Whether it’s a cramped one-bedroom in the city or a petite guest room in the country, nearly everyone has had the challenge of decorating a small space. In these situations, the style of each item of furniture you select is less important than the overall scale and dimensions. This doesn’t mean you should choose only petite pieces (doing that will only throw off the room’s proportions), it just means that you don’t want to crowd a room with too many things.

The goal is to maintain a sense of openness by leaving some floor space free. For instance, if you can’t live without a three-seat sofa, skip the end tables in favor of a spacious coffee table and floor lamps (or, even better, sconces). The formal decorating principle of balance is also key. In the aforementioned example of a three-seat sofa and coffee table combination, make sure the latter isn’t too small. While you can choose a slimmer coffee table to keep floor space clear, the length should be approximately three-quarters of your sofa. A “shorter” coffee table will only highlight how large the sofa is within the space, and create an awkward feeling.

Looking for ideas to start your redecorating project? Take a look at the following five items that are designer-approved for small spaces.

Nesting Tables

One to try: Kipp Stewart Mid-Century Modern Walnut Nesting Tables

Why they work: It’s all about versatility with a set of nesting tables. Depending on height, you can pair them to use as a coffee table alternative, use them as end tables (either separately or nested together as one table), or separate the set to use as cocktail tables for a party.


One to try: Designe Gallerie Stitched Saddle Leather Trunk

Why they work: Stylish and functional, trunks add character while lending some extra storage space. Like nesting tables, storage trunks can also work as an alternative coffee table – just top with a tray to protect the surface.


One to try: Pierre Paulin Magis Flower Acrylic Chair (Set of 2)

Why it works: It’s all about preserving sight lines, which is crucial in making a small space feel more open and airy. Because of this, opting for a clear material like Lucite also allows you to fit a few more pieces into your space without creating a cramped look.


One to try: Baker Star Mirror

Why they work: Mirrors reflect light, helping to brighten your interior for a more open feel. Don’t overlook the fact that they can visually “double” your space – an illusion that’s welcome in tinier quarters.

Area Rugs

One to try: Bokara Rug Company Oversized Indian Damask Wool Rug

Why they work: This frequently overlooked element does more than just add color and texture to a space. An area rug helps define living spaces; it’s something that helps you subtly divide a room that serves multiple functions (like a combined living/dining area) without creating a harsh division. A room-sized rug in a lighter color can also make a room look a bit more expansive than a room with a dark floor or carpet.


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