Make A Big Impact In Small Spaces Style Guide

Make A Big Impact In Small Spaces Style Guide

Tara Dickinson
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Small Apartment & Tiny Home Decor Design Tips

There are several small space styling tricks that can be used to make your tiny abode pack a real design punch. If you plan correctly any furnishings and decor used in your petite place can also easily transition to a larger space if that time comes. Make the most of your compact space by going bold, using multipurpose furnishings, and choosing a strong design style. And don’t forget to maximize vertical space as well; go up!


First Rule: DeClutter!

Every square inch counts when you are working with limited square footage. To make the most of your space, decluttering is truly essential. This guide will offer you step-by-step outlines as well as ways to sell or recycle everything you no longer want.

  • Tchotchke overload makes a space feel busy and claustrophobic.
  • Limiting your décor elements to purposeful statements is key.
  • Add interest with strong artwork and live plants.

Small spacePaint & Palette Colors

  • Light shades of color will keep a space feeling open and airy.
  • Lighter-colored walls and furniture basics in toned-down shades set a good foundation.
  • Vibrant colors can be added via artwork, accents, and throw pillows.
  • The same goes for darker or bolder colors; use in accessories or an accent wall.
  • Using paint in a unique application, such as a mural, stripes, or one with a high-gloss finish is one way to make a visual statement.
  • Keep your bold to small doses.

small spaceBold Wallpaper

The walls in your small space are prime real estate for creating visual impact.

  • Let loose with color and design.
  • Install wallpaper with a big pattern across all the walls; this will help expand space in size.
  • If you are feeling really bold, do the ceiling too.
  • Peel-and-stick wallpaper is great for rentals.

Use Lighting To Make A Statement

Lighting is the jewelry of the room and a simple way to make a small space feel instantly memorable. Swap out boring builder-grade ceiling lights for interesting eclectic alternatives. Purposeful fixtures make a huge difference in any room, both in terms of aesthetic and lighting quality.

  • Lighting can easily change the mood of a room.
  • If you have an open, one-room small space layout, lighting placement helps break up the space.
  • Beautiful sconces
  • A stylish chandelier.
  • An artsy pendant (or pair of them).
  • Consider bulb type too; softer wattage.
  • Add a dimmer to make the lighting warmer.
  • Switching out a basic lampshade for one with more style or color can make all of the difference.
  • Check out these great tips for selecting lighting.

Fabulous Flooring

Using the floors as a place to make a statement is also a fun way to add design panache to your small space.

  • Creative flooring can make a small space feel extra unique and full of personality.
  • Painted cement.
  • A mixture of tiles.
  • Faux vinyl wood looks.
  • Decorative area rugs are a great option as you can switch them out to different looks when you easily want a change of decor.

Light Furniture

Furnishings with a lighter visual weight will make a space feel more open as well.

  • Examples: glass, lucite, slim and sleek designs.
  • A low-profile box spring will make your bedroom appear larger.
  • Hanging shelves versus a bookcase keeps the space flowing.

Colorful Seating

If neutrals are not really your thing, it is absolutely OK to bring strong color into your small space through the furniture too.

  • Going bold can definitely make your room feel extra special.
  • Not quite ready for a red sofa, start smaller with side chairs.

Throw Pillows

Nothing is easier than using patterned, colorful, textured throw pillows to jazz up your small space.

  • It’s an easy way to make a minimal commitment to your power punch of color; the seriously simple way to spruce up your sofa.
  • Switch them out with the various seasons.
  • Mix bold prints with solids, or choose varying shades of soft neutrals in differing textures for a fast, easy, and beautiful change.
  • For space-saving purposes, look for covers you can swap on and off the same pillow insert.

Functional Multi-use Furniture

Furniture pieces that save space are of course ideal for use in small spaces. Some examples that make a bold statement include:

  • A Murphy bed.
  • A mirror medicine cabinet or mirror jewelry cabinet.
  • Chairs that refold into step ladders.
  • Collapsible side tables.

Statement Curtains

Window treatments can make the whole feel of a room change, from sleek and modern with micro blinds to warm and cozy with floor-to-ceiling drapery.

  • Flowing fabric draperies add warmth to a small space.
  • Any window treatment makes the overall design feel composed.
  • Floor to ceiling drapery draws the eye up and makes the space feel much grander.
  • Mounting them close to the ceiling will give the illusion of a larger space; drawing attention to the ceiling makes the room expand.
  • Window treatments are also a great way to introduce color and pattern without overwhelming the room.
  • Roman shades in colorful fabrics are a lovely option.

Gallery Art Wall

A wall full of art is the perfect focal point in a small space. There are no rules when it comes to designing your art wall but many designers stick to a certain color palette or a general style (say a modern or musical or other theme-based collection such as nature).

  • Oversized art can give a small space that larger-than-life personality.
  • Mix up a gallery wall with prints and memorabilia.
  • Think outside the box and include 3-D items: jewelry pieces, bowls or plates, sculptural items, or anything else that you adore.
  • Make your own piece of art such as decoupaging a favorite poster onto a painted board.
  • Frame a favored puzzle that you completed.

A Touch Of Life

Adding greenery to a small space is the easiest way to add color, texture, freshness, and a breath of life.

  • A gorgeous plant will bring in the perfect organic touch of color and life into a small space.

Add A Bold Area Rug

A good-sized floor textile can instantly transform the vibe in your small space and create a more expansive feel. A large area rug might be the most prominent surface in the room in a tiny house.

  • Using patterns and bold colors will easily make a statement in your space.
  • When selecting your rug, don't go too small. A rug that isn’t the proper size can make your space feel even more closed in.
  • Pick a floor covering that's large enough so most of the furniture will sit on it. Try for at least the front two legs of the pieces.

Durability Tip: Wool rugs are the easiest to clean and will last a lot longer than synthetic options.


Adding shelves to a blank wall and styling them with what you already own is an easy and affordable way to make a major impact in a small space.

  • Floor to ceiling built-ins added over the doorsways are an excellent way to utilize the given space.

Tiny Kitchen Backsplash

  • Installing a unique, bold backsplash will make the most decor-wise of your small space. Not only protects your walls but also gives it a pop of color and style.
  • Adding a bold backsplash will give you the decor punch.

Mirrors Are Elemental

Mirrors are magical little wonders for small spaces. The reflective surfaces have the advantage of adding depth and expansiveness when used correctly.

  • Mirrors reflect natural light to make the room look larger.
  • Position them facing windows to maximize the effect.
  • Layering more than one is another wonderful visual adventure.
  • An oversized mirror or a gallery wall of mirrors in different sizes and shapes is a great way to add the illusion of more square footage into any space.
  • This bounces lighting within the space, making everything look even brighter.


Creating a mighty decor impact in a small space might feel impossible. You want (and need) to fit as much in as possible, but the room can’t feel stifling either. With the right tactics, it is possible to have a small space that's full of stylish flair. Even though you might be living in minimalist square footage, you don’t need to sacrifice style with bold decor choices.


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