are my tips for keeping your spaces feeling and looking the way you want them to:


Throw away everything you don't use anymore - give anything useful to charity, recycle anything that can be recycled and bin the rest.  Here's a link to 101 things to declutter immediately: http://www.organisemyhouse.com/101-items-to-get-rid-of-without-regret/


Containers, baskets, trays - I love them all.  Bathroom items become unruly, pull them all together by placing items onto a tray. Organise play rooms and children's bedrooms with baskets for toys - one for soft toys, one for super heroes, one for Barbies etc - label baskets so your child knows where to return each toy.  We all have things we need to hang onto but don't necessarily use day to day or month to month - clear plastic containers with lids, labelled and stored in an attic, under a bed, at the top of a cupboard, is the perfect solution.


It may be that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your room, you just don't have the right storage solution.  A bookcase with baskets down the bottom and room for books, vases, photos above, might be all you need.  Adjustable shelves in your wardrobe allows you to use the cupboard space exactly as you require - don't forget the floor inside your wardrobe is valuable storage space.

Pinterest is a wonderful resource for clever storage ideas. (All images from Pinterest).


In order to keep things organised you must reassess every 6 months - if you feel things building up around you, make the time to stop and go through everything - declutter, sort and store.  But probably more importantly, limit what is coming into our homes. 

We surround ourselves with an unnecessary amount of "stuff" - clear it out and limit what comes into our spaces by being thoughtful about our purchases - do I really need it, has it been sustainably produced, will I use it?  Our homes are our sanctuaries, let's not clutter them unnecessarily.