A Decorator’s Take 5: Making the most of small spaces

  |     |   Helpful Tips

Living in a townhome or apartment gives you the perfect chance to right-size your décor to fit your current lifestyle! Here are five tips to get you started.

Natural light

Bring the outside in with natural light, one of the quickest and easiest ways to open up any space. Unless you need black-out curtains to keep things dark for sleep during the day, choose sheer curtains or woven blinds that let the sun shine in. Place mirrors on walls opposite your windows to reflect and spread sunlight, and maximize every ounce of sunshine by choosing fabrics for linens, pillows and blankets that are light and bright as well.

Make Choices for Today’s Space—not Yesterday’s or Tomorrow’s

If you feel your bedroom is just too small for your end table, don’t despair over that table—replace it with a sleek stool! Can’t fit your ancient TV cabinet in your living room? Mount your TV on the wall or make your bookshelf pull double duty as a true multi-media shelving unit. Don’t squash your space with oversized furniture. As your budget allows, let that furniture go to someone else who might be able to use it (either by selling or donating it), and replace it with fun pieces that fit your unique space.

Sometimes you might be tempted to hold onto a piece you don’t love, in case sometime down the line it will fit your lifestyle better. While you should absolutely keep treasured pieces no matter where your travels take you, don’t let your stuff hold you back from your best style. Simple, inexpensive pieces that fit who you are today can go a long way toward making you feel great about your space!

Storage Wars

If there’s space, there’s probably storage space to be had, whether it’s using cube cabinets that double as tables, taking advantage of under-bed or closet modular storage, or making unexpected choices that work for you—like placing your sofa directly in front of your bookshelf to create “built-in but out-of-sight” storage.

Also, as you consider replacing old or worn-out furniture, bring in new pieces that serve double duty, too—a kitchen table with drawers that can moonlight as a desk, or perhaps a fold out couch that can double as a guest bed. Again, it’s not necessary to rack up huge costs to outfit your space, but keep a sharp eye out for inexpensive right-sized alternatives to large, awkward or clunky pieces that no longer fit you and your life.

Get in the Clear!

Eventually, you will run out of space, no matter how brilliant your storage strategy is. When that happens, take a hard look at every flat surface in your home. Do you really need to have that bowl full of coasters sitting on your table—along with stacks of magazines from the past three years? Can you live without having every beauty product you own sit on your vanity…even the ones that you haven’t used in ages? The more you can clear from your surfaces, the better you’ll feel—and the lighter your home will feel, too.

Go Bold!

Just because your space is small doesn’t mean your ideas should be. Sometimes the key ingredient to a fresh and fun space is a bold accent piece that gets your imagination flowing. And don’t limit your thinking to ready-bought pieces. Funky finds at craft festivals or yard sale castoffs can be turned into really eye-catching pieces of art with just a little work, and become an expression of your creative self as much as a functional part of your home.

As you consider your next decorating task, remember: Great Style isn’t about a particular set of pieces or a collection of artwork, it’s about using furniture, color and fabrics to celebrate who you are. With that as your guideline, go forth and Decorate!

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