32 small house interior design ideas
When you live in a small house or apartment, it’s hard to fit in everything you need. Try to fit everything and making it beautiful is an even bigger challenge, but that’s what makes designing small spaces so fun: finding clever solutions to those obstacles makes it all the more rewarding in the end. Lucky for you, we’ve got quite a few little space tricks up our sleeves, with hacks ranging from hanging beds to hidden storage, eye tricks, and more. Whether you live in a studio apartment or want to make the most of a small room in a tiny homethese small space design ideas will make it feel much bigger while still maintaining its style.
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Incorporate reflective materials
Opt for white lacquered walls and glossy tiles, as designer Brian Patrick Flynn did here. High gloss materials are reflective and will generate the same maximizing effect as a mirror, bouncing light around and creating a generally airier space.
SEE THE TILES Zellige tiles, $2
Pocket doors with glass windows allow shared light to flow throughout the space while creating separation. And even better, they slide right into the wall when not in use, taking up much less space than hinged doors.
SHOP DOORS IKEA sliding doors, $180
Although it may seem counterintuitive, covering a wall from floor to ceiling can make a small space feel bigger. In Rudy Saunders’ apartment, an assortment of framed artwork (plus an oversized watch clock!) catches the eye, making the 375-square-foot studio seem expansive.
SHOP THE GALLERY WALL KIT Frame sets, from $166
When space is limited and you don’t want to buy bulky new furniture, use a chair as a side table and install wall sconces to save space. A cheerful color, like this pale turquoise hue, is also a good idea to brighten up a small room.
SHOP LIGHTS Mid-Century Arc Sconce, $79
By hanging the subway tiles vertically rather than horizontally, designer Eneia White makes this modestly sized bathroom both taller and more streamlined. A tight palette of black, white, and blush keeps it from feeling cluttered.
SHOP TILES Subway tile, $2.79
For the restaurant at the Cornell Inn, Toledo Geller used drapery to cleverly conceal pipes and HVAC, creating an elegant canopy while avoiding visual chaos.
SHOP DRAPERIES Navy Blackout Curtains, $31
Since it doesn’t take up floor space, a swivel chair gives the appearance of a much more open room. For proof, look at the Tiffany Brooks daybed hanging in this piece of the Kips Bay Palm Beach showhouse.
SHOP SWINGS Hanging daybed, $953
Reduce your dining table
Small round tables aren’t just for dining areas. Ditch the giant dining table and give yourself some extra space by opting for a small round dining table instead, like Emily Henderson did here.
STORE TABLES Marble dining table, $999
Add a day bed and watch your bedroom double in size. If you don’t have a designated guest bedroom, this could also be useful in your living room.
SEE BEDS Monarch Hill Daybed, $672
In this Manhattan apartment, Cece Barfield Thompson has grouped the homeowner’s books and accessories into one room, where built-in bookshelves, complemented by gallery lights, give items a purposeful look. The best part? This library also serves as a dining room in the small apartment.
SHOP GALLERY LIGHTS Picture Light, $399
Express yourself everywhere
Yes, even on the fridge—no, mostly—your fridge and other bulky appliances. Since there’s little space for extras and less room to stack all your favorite items, you’ll have to spruce everything up. Here, Anthony Dunning has turned a plain old fridge into a design opportunity by dressing it in removable wallpaper.
SEE REMOVABLE WALLPAPER Peel and stick paper, $150
A media console is the biggest space waster in a small living room. Mount your TV on the wall or above a fireplace and you’ll find the floor space you need.
SEE WALL BRACKETS TV wall mount, $30
Or, better yet, hide it! Whether inside a credenza or disguised as a piece of art, this design trick is perfect for anyone whose living room is still their family room, dining room, and/or more.
SEE MEDIA CABINETS TV stand, $300
Pieces that can serve multiple purposes are essential: find a table that can be used as a desk and a dining table, get a deep sofa that can be used as a guest bed, or buy cubes that can be used as a coffee table and bonus seats when the guests are over. .
SHOP SEATS Storage Ottoman, $315
Enjoy the architectural oddities
Every square inch counts in a tiny home, so be sure to take full advantage of the architectural quirks – that way they’ll become your favorite feature in the space. That radiator by your window? Invest in a nice radiator cover and customize a throw pillow so you can use it as a window nook for reading and relaxing. (And you can forego the bulky couch that takes up half the studio!) pillows and add a hanging lamp for tasks, like Jae Joo did here.
SHOP RADIATOR COVERS Radiator cover, $255
It’s the oldest design trick in the book: mirrors will make your space look bigger, lighter and airier. And a fun convex like this adds a lot of personality without taking up a lot of space.
SEE MIRRORS Mirror plates, $16
Make every piece count
If your kitchen doesn’t have an island and you don’t have a living room separate from the kitchen, don’t give up on making it functional. Opt for a large wooden table that can provide extra counter space for cooking and as a two-top dining table. Use this one in a Corinne Mathern Studio kitchen as a model.
BUY SMALL ISLANDS Counter table, $125
Quiet, uniform rooms trick the eye into thinking they’re more spacious than they are. Be sure to add a variety of textures to keep the space from falling flat.
SHOP PILLOWS Velvet pillow, $6
Designer David Kaihoi has used some very clever storage solutions to make his NYC apartment work, including creating this compact laundry “room” in his closet. That way, when he’s not doing the laundry, he can close the door to those ugly appliances.
SHOP LAUNDRY MACHINES Washer and dryer unit, $1259
Bespoke built-ins, storage nooks and furniture tailored to your exact needs can utilize every available space. When they are part of the walls, you don’t waste as much valuable square footage. And extra storage space under a bench is also useful.
SHOP BENCHES Storage bench, $449
In interior designer Max Sinsteden’s studio, he made his sleeping area feel separate from the rest of the room by hanging a curtain high up, then hanging a floating painting to break it up even further. . “I hate seeing a bed from the front door, so I added a curtain to partition off this space. When you close it, it really feels like you’re in a Parisian hotel,” he tells us. This means you can also entertain yourself without feeling like everyone is hanging out in your room. “A small space does not prevent me from inviting 50 people.”
SHOP CEILING TRACKS Ceiling track, $90
Use all available surface space
Even a windowsill can provide extra storage space for decor, lighting, and other essentials when there’s no room for an extra table.
SHOP SHELVING Floating shelf, $20
Think you don’t have room for a desk? Think again. A wall-mounted desk takes up much less space, and you can even mount shelves above it for even more storage space. Designer Tariq Dixon has transformed an unused corner by installing a wall-mounted desk.
STORE OFFICES Floating desk, $65
Go for extra seats that can fold up and be super compact so you can store them away while guests are away. A stool like this in a living room designed by Hecker Guthrie is perfect.
SEE THE STOOLS Royal Design Folding Stool, $136
Use larger (but fewer) pieces of furniture
It might seem counterintuitive, but outfitting a small space with just a few large-scale pieces (rather than a hodgepodge of pint-sized furniture) can actually make it feel bigger. Resist the urge to push all your furniture against the walls. If you create space behind the furniture, the room will appear wider than it is.
SHOP BED FRAMES Canopy bed, $1,299
Go big in a small space
It’s easy to overlook a room when it’s very small, especially because there just isn’t enough usable space for decorating. But it’s entirely possible – and well worth it – to elevate and customize these little pieces. Take this powder room in Ailana Michelle Ralph’s home, for example. With a pale pink wall color and a gallery of eclectic artwork, the small room packs a lot of punch.
SHOP FRAMES Golden Frame, $39
Make use of the often underused space between the top of furniture and the ceiling of a room with suspended or overhead units. Raise bookcases and cupboards all the way up, this will make the room appear higher.
STORE CABINETS Kitchen cabinets, $489
While under-sink storage can be great, large vanities with lots of drawers and cabinets can end up looking oversized and awkward in small spaces. In this bathroom designed by Studio DB, the delicate marble vanity has plenty of surface space and the extra towel racks and hooks take care of storage needs.
SEE TOWEL BARS Towel rack, $50
Build a partial glass wall
Tear down walls, enlarge windows or replace solid doors with glass to open up views and connect adjoining spaces.
SHOP HARDWARE Sliding track for glass door, $200
Incorporate good lighting
Good lighting will make or break any room, big or small. Be sure to install good lighting especially in smaller, cramped spaces like a bathroom with a small window, as shown in this stunning space.
STORE LIGHTS Mount ceiling light, $23
You don’t have to show everything. After all, nothing makes a room smaller than clutter.
SHOP SHELVING White shelf, $397
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