12 Expert Tips That'll Make Your Small Space Feel So Much Bigger

UPDATE: This story was originally published on March 5.
Sometimes, the reality of living in a tiny studio can be a little overwhelming — so, we've called in the big guns to help all you small-space dwellers outsmart your square footage and actually love where you live. Our team of experts includes local interiors pros and design bloggers, and they all know a thing or two about making the most of mini abodes. Excuse our hyperbole, but their so-smart tips (and decor finds!) might just change your life.
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Annie Elliott, interior designer and blogger at Bossy Color

"Create an art wall — in smaller rooms, a 'gallery wall' with multiple pieces opens up the space more than a single, large picture."


Photo: Courtesy of Annie Elliott
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"Make sure you have enough floor and table lamps. Lighting all of the corners of a room is the best way to make it feel more spacious — and ambient light is so much more flattering than overhead!"

IKEA Hektar Lamp, $69.99, available at IKEA.
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"Layer a smaller rug — such as a zebra or cow hide — over a larger sisal rug. You probably already have some kind of 4' x 6' rug kicking around, but putting it over a bare floor can look pokey in a small room. Layer it over a much larger sisal or seagrass [rug], and the space will seem larger."


Photo: Courtesy of HGTV/Nicole Gibbons
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Christopher Patrick, interior designer and blogger at Blue Rooms White Houses

"Slim, tailored sofas don't waste space with unnecessary arm width, and give you more valuable real estate for sitting. Two sofas may both be 84," but the inside width (and depth) may be different. This sofa has great lines, and, with the narrow arms, it really takes advantage of available seating space."

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Emory Sofa, $2,875, available at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, 1526 14th Street NW; 202-332-3433.
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"My #1 tip is to maximize your furniture's functionality. Ottomans with interior storage make for great coffee tables, as well as impromptu seating with larger gatherings. This classic design is on casters, making it great for moving around the house when extra space is needed."

Crate & BarrelThe Shelter Storage Ottoman With Casters, $999, available at Crate & Barrel.
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"Some pieces may seem heavier just because of the material they're made of — keep that in mind when creating your furniture plan. Because a slipper chair doesn't have arms, it becomes less visually heavy and still [provides] your guests with a comfortable seat. [For a] console that doubles as a desk, what if it's an acrylic table to keep your office space light and airy?"

CB2 Peekaboo Clear Console, $379, available at CB2.
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Rebecca Orlov, design blogger at Loving.Living.Small

"Keeping the foundation of your small space neutral will really allow the eyes to keep moving. (That doesn't mean just white, by the way.) Create dimension and style through color by adding in artwork, books, flowers, frames, etc, to your home. I love this large, leaning piece of art on the small desk — it's full of interesting color. Just switch your artwork around when you want a fresh look."


Photo: Courtesy of Cozamia
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"All small-space dwellers should own nesting tables. They nest easily, provide multiple surfaces, and they have clean table legs (not bulky at all). This set pays full homage to the Bauhaus style — plus, I love the range of colors on the four different-sized tables."

Josef Albers & Vitra Bauhaus Nesting Tables, $1,950, available at A + R Store.
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"One of my favorite tricks for a small space is to turn one room into two. If your space is fairly long or rectangular, you may be the prime candidate for this idea. Create a 'wall' that will make two separate zones. A few ideas to try: a sheer curtain, the headboard of your bed, or make a wall with materials you can find at your local hardware store. This pretty space is a great example of how this technique can make a big impact."


Photo: Courtesy of The Apartment
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Jennifer Wagner Schmidt, interior designer and blogger at JWS Interiors

"Organization is key. In fact, I believe it's the first step to ensuring a small space lives up to its potential. This means closet organization is a must. I always tell clients to 'edit, edit, edit.' [Everyone] needs to de-clutter and get rid of little odds and ends."

MagnaPods StickOnPods Organizer Set, $9.99, available at PodsStore.
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"Because space is at a premium, use smaller-scaled furniture. For example, the Quincy chair from World Market is budget-friendly, comes in multiple colors, and is small enough to fit virtually anywhere. It could fit in a living room, a bedroom, or even a foyer."

World Market Quincy Chair in Paprika, $179.99, available at World Market.
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"The Ballard Larkin daybed is a great find because it also acts a sofa with a back. It 's available with or without a trundle, which comes in handy and simply tucks underneath. You can customize your fabric choices, too, so it really could work well as your main seating option — say, if you had a studio and don't want anyone seeing your bed."

Ballard Designs Larkin Daybed, $849-$1,609, available at Ballard Designs.
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