7 rules for small-space living

How to make the most of a 475 square foot apartment.

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1. don’t deny the smallness

If a room isn’t big, it doesn’t help to pretend otherwise. Larger pieces of furniture eat up the room, sure, but they also make the space more interesting.

Originally, the bed was by the windows, but people were afraid to sit on it. Now that the bed is in the middle of the room it’s inviting. We love the bold decision to place this hulking walnut-frame bed center stage.

Tip: Don’t block the windows with curtains, as the light bestows spaciousness.

2. move things around

It’s a brilliant defense against boredom. Hang disparate works of art, from thrift stores, in changeable arrangements. Be sure to leave some pieces leaning against the wall (even on the floor) to keep the space looking like it’s in transition. 

3. create “rooms”

Multiple hangout areas, as opposed to one prominent living area, take the pressure off the space and provide a less formal setting for guests. These distinct nooks keep the eye and the imagination on the move, but the flow of the whole space is maintained.

4. hide clutter artfully

Screens or large painted canvases are a handy, attractive way of turning a messy corner into high style ornamentation. The “8” and “0” canvases hide work supplies and magazines.

5. keep things airy

In petite confines, it’s important to stay light. Hence, furniture with simple lines and crafty spatial dividers. A glass tabletop on an antique architectural column cut in half makes a handsome, not-too-bulky desk. 

6. know when to call the carpenter

Everyone loves a great shopping find, right?  But if you can’t find something that is right, don’t hesitate to have things built. These banquette boxes (with extra storage inside!) were custom-made by a Kentucky woodworker to maximize seating (five fit easily), since a big table was not an option. A custom banquette saves space and means more can fit around this small table. 

7. have a sense of humor

Remember you’re not living in a mansion. Undo distinguished pieces with offbeat things, like a funky chandelier over the dining table. A lot of personality can come from two disparate objects working off each other.