Find your style

A small space, if not thoughtfully designed, can have a way of making you feel like your four walls are quite literally closing in, especially with the new rhythms of the work from home lifestyle. Though, oftentimes, smaller spaces can be some of the most tranquil, inspiring havens on the grid. A small space can encourage less clutter and force you to showcase the items that you really love rather than feeling like you’ve got to find something to fill up every nook and cranny of your home. Though there is an art to maximizing a small space. 

We enlisted one of Havenly’s lead designers, Vivian Torres, for some of her go-to design tips on how to make the most of small space living. Read on for some practical insight into how to curate a small space design you may never want to leave.

Lay It All Out There

Space planning is key in any design, but it’s especially important when designing a small space. Start by visualizing yourself performing various tasks throughout the space, and nail down what necessities you need to perform them. By determining what you need and where you’ll place it, you’ll be able to determine which big-ticket items like media consoles, desks, and dining tables you’ll be able to incorporate in the space. Use a floor planning tool to create your ideal layout, or sketch it out old school. You don’t want to bring your 72” wide media console into the space when the only wall that can accommodate a TV is 60” wide!

Small space family room

Your Favorite Design Style à la Minimalist

To avoid cluttering up a small space, pick a design style that resonates with you and incorporate it in a minimalist way. If you love preppy design, consider layering a console table with a paired down collection of ginger jars, or if you’re drawn towards a bohemian aesthetic, add a few books and plants to your coffee table. The more you simplify your design style, the fewer items you’ll need for it to come to fruition.

small space living

Mirror, Mirror...

Or anywhere else for that matter. Mirrors make small spaces feel bigger because they reflect light around the room, and they’re functional. Consider leaning an inexpensive oversized floor mirror against a wall, arranging a gallery of mirrors in different shapes, or adding a small mirrored accent table next to a reading chair.

Hang Those Curtains High

Simple, solid white curtains bring tailored sophistication to any room, and hanging them high above the top of the window gives the illusion of more space and visually expands the room.  Just make sure that the panels graze the ground lightly and don’t float above it significantly. No ghost curtains, please.

small space drapery

Go Big on Rugs

Selecting a rug that’s too small for the furniture arrangement will make a small space appear even smaller. Instead, prioritize rug size over rug style and opt for an inexpensive solid or textured rug that’s large enough to anchor major furniture pieces (usually  8’ x 10’ or 9 x 12’). If you still crave color or pattern, consider layering a smaller, more visually interesting rug on top.

Multipurpose Furniture

To maximize square footage, consider incorporating furniture that serves more than one purpose. Think along the lines of a bed with built-in drawers underneath, a storage ottoman for blankets, or a dining table that doubles as a workspace. You’ll have more room for decor, and your space will feel more organized, so it’s a win-win!

multi purpose furniture

Light it Up

Good lighting is a vital design element that instantly makes a space feel more open and inviting, so for this reason alone you should never overlook it. Consider making your own pendant light using DIY lighting kits from Home Depot or update a used table lamp with a new shade and craft cord for a fringe effect. Wherever creativity (or Pinterest) leads you, be sure to keep a nice mix of overhead, floor and table lighting.

Viv Small Space

Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper

Peel and stick wallpaper is a fun design element that’s removable, reusable, and easy to use. Add it to the backing of a bookcase for depth, or cover the front of drawers on an old nightstand — either way, you’re adding personality without sacrificing square footage. The possibilities are limitless.

When it comes to small-space living, less is more, and we believe every home should feel like a sanctuary. We hope these tips may help you rediscover how to maximize your small space like never before. 

Bedroom Wallpaper

Looking for a great way to pinpoint your small space aesthetic? Take our fun style quiz and discover the perfect Havenly designer to help you pull it all together.


Words by Leigh Liebmann