The Best Small Spaces of 2017

Because lots of square footage shouldn’t be a requirement for chic decor.

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tiny mobile home bathroom
Photography by TINY HEIRLOOM

Contrary to popular belief, small spaces can make a big design statement. From balancing bold color palettes to completely re-imaging household essentials to yes, even living in a space no larger than your parents’ walk-in closet, these small spaces are more than optical illusions but feats of bold design and innovation. Employing clever layouts, thoughtful design choices, and strategic sight lines to make even the tiniest spaces feel cool and cozy rather than cramped, these quarters inspire us to cherish every inch.

If you thought living in a tiny home meant forsaking all the amenities of a full-sized bathroom: think again. This super fun, bold house boasts all the bells and whistles of a full-sized residence, including a spa-like bathroom with a luxurious corner jacuzzi tub that doubles as a shower. We’re taking notes from the stylish

subway tile

that contrasts the deep teal on the walls and trendy trough sink.


With enough space to eat, sleep, and lounge it’s hard to believe this entire living space only clocks in at 107 sq ft. Taking full advantage of the large-scale window and high ceilings, this charming Swedish apartment uses all-white walls and built-in cabinetry to make the kitchen and dining/living area feel bright and full of light.

Peek Inside This Chic Small Kitchen Renovation
Photography by Whitney Leigh Morris

Whitney Leigh Morris makes the most of the 400 sq ft dwelling she shares with her husband, son, and two dogs. A galley-style kitchen with countertops that double as an eat-in area is the perfect way to maximize space in this cozy Cali cottage. Plus, the adjacent living space provides an open floor-plan that is warm and inviting, not cluttered or cramped.

contemporary nyc apartment
Photography by NICK GLIMENAKIS

This burnt orange sofa is a striking focal point in photographer Nick Gilmenakis’ 500- square-foot New York apartment. Though his space may skimp on square footage, it’s full of polish and style that shows off Gilmenakis’ affinity for masculine style and streamlined finishes. The bold couch contrasts against matte black accents that exist throughout the space.

Small Space Decor Tips From A 650 Square Foot Bohemian Apartment - Kitchen

In a big city, sometimes a small space rental is the best option. But as Chelsae Sahlman’s boho-chic pad proves, rentals don’t require omission of personal style. We love how she brings the outside in with tons of pretty houseplants and a palette of blush and earth tones. This kitchen’s

open shelving

provides a stylish storage space and Sahlman hangs her sentimental mugs above as both strategic storage and intentional decor.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- open floor plan

An open layout preserves the overall flow of a space and makes this 1,745-square-foot L.A. home seem bigger than it actually is. The big window and fun color palette keeps the home feeling fresh and playful.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- small home office

How to make the most of a small space 101: take advantage of every possible nook and cranny. A small desk fits perfectly in the corner of this 650-square-foot apartment.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- angled bathroom
Photography by MAX KIM-BEE

An awkward ceiling angle didn’t stop the designers of this minimalist dream bathroom. Strategically positioning your furniture to complement the angles of your small room, like placing the tub at the lowest point of the ceiling, is key when designing a tiny space.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- small bedroom
Photography by NATHALIE MALIC

This simple tiny bedroom is every bit as dreamy as its bigger counterparts. We love how the owner of the room repurposed the windowsill as extra storage space to display accent pieces.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- get rid of clutter
Photography by IKEA

One of the most important things to keep in mind when decorating a small space is getting rid of clutter. Keeping everything tidy and out of sight provides the illusion of added space; something that this room does perfectly through mounted shelves and a dining table that comes with drawers.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- small home office
Photography by NICOLE FRANZEN

Transforming a wall into a bulletin board or chalkboard is ideal when you lack space for a full home office – and instead have to rely on a corner. It designates the area as a work-specific environment without so much as one bulky room divider!

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- daybed

A daybed is the ultimate multifunctional decor piece. It’ll take any space from living room to bedroom, in an instant. This room makes even more efficient use of the lack of square footage by having the daybed built into the wall to minimize the space it takes up.

When space is an issue, think vertically. Taking full advantage of every available surface to add shelving or even a full library adds character and ensures you’re not wasting any preciuos space.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- open shelving dining room
Photography by ROBERT PETERSON

Open shelving takes the place of a china cabinet in this small dining room, providing both organized storage space and an opportunity to display your favorite books and decor pieces.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- minimalist kitchen
Photography by REMODELISTA

Being more intentional about decorating helps you only keep what you truly use and love. This tiny kitchen is minimalist perfection, allowing the bold green cabinetry to really pop as the focal point.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- outdoor garden

A lack of space actually makes this tiny outdoor garden even cozier. Whitney Leigh Morris, the blogger and designer of

tiny canal cottage

who created this little patio area, opted for pieces that were easily collapsible in case she needed extra space in a pinch.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- dining nook
Photography by MYDOMAINE

A full dining room is nice but as this room proves, a dining nook can be just as stylish. Banquette seating provides extra storage and doesn’t take up as much space as bulkier chairs.

2017's Best Small Space Decorating Ideas- room divider
Photography by IKEA

How smart is this? A canopy bedframe doubles as a room divider in this studio. The versatile piece creates the illusion of two separate rooms without obstructing the natural light.

Originally published May 2017. Updated December 2017.

Elly Leavitt

Writer and Editor

Elly enjoys covering anything from travel to funky design (tubular furniture, anyone?) to the latest cultural trend. Her dream apartment would exist on the Upper West Side and include a plethora of mismatched antique chairs, ceramic vessels, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases—essential to her goal of becoming a poor man’s Nora Ephron. You can probably find her in line at Trader Joe’s. You will never find her at SoulCycle.