Small Spaces


Working with small spaces is an art in and of itself.  Historically, a small formal sitting room served as a receiving parlor for guests before they were brought into the main part of the home.  Eventually, sitting rooms evolved into living rooms. Today, there’s virtually no difference between a living room and a family room and they’ve given way to more casual spaces, including media and entertainment centers.  As housing costs rise more people are living in small spaces again so how do you make the most of the space you have?


Keep your furniture, particularly your sofa, to the scale of your room.  Smaller rooms look best with a streamlined, compact sofa rather than one that overwhelms the space.  Next, position your sofa to maximize its effect.  Especially in small rooms, place your sofa so it’s facing the door.  This makes a big difference in how a living room feels when you walk in.  If it’s a sectional, have at least one side facing the door.  You’ll feel more comfortable if you can see what’s happening without craning your neck or getting up all the time.  In addition, seeing the front of the sofa when guests enter a room imparts the feeling they’re walking into one giant bear hug!


Because the living room is also the family room and vice versa, organization is more important than ever.  An organized living room is soothing to the eye and soul.   Clutter Central is the coffee table.  If you’re choosing a new table, opt for one with drawers or a low shelf.  On top try to curate the items that are meaningful and/or essential and stash the clutter below.  Look elsewhere in the room where you can neatly stow items with style in baskets.  Lidded baskets take care of magazines and paper. You can stack them in multiples or slide them under furniture.  Open oversize baskets hold extra pillows, throws, children’s toys, and pet items.  Baskets easily blend into the room adding subtle texture to the space while looking polished.


Every room needs a focal point.   It grounds you in the space.  A focal point is whatever you want to draw attention to that makes you happy.  Typically, a fireplace is a natural focal point.  Play it up with a decorated mantel.   Include a dramatic piece of art or a mirror. If there’s no fireplace or other inherent focal point, add a piece of art or a mirror to the farthest wall in the room. Or especially in a small space, paint that wall with an amazing accent color.  But remember, in small rooms stick to a color palette of only two or, at most, three colors.


How do you achieve that warm and welcoming look?  Be true to yourself ~ the best compliment is “It looks just like you!”.  Fill in your room with accents such as lamps, rugs, and decorative pillows that resonate with you.  “Less is More” is a successful aesthetic for small, streamlined spaces but “Over the Top” can be done well in a small space if you stick to your color scheme and curate your collection to avoid confusion and visual cacophony.  Mix styles, match styles – it’s up to you.  Envision a living room that you’ll love coming home to every day and it’ll be an even more special place when everyone you love gathers there!