If you’re a New Yorker like me, then you’ve probably mastered the art of doing a lot with a little. Simply because, a small space living is the best (or only) option there is to choose from. However, functional does not always equate to glamorous, and sometimes a tiny space doesn’t represent the personality or flair of the individual or dweller.

But that’s also what makes small space design so much fun. Whether you live in a studio apartment or want to get more out of a small room, experts can help you with small space design ideas that will make it feel so much larger.

That’s why we’ve enlisted some much needed help to share their key tips to turn your interior design into the space that you’ve always dreamed of — no matter the square footage.

Designer, lifestyle expert and upcoming host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Breegan Jane is living the California life (i.e. bigger, more expansive space then us New Yorkers), but her design work has ranged from custom designing personal creative music studios to managing international real estate projects. So when we thought about some much needed TLC in transforming a home space she was definitely the obvious choice.

Sarah Fishburne, Director of Trend and Design at The Home Depot also had some great perspectives to share from a brand angle, “Decorating a small space presents unique challenges, but whether you’re downsizing or accustomed to a small floor plan or city life, it can be simple to make the most of your space,”As an interior designer, I’ve always advised those in small spaces to be nimble with décor and make sure it’s to scale for the size of the space. Living in a small area doesn’t mean that you have to give up design for the sake of functionality – it simply pushes you to be more purposeful with chic, cozy design choices.”

Here are a few essential tips on how to turn your space from glum to glam — all on a budget.

Create a multi-functional space. Make the most out of your space by equipping them for a variety of purposes. “I would suggest room dividers and to think about the separation of space when you have a small space,” says Jane. “Modular is going to be the way to go. Whether that is a couch that pulls into a bed for your guests or anything that allows you to transform one room into the other. That can be achieved through room dividers, beautiful curtains that can hang around the ceiling. This can make a private space more private and then be able to open it up. Anything you can do to make a space have multiple uses is going to help you maximize the square footage.”

Use bright, neutral color palettes. “When you’re limited on square footage, keeping things open or clean is always going to help visually,” shares Jane. “Whites are always an easy way to rest the eyes and make things more expansive where they are. Artwork is really a great way to divide areas and bring in that extra layer of color.”

Fishburne agrees, “You cannot underestimate the power of color within a small space to trick the eye. A light, neutral color palette will make your small space appear larger. That doesn’t mean your space has to be void of any color. Pick soft hues and possibly add in an accent color or even patterned wallpaper for visual interest.”

Keep it simple. There’s not much space to begin with, so overloading your home with complex themes that call for a ton of décor and oversized furniture only makes things worse and can place a major dent in your wallet.

Utilize storage organizers. Is there unused space under your couch, cabinets, or beds? Put it to good use. Find them at your local budget store or shop California Closets Essentials, which now offers an array of  jewelry boxes and stackable trays for use in optimizing spaces, big and small. 

Look for products that do double duty. “You need furniture that is flexible and has a lot of functions, says Janice Simonsen, IKEA U.S. Design Spokesperson. “Seating that can convert into a bed, and tables that are equipped to handle storage. Carts add mobile and multi-functional storage, anywhere you want it.”

Shop at affordable retailers. Ikea, Home Depot and Poly & Bark aren’t only affordable, they offer tons and tons of cute furniture for interior decorating and home organization on a budget. While they may seem overwhelming at first glance, they have everything you need to efficiently store your belongings and decorate your home without running out of space or breaking the bank.

Choose furniture that serves multiple purposes. “In a small space, every inch counts,” says Home Depot’s Fishburne.Instead of trying to make an existing piece work in your space, focus on buying pieces that will work with you. Some types of small space or multi-purpose furniture to consider are trundle beds, glass coffee and end tables to make your space feel larger, and ottomans which can double as storage and seating.”


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