A scaled-down liv­ing zone doesn’t mean you have to scale down your look. We share tips, tricks and fur­ni­ture finds to help de­sign your petite rooms


If there’s barely room to swing a cat, don’t fret. These pieces pack a punch in a tight squeeze

You’ve heard all the rules about de­sign­ing a small space – use light colours, avoid clut­ter, place your fur­ni­ture close to the walls. But when it comes to choos­ing fur­ni­ture and stor­age pieces, there is one over­ar­ch­ing idea to keep in mind – ver­sa­til­ity. If your key liv­ing zones are mod­est, then ev­ery piece has to jus­tify its worth with max­i­mum flex­i­bilty. Dif­fer­ent rooms call for dif­fer­ent func­tions, and it’s worth think­ing (hard) about how you re­ally use each room, so you can plan a lay­out that fits with your life­style.

First up, the din­ing area, which may be com­bined with the kitchen or liv­ing space in a small home. Flow is very im­por­tant here, es­pe­cially in tighter spa­ces. Cir­cu­lar and el­lip­ti­cal-shaped ta­bles will al­low eas­ier move­ment around the room and avoid any sharp cor­ners. Pair­ing a curved ta­ble with a slim­line bench against a wall works well. Fewer din­ing chairs clears vis­ual clut­ter from the room, and a bench can be handy for squeez­ing in ex­tra guests when needed. Pick small, light-framed chairs or even a pair of stools that can be tucked right un­der the ta­ble when not in use, or eas­ily moved to other rooms.

Next? The liv­ing area. In petite floor plans, it’s often com­bined with the en­try area, which means it needs to look good and of­fer stor­age op­tions. The key is max­imis­ing the ver­ti­cal space. Think wall-mounted shelves with hang­ing space be­low, com­bined with a bench with bas­kets un­der­neath it. That’s shoes, coats, hats and keys sorted in one spot. The flex­i­bil­ity of these pieces will help re­lieve the clut­ter as­so­ci­ated with com­pact spa­ces. Fur­ni­ture that has mul­ti­ple uses is es­sen­tial. Con­sider ot­tomans and cof­fee ta­bles that can be used as stor­age, as well as a footrest or ca­sual seat­ing, or so­fas with built-in side ta­bles. This is where form and func­tion meet for the best re­sults.

Don’t for­get the bed­room, where you spend your pre­cious sleep time. If you don’t have much space around your bed, choose slim­line fur­ni­ture. A bed frame raised on legs will look lighter than a base and en­sem­ble. Wall-hung shelves and lights will free up even more space, and a ledge be­hind your bed can also be home to propped art­works or ac­ces­sories. Mir­rors are an old trick to ef­fec­tively dou­ble the sense of space in any room, in­clud­ing your sleep­ing zone.

Small-space liv­ing doesn’t have to be lim­ited. Keep­ing flex­i­bil­ity to the fore means smart de­sign that will al­low you to live big.

Ge­brüder Thonet Vi­enna GmBH ‘Coat Rack’ bench, $3530, Space Fur­ni­ture, space­fur­ni­

Kar­pen­ter ‘ Sim­ply City’shelf, from $599, Life In­te­ri­ors, lifein­te­ri­

Bella Casa ‘Malmo’ open wardrobe, $1049, Tem­ple & Web­ster, tem­ple­andweb­

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