The Designer’s Guide to Dressing Up Your Small Space
Pros share their favorite accessories that make a big impact.
Updated Oct 22, 2018 6:59 PM
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While some people associate small space living with sacrificing style, we here at Domino know that small spaces really just imply a more creative decorating process. Adding accessories to any home is important in making it feel like your own, but when it comes to reduced square footage, even the smallest items can make the biggest difference.
We spoke to some of our favorite designers to ask them about their favorite ways to add character and flair to tiny homes—because if anyone has proof that decorative accents can be assets rather than clutter, it’s the experts. As Lindye Galloway told us, “You can always layer in accessories, no matter what the size of the space is. They add color and texture!”
Chic Coffee Table Books
When it comes to decorating your living room, don’t count out the surface real estate on your coffee table. Adding a few (or several) eye-catching books will personalize the space and make it feel a bit more homey. “I can’t get enough coffee table books, cozy throws, and flowers,” says Sarah Wittenbraker. “And a good dog.” We agree: There is nothing quite like curling up with a good book…or a dog.
Shea McGee of Studio McGee advises loading up on items that serve double duty if you’re short on space. The perfect example? Chic trays to hold your miscellaneous items in one convenient place. “A tray that can corral magazines, a candle, and your remotes, or a beautiful box that can act as a bookend or hide candy (maybe that’s just me)”, says the designer of her small space must-haves.
Susana Simonpietri of Chango & Co has a soft spot for small dishes and trays, too. “I buy them compulsively,” she says. “For small spaces, they are ideal because they provide something that is easy to change and gets updated at little cost.”
Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth’s number one tip? Livening up your small space with some lush greenery. Natalie Myers of Veneer Designs is also firm proponent of adding a live plant to infuse your area with energy and personality. We love the mentality of Stephanie Watkins, who believes in what she calls the “3 P’s”: pillows, poufs, and plants. “Plants can make a small space feel full of life!” she says.
Invest in Good Lighting
Lighting can totally set the mood in any space. Per Becki Owens, “If you have pretty table lamps, pendants, and chandeliers you can turn them all on for a fun night of entertaining or dim them for a relaxing evening at home.” Try your hand at the statement lighting trend, or go smaller with something a little more discreet.
“I love mirrors, especially vintage gold ornate mirrors that can open up a small space with the reflection of light,” says Neffi Walker, and we couldn’t agree more. In smaller spaces, mirrors act as pseudo windows and make all the difference in having the area appear bigger.
Many of our designers stressed that chic, sculptural vases instantly add visual interest to any space. Lindye Galloway is a fan of layering interesting vases with geodes and coffee table books, while Lauren Balkan is a proponent of looking for vases that can double as sculptural art. Having trouble deciding on a particular type of vase? Follow Shea McGhee’s recommendation, and pick an option that looks good both alone and with flowers.
When space is at a premium, even furniture must serve multiple purposes. Joanna Hawley of Jojotastic uses her credenza that holds the TV to store extra books, bedding, and winter clothing. This helps her make the most of her 640 square-foot home. “Anything that becomes part of our space and day-to-day lives must serve multiple purposes!” she tells us.
“Candles can live in bedrooms, bathrooms, and main living spaces and [are] used daily to add a little joy into our mornings and afternoons,” says Susana Simonpietri. “Personally, I light a scented candle every evening when I enter my bedroom and [extinguish it] right before going to sleep. It’s become a ritual and I feel it helps with relaxing me and allowing me to fall into a restful sleep.” Be sure to follow these helpful tips and tricks to get the biggest lifespan out of your candle.
Our biggest takeaway? It’s the little things that matter the most.
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