When I started my TV career, I did TLC’s clean sweep, as some of you may remember. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the premise of the show was “2 days, 2 rooms, $2,000” and often times the spaces were small and awkward to work with. I had to rely on some interesting design hacks to make the spaces I was designing look as luxurious and spacious as possible. These have served me so well throughout my career, no matter what design style, size, or budget limit. Now my eldest daughter is moving to Barcelona, where the “Euro” standard is definitely a bit smaller, I’ll have to rely on these hacks to create a open and beautiful space. Take a look at these and hopefully they will help you when you get stuck on a project with a small space:
These are too easy and too brilliant to not use in a multitude of spaces. They’re especially handy in spaces that are small, highly functional, and high traffic like a kitchen/dining combined space. These desks or tables can be bought pre made or are a really easy custom build to match any space. This is perfect for adding surface space without taking up floor space. I like using this as a quick “home office” desk in a family communal area.
I’ve had so many clients say they really want a big kitchen table (that takes up all the space in most kitchens) and then barely use most of it. You don’t need a big table in a kitchen space, especially a space-limited one. The best way to get the functionality but keep floor area open for a less crowded feel is a compact kitchen bar like this one here. It’s out of the way but still provides the function needed without taking up the whole kitchen. Installing one in front of a window is a great way to take advantage of a view.
Everyone these days wants a home office but it’s often difficult to set aside an entire room or space in a small unit or home for that luxury. Your clients (or you) don’t have to compromise! I love the idea of fitting everything a home office needs in a little nook like this using vertical organization systems. This is a cozy, out of the way option. It’s way better than filling a space like this with something less functional like a entry table and flowers.
One of the most important things will small spaces is lighting. Lighting is vital to making a small space look open and inviting. However, lamps and fixtures take up space and can make a room look overcrowded. The best way to accent a space and also make sure there’s even, proper lighting is using illuminated wall decor like these two example below. I love the first one and it’s an easy DIY with strip lighting if you’ve already picked out art. The LOGS light featured below is a really cool, easy to install fixture you can create plenty of interesting patterns with.
Another example: LOG minimalist wall lights
A classic trick I relied on heavily during my TLC days was mirrored walls! This is the easiest way to make a space “double” without skimping on furniture and accents. A wall completely or partially covered in mirror tricks the eye and reflects more light to make a small room look spacious and open. Even an oversized floor mirror does the trick. For an extra bonus, add strip lighting or fixtures around a mirror for a lighter space.
These tricks saved me when dealing with some really small and awkward spaces. I hope this was inspirational or helps you solve a design drama down the line!