Big new ideas for small spa­ces

The Progress-Index - At Home - - News - BY KAREN SUL­LI­VAN

High-rise up­town con­dos and strands of sub­ur­ban apart­ment com­mu­ni­ties con­tinue to be built, proof that big­ger is not bet­ter for ev­ery­one.

And home fur­nish­ing com­pa­nies are ca­ter­ing to this ex­pand­ing mar­ket. As a re­sult, con­sumers can fit lots of new com­forts into a mod­est foot­print.

With a smart ap­proach to de­sign, smaller spa­ces can be ef­fi­cient, ele­gant and wel­com­ing, ex­perts say.

Here are some of their tips for mak­ing even the tini­est small space some­thing spe­cial.


Sleek, clean lines and sim­ple de­signs do bet­ter in small spa­ces, says home de­sign and stag­ing ex­pert Wendy Field, owner of Field Con­sult­ing in Char­lotte, N.C. The im­proved fu­ton Bed­dinge sofa bed from Ikea (start­ing at $279) has that un­clut­tered look that keeps a room feel­ing spa­cious. Smaller ap­pli­ances might also be the best choice. Re­frig­er­a­tor draw­ers can be built along­side the lower cab­i­nets. A small washer can be stored in a closet. MAKE EV­ERY­THING MUL­TI­TASK Use ta­bles and chairs in dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes. Some pieces can tran­si­tion from din­ner­time buf­fet to of­fice or home­work space. Choose a small chest of draw­ers for a bed­room night­stand for ex­tra stor­age. A cof­fee ta­ble should also have stor­age. CHOOSE MOV­ABLE PIECES Ot­tomans and chairs or a guest bed can be in the mid­dle of the room one minute, then pushed against the wall the next to make room for more peo­ple or games. For ex­am­ple, a one-bed­room Char­lotte condo has a small gal­ley kitchen that opens to the liv­ing room. The stools can be used for seat­ing or as side ta­bles, says de­signer Cathy Diel of Diel De­sign & In­te­ri­ors. Many ot­tomans also have stor­age ar­eas. USE VER­TI­CAL SPACE Prevent­ing clut­ter is a chal­lenge in a small space, says Jen­nifer Fores­man, se­nior

man­ager of trend and de­sign for Home De­pot. Shelves and cab­i­nets can con­ceal per­sonal items, as well as the bed when it’s not be­ing used. The same ap­proach to keep­ing things tidy can be used in an of­fice.


It makes sense to spend a lit­tle more to dress up a pow­der room or tiny kitchen, be­cause pricy ma­te­ri­als will be used in small quan­ti­ties. Use high-end floor­ing, wall­pa­per or mar­ble that you could not af­ford in a large space, says Fores­man. Las Ve­gas de­signer Tay­lor Bor­sari dec­o­rated a pow­der room with sil­ver-leaf pat­tern on lime­stone tile from Walker Zanger. The sink is con­crete.


Color is the least ex­pen­sive way to dra­mat­i­cally change a room. Vi­brant tones are fine for a small space, Fores­man says. Con­trast­ing col­ors can have a huge im­pact, giv­ing a room di­men­sion or draw­ing the eye to ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails. Diel rec­om­mends lim­it­ing the pal­ette to two or three col­ors. A wide stripe be­hind the bed can make the ceil­ing feel taller.


Fewer for­mal spa­ces: Open floor plans are well suited to small spa­ces. The idea is to use ev­ery space in as many ways as pos­si­ble.

Of­fices ab­sent: Lap­tops and other por­ta­ble de­vices make it pos­si­ble to work al­most any­where. You’re less likely to find some­one sit­ting alone in a room be­hind a large desk.

Stream­lined fur­nish­ings: Grand pieces clut­ter smaller spa­ces. Even the tele­vi­sion takes up less space to­day, thanks to flatscreen de­signs.


Home fur­nish­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers are ca­ter­ing to smaller liv­ing spa­ces found in the trend for more up­town and high rise hous­ing.


Home fur­nish­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers are ca­ter­ing to smaller liv­ing spa­ces found in the trend for more up­town and high rise hous­ing.

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