Houzz: Design hacks for small spaces on any budget

By KentOnline reporter

Full article first published on Houzz

Jennifer Spaeth, Houzz contributor

Whether you’re contending with a flat (or even a house) with tiny proportions or just one small room in a bigger abode, there are many ways to cheat a sense of space.

From picking a smart colour palette and clever multi-functional furniture to making dramatic structural changes, these ideas will help put you on the road to living large.

Photo by Whitstable Island Interiors
Photo by Whitstable Island Interiors

Go back to basics

One of the oldest – and easiest – tricks in the book for enhancing the sense of space is going for an all-white scheme. And not just on the walls, but on the flooring and furniture, too, in order to avoid creating large breaks in the visual plane. If that’s too stark for your taste, try introducing one or two subtle and complementary shades with accessories – or even a few shots of bold colour like the books in this bedroom.

The amount of natural light a space gets also determines how you perceive its size, so consider using a paint that contains light-reflective particles, available in most DIY stores. This will help to subtly boost a sense of openness by increasing the amount light reflected around the room.

Photo by Michael K Chen Architecture
Photo by Michael K Chen Architecture

Embrace hideaway heroes

Flexible furniture is definitely a small space’s best friend – and this bespoke unit pushes the notion to the max. It doesn’t just provide a home office, with its handy fold-down ‘desk’ and adjoining cupboard. Nope – it’s so much more than that. Just take a look at the next image to see how it maximises space in a titchy studio…

Photo by Michael K Chen Architecture
Photo by Michael K Chen Architecture

On the other side of that foldaway desk is a drop-down bed – when not in use, it simply folds up into the grey recess, and the panel to the right (containing the desk), closes up like a door to conceal it (scroll to the next image to see the closed-up unit).

So this custom-made piece of furniture has not only given the studio a work area, but also a ‘bedroom’. And the attention to detail is amazing – just look at that built-in shelving, which is perfect for storing bedtime reading.

Find more small space ideas

Photo by RICCO STYLE Interior Design
Photo by RICCO STYLE Interior Design

Think clearly

If you don’t have the budget (or the need) for a big piece of bespoke furniture like the one in the last image, another smart (and straightforward) option for petite rooms is clear acrylic furniture. You can buy anything from chairs to consoles and bedside tables in transparent acrylic, and all of them will create the appearance of more space.

The open design of this console means extra seating or storage can be popped underneath it, too, without crowding the room.

Photo by studiocuvier.se
Photo by studiocuvier.se

Free your floor

The previous example illustrated a radical way of taking advantage of unused vertical space, but even a simple decorating choice, such as lifting as many things off the floor as possible, can have a powerful effect.

Choose wall-mounted shelves over a floor-standing bookcase, and opt for wall instead of floor lamps, which will also help draw the eye upwards, making your room feel airier. Going for a sofa and/or chairs with spindly legs adds to the effect, helping you keep the maximum amount of floor space visible.

In other news, this table also deserves a round of applause. Notice its fold-down sides and storage drawers – simple space-saving furniture at its best.

Photo by Mia Mortensen Photography
Photo by Mia Mortensen Photography

Choose a double act

As already mentioned, a piece of furniture that does multiple jobs is a small-space saviour. These hard-working units provide both storage and a place to perch for a morning cuppa. In fact, it’s a mini breakfast station, with coffee-maker and mugs close to hand.

Another space-enhancing feature of this compact kitchen is the glazed door. Being able to look through it into further surroundings tricks the eye into thinking the room is bigger than it actually is. Magic.

Photo by Amos Goldreich Architecture
Photo by Amos Goldreich Architecture

Make openings

Blurring the lines between different rooms or areas in a compact home can help it feel larger. In this two-bedroom flat, an internal window in the wall between the kitchen and entrance hall optimises the feeling of space.

Find out about Building Control requirements for open-plan spaces

Photo by Emilie Melin architecte DPLG
Photo by Emilie Melin architecte DPLG

Create a room within a room

If you live in a studio flat, you might just want to put up walls to make a separate room. However, to maintain a sense of space, it might be better to create the illusion of a distinct zone. Here, it was done by adding a peninsula unit and different flooring to define the kitchen area.

Take a tour of this studio flat to see more space-saving ideas

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