9 Designer Hacks for Decorating in Small Spaces

by Justina Huddleston
Aug 9, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. ET

Most of us live in small spaces at one point or another, and there's no denying that they can be a total pain to decorate. You have to focus so much on function — how can I literally just fit everything that needs to be in here in the space? — that form takes a backseat.

But you don't have to sacrifice design, no matter how small the space. Whether it's your office, kitchen or dorm room, there are a few tricks you can implement to add your personal touch without having to give up practicality.

Think about the hidden nooks in every room — corners that go unused, that small space behind the couch and of course the walls. This is where you can bring in some design elements that won't compromise your space.

Check out our hacks for decorating small spaces, both from bloggers and professional interior designers, in the following slides. Maybe you'll finally unlock the secret to decorating your problem room.

1 /9: Cover the walls in art

1/9 :Cover the walls in art

Even if you don't have a lot of floor space for fancy furniture or shelves to display knickknacks, look to your walls.

"One large piece of artwork in a clean, simple white or natural wood frame can transform any space," explains Laurel & Wolf designer Kerry Vasquez. "Playing with scale, especially in a small space with a larger piece, adds a strong visual element that can help make the space feel instantly considered and designed."

2 /9: Upgrade your fixtures

2/9 :Upgrade your fixtures

In a small space, every design element counts. Swapping out boring lamps, kitchen utensils and office supplies for something in modern materials like polished brass, acrylic and white marble can instantly update a space, advises Vasquez.

This bathroom got a makeover with pink paint and brass finishes for a totally new, brighter look.

3/9 :Create texture

To make a small space feel a little more luxurious, aim for texture. "I'm a big proponent of sheepskin throws — on the floor, on a chair, anywhere," Vasquez shared. "They instantly add a rich, soft texture" and can work with both classic and modern designs. 

4 /9: Just add plants

4/9 :Just add plants

From fresh flowers in a vase or a small potted succulent on your desk, adding some live plants to your design makes even a small spaces "feel luxe and considered," according to Vasquez. "I'm a big fan of creating a visceral experience and this instantly achieves that," she said.

This vertical wall planter can go against the wall, freeing up valuable surface space.

5/9 :Use throw rugs

Adding a throw rug to your small space can make a big difference. The color and texture of your rug can help tie together the other design elements in your room, and in studio apartments, rugs can help delineate where one part of your living space end and begins. 

6 /9: Stick to neutrals

6/9 :Stick to neutrals

If you want to keep your small space feeling uncluttered, opt for a limited color palette. White furniture and walls provide a pleasant backdrop for pops of accent color.

7 /9: Add a console table

7/9 :Add a console table

Free up space by using slender console tables instead of regular shelves and book cases. Slip one behind the couch for extra storage or up against a wall — you'll have more space to walk past than you would with a standard table. 

8 /9: Use your corners

8/9 :Use your corners

Don't let your corners go to waste. Corner shelves or a corner desk are perfect ways to utilize these tight spaces.

9 /9: Don't forget about mirrors

9/9 :Don't forget about mirrors

"Utilizing mirrors opens up small spaces by offering light and reflection," explains Laurel & Wolf designer Susan Petrie. A large mirror leaning against the wall makes a big statement, or you can mount one if you need more floor space.