If you live in a small space, you’ve heard this myth a thousand times: Maximalism and tiny living do not mix. But while we love a neutral space and the art of designing a calming oasis as your apartment, there’s no need to turn to forced minimalism. Funky patterns, vibrant hues, and statement-making decor do have a place in even the tiniest of homes—you just may have to be a bit strategic about how you’re going to make it happen.
Feeling stuck on where to begin? Peek inside some of our favorite maximalist small spaces, for all the colorful design inspiration you’ll need.
If there’s anyone who knows how to infuse life into a tiny home, it’s Kim Lewis. Her 560-square-foot home in South Austin is the ideal of function-meets-fashion: She shares the space with her husband and baby daughter, but somehow doesn’t scrimp on style. Her secret? Elevating seemingly mundane essentials—a purple oven, for example, or adding pattern to the bathroom door—make the little things feel more special.
Every inch of this desert home is Pinterest-worthy and full of life—and while 1,000 square feet sounds palatial to those of us currently confined to minuscule apartments, as far as regular houses go it’s definitely on the smaller side. You would never guess that, though, given the bursts of color present in this Palm Springs space. The key here seems to be designing around like colors. Warm desert tones get a saturated makeover, with bright orange and tomato red taking center stage. Everything feels cohesive despite the exuberant style.
This 700-square-foot studio is a study in maximalist-minimalism—by which we mean, the bones may be clean and whitewashed, but the adornments are anything but. Cool graphics and punchy primary hues feel modern and fresh. The simple backsplash allows them to really pop and make their mark on the tiny home.
Try confining wallpaper to one accent wall in a tiny space, as this 900-square-foot Victorian home has done. Complemented by a similarly hued aqua sofa, it pulls the space together instead of looking out of place. We also love the idea of painting an otherwise boring storage piece (like the chest of emerald green drawers) to spice it up and make even the utilitarian items in a room feel intentional.
This vibrant space is the 650-square-foot apartment of our very own social media editor, Alyssa Clough. And if ever there was a case to be made for taking your time with design, her home would be it—she carefully curated her space over the course of a year and a half. As a result, the more maximalist sensibility of the abode reads collected and cool, rather than slapdash. Smaller, thoughtful touches, like the hand-painted rainbow mural or blue-themed coffee table accessories, lend a personal feel to the eclectic home.
Tiny kitchen? Make every inch of space count, and have your more design-focused essentials double as decor. That’s what Brooklyn-based design duo Chiaozza did in their 750-square-foot apartment, turning their impressive mug and glassware collection into a form of wall art. open shelving may not be the best idea for any homeowners super preoccupied with keeping everything dust-free, but if you’re low on storage space and need to add interest to an empty wall, it’s the way to go.
When it comes to plants, we’re not sure if there’s such thing as “too much,” and photographer Chelsae Sahlman’s 650-square-foot place certainly makes the case for keeping maximum greenery in minimal square feet. Filling empty corners and little nooks with a variety of houseplants is a great trick to steal to make a small space feel cozy but not cramped—plus, an overflow of plants always ends up looking bohemian, not cluttered. It’s a win on all fronts.
This one-bedroom, 600-square-foot apartment in San Francisco currently houses a family of three, and they make it work by squeezing color and unique decorative touches into every blank corner. We’re particularly envious of all their gallery wall , a mix of professional artwork and sentimental pieces that are either a product of the couple’s seven-year-old daughter or a very avant-garde artist. This particular [%2964%] works well at separating this corner “office” space, sectioning it off from the rest of the room to feel like its own individual little space. When you don’t have that many formal rooms in a tiny home, tricks like this can help fake extra space.
See more small space hacks to try now:
How to Make Your Studio Seem Bigger Than it Actually Is
The Small Space Storage Solutions We Swear By
6 Genius Furniture Finds Your Small Outdoor Space Needs
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