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How to organise and furnish a small space

by Vanessa Moir

Don’t let living in a small space cramp your style! This month Open Colleges Interior Design student Vanessa Moir will teach you the top 12 ways to maximise small living spaces.

While organising a small space can feel challenging, it can be a blessing in disguise as it encourages us to maximise every inch of the space! I have always felt drawn to the idea of decorating small areas as I enjoy the challenge of creating an organised and functional space which is also unique and stylish.

Whether you are downsizing your family home or setting up your first apartment, with a little knowledge and some creativity, you could be on your way to creating a small space which is chic yet functional. Below are some simple, very affordable tricks and tips which you can try at home!

Use neutral colours

Use light, neutral colours on the walls and ceiling as this will give the illusion of higher ceilings and will make the room appear more spacious. You can achieve this quite simply by sticking to a classic white or cream paint colour scheme.

Visual weight

Every object carries a visual weight, for example large bulky objects carry more weight than delicate pieces. Try to use furniture with exposed legs and glass table tops as these will consume minimal visual space.

Let in light

Avoid bulky window furnishings which can block out natural light and instead, invest in simple, minimalistic window furnishings which allow natural light to stream through.

Go vertical

Play with vertical lines to draw the eye upwards creating the illusion of higher ceilings. This can be achieved through funky vertical striped wallpaper or floor to ceiling drapes.

Maximise wall space

Incorporate stylish floor to ceiling cabinets which serve a functional purpose in providing storage space while adding character to the room. Create a niche in the unit to use as a workstation or TV space.

Create zones

Create different zones within the space separating furniture based on function. Distinguishing the dining area from the living room will create a space which appears larger.

Double duty

Use your imagination to select furniture which serves a double duty, such as a desk which can also be used as a dining table or a bench that can be used as seating at the dining table and in the living room. This eliminates the need to buy separate pieces of furniture to serve both purposes.

Pull furniture away from walls

Try to arrange furniture away from the walls as the space around the furniture makes the room appear more spacious and less cluttered.

Add wall shelving

Don’t limit yourself to traditional bookcases. Add wall shelving to living areas, bedrooms and even bathrooms to create storage space and to utilise floor space. Add unique decor pieces, such as vases or photo frames, for extra character.

Declutter bedside tables

Eliminate the need for bulky bedside lamps, which can leave bedside tables looking full and cluttered, by opting for pendant bedside lighting.

Rollaway surfaces

Invest in rollaway surfaces, such a wheeled kitchen cart, which can provide a workspace either in the kitchen or the living room depending on where you need it.

Incorporate mirrors

A well placed mirror in a small space creates the illusion of depth, expanding walls and amplifying light. Incorporate mirrors to make rooms feel bigger and brighter.

Quite honestly, sometimes it only takes some small changes to make a big impact in your home. Try some of these fun and simple methods to utilise space and increase functionality without breaking the bank!

If you would like to see more of Vanessa’s work, check out her website at

In love with interiors?

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1 Response

  1. s3tkoncepts says:

    I love the ideas here. Thanks for your inspiration.

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