Top 5 Design Tips for Small Space Living

If you live in a small space, we feel your pain.  We both live in small homes, and we know what it’s like to have too much stuff, and not enough room for it all. Plus, we understand how difficult it can be to really create a style and a look without making your petite house feel cluttered. It’s definitely a challenge, but we’re confident that you can overcome the “crowded-look” and transform your house into a home that reflects your personality.

Because we consider ourselves to be “small living experts”, we came up with a list of tips we’ve acquired during our time living in our small spaces.decorate a small space1. Storage is a Must: No matter how much you purge, you’re still going to have stuff and you’ll need a place to put that stuff. Storage options are key to organized, clutter-free living. Extra credit if you have “secret storage” (i.e. Hidden storage areas designed to hold all kinds of goodies!) We use many large items to store our smaller items…including benches, boxes, and baskets.

Shoes-Near-BasketThis basket actually holds all of Casey’s wrapping paper and gift supplies. You’d never know those goodies are tucked away in here.Table-TrayThis marble box on Casey’s coffee table actually holds all of their playing cards. Who knew they were tucked inside this gorgeous table decoration!

video game And just like Casey’s, B’s coffee table box hides remote controls (is that even what they’re called?!) #allsisters

Shelf-frame-hooksBut not all storage needs to be hidden. Hang a shelf on the wall, or add some hooks to a bare space (like this drop zone), and you’ve instantly got a new spot to store your possessions. Anything is better than a big pile on the floor or in the closet, so making the most of the storage space you do have is KEY!

Another way to flaunt that fancy storage is by adding a bar cart to your small space. We love that these offer storage, function, and some serious style to any entertaining space. And who says a bar cart must be used for drinks?! If you’re not a big fan of bar accessories, bar carts can still be a valuable (and fancy) way to store other household products as well. (dishes, baking station, office supplies… the possibilities are really endless!)

2. Get Creative with Extra Seating: Casey and Finn won’t be throwing any large dinner parties anytime soon. That’s because they only have 2 “real” seats for eating purposes….the stools at their kitchen island. But of course they still love to entertain and have people over. So they pull out any extra seats when company comes over. Benches, poufs, large pillows…they can all be used as extra spots for your guest’s tush. Just because you don’t have room for a formal dining room doesn’t mean you can’t wine and dine your favorite people in your small home.

IMG_97621This bench in the Finn’s bedroom works double duty when it’s brought out to the main area to act as a seat in the family seatsThese cubes usually live tucked under the coffee table for storage and double as creative seating. When we have guests over, these two upholstered beauties can easily be pulled out & double as extra seating.

storage seatsBridget hides her extra pillows and blankets in these little cuties for when guests crash on her couch. And let’s be honest here, that doesn’t happen all that often- but you can never be too ready for unexpected company, right?

3. Show Off your Personality on your Walls: So you may not have enough square footage to showcase all of your fabulous books and knick-knacks. But don’t forget about your walls! Blank wall spaces are just begging for some action. Office makeoverPicture-LedgesThree-shelves-straight-onYou can hang shelves or picture ledges if you want to display all kinds of goodies…Wide-Family-Room….or go with a large piece of statement artoffice desk and gallery …or even a fun mismatched gallery wall! Take advantage of empty wall space and get decorating.

4. Let your Accessories Work Double Duty: Again, back to the theme of not having enough room to purchase all of the lovely accessories and items you want to display in your home. Well here’s what we do. We try to purchase decor that has multiple purposes. For example…

A cake stand for baked goods, or for a stunning jewelry display.

Or a geometric vase for cooking utensils that can work as a vase when you have fresh flowers around. Look at items for more than just their original intention, and get creative with your accessories.

5. Be Proud & Own It: Okay perhaps not the most helpful tip from our list but we think it is by far the most important. So what…you don’t have a McMansion complete with walk-in closets, a 5-car garage, and multiple guest rooms…that’s a-okay! Just because you live in a small space doesn’t mean you can’t love your home. bigVersionNEWHeck if you’re living small you should have even more reason to celebrate. Less area to clean, less furniture to buy, and less space to decorate! It should take you no time at all to transform your itty bitty space to make it fit your style and personality.

So now you might be thinking to yourself, C & B…you make it sound easy, but there’s no way I can decorate my 900 sq ft apartment without making it look like a storage unit packed to the gills. We get it..not everyone is into home decor. They want a great look for their space, but have no idea how to achieve it. If you’re thinking that the above tips are too much for you to handle, then we have another option for you….

Decor Aid Project - Tudor City After 4-001Photo via Décor Aid

6. Hire a Professional!: Now you’re thinking “ummm, I don’t have the money to have a reaaaal interior designer help me with my space!” Well don’t worry, we have an affordable interior design option for you. It’s called Décor Aid. This design service pairs clients with a designer who fits their budget and style. After a brief consultation, the designer will recommend hours, budget, and a timeline to suit your needs all for a reasonable price. It doesn’t matter if you’re just rearranging a room, or furnishing your home from scratch…they’ll help you out! So if you’re looking for assistance when it comes to design,  Décor Aid be worth looking into. This company is based in New York now, but is expanding across the US in the new few months. Pretty much, this a la carte decorating service is heading to your neck of the woods ASAP!Decor Aid Project - Tudor City After 6-1Photo via Décor Aid

Regardless of what you do…whether you DIY your small space, or hire a pro…we hope you take the time to make your little space feel like home sweet home. There’s nothing more rewarding (& relaxing) than coming home to a space you love.

Bridget and Casey Signature

[Disclaimer: This post was sponsored in part by Décor Aid All original content, imagery and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!]

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.