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What NOT to Do When Decorating a Small Space


A small space can feel spacious and stylish as long as you stay clear of certain pitfalls. Avoid these common small space decorating mistakes to create a space you'll love.Decorating a small space can be a challenge. You need storage, space to entertain, and plenty of character to make it feel like your own, but that can feel like a large order when your square footage is limited. Thankfully, it’s fully possible to accomplish all these things no matter how small your space if you follow some basic design principles.

There are certain small space mistakes we see over and over again. Avoiding these common pitfalls will help you choose small space décor that makes your home feel open and spacious while still providing you all the things you need to be comfortable in it.

Here’s what to avoid doing in your small space decor:

Small Space Decorating Tips

Don’t Use Bulky Furniture

One of the most common mistakes we see in small spaces is people using furniture that is too big for the space. While it may physically fit into it, bulky furniture can visually make it appear much smaller and cramped. To avoid this, choose furniture that is lightweight with a slim structure. Also, if it is raised off the ground by legs rather than flat on the ground, then you will be able to see floor space which will make the space appear even larger.

Don’t Use All Dark Colors

Dark colors absorb light so it naturally compresses a space. While you don’t need to avoid dark colors entirely, it’s best not to go with an entirely dark palette in a small space. Stick with dark colors in your smaller décor or one accent piece, such as a sofa, and leave everything else light. You can even get away with one dark accent wall if you contrast it with light furniture and décor.

Don’t Stuff Every Spot with Furniture

While it may be tempting to stuff as much storage and seating as possible in a small to make the most of what little you have, it’s important to be clever about it. Covering every available wall space and floor space will make it feel cramped and seem even smaller than it is. Instead, leave some negative space. Get creative with your storage by having your key furniture pieces do double or triple duty, like an ottoman that serves as a coffee table, extra seating, and storage, and use shelving and hooks to create storage without having to cram more furniture into the space.

Don’t Clutter the Surfaces

Having a lot of things on the surfaces of your home (kitchen counters, bathroom counters, dressers, end tables, bookshelves, etc) instantly makes a space appear cluttered and small. Even if the décor is beautiful, too much of it will visually tighten the space. Like with furniture, leave some negative space. In the kitchen, put away most of the small appliances in the cabinets. In the bathroom, put toiletries in a basket under the sink. In the main living areas, have only one or two pieces of décor on surfaces like end tables and coffee tables and break up the items on bookshelves so they aren’t completely stuffed.

Don’t Underestimate Natural Light

Natural light is one of your greatest assets in a small space. Make sure your window treatments aren’t too heavy and dark so natural light can easily pour in. If there are trees or shrubs blocking the light, trim them back. If you own a house that doesn’t have much natural light available, you might consider installing a skylight to allow more in. It will make a huge difference in how open and spacious the space feels.

Want some personalized guidance on how to make the most of your small space? Check out our virtual decorating service to get customized furniture arrangements, color schemes, furniture selections, and more! >>

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