Sure, decorating a 5,500 square foot house is a big task-trying to find enough stuff to fill a place that size takes time. But have you ever tried to make a 500 square foot apartment work and look good? Now THAT’S a real challenge. Every inch of a home this size has to be functional; there is literally no room for underutilized space. However, just because it’s small doesn’t mean it can’t have style as well. Read on to see some of the tricks that I use when I design for my clients who have big dreams but small spaces:

CHOOSE FURNITURE WISELY

When space is limited you must make your furniture multitask. For instance, in the living room have your ottoman double as your coffee table. A stool or cube can be a side table next to the sofa, and then use it as a chair when company comes over. In the bedroom, put sconces on the wall or have lights hang from the ceiling to conserve surface space on bedside tables (or if there isn’t room for tables at all). And don’t forget the bed itself; it takes up a large amount of floor area, so put that space to use: have storage underneath the mattress. Gas lift-beds make it easy to move the mattress up and down, and you can put items inside that you don’t use every day like suitcases and winter clothes.

USE POCKET DOORS

Regular doors take up precious floor area with their swing, so I install pocket doors whenever possible within a small space. Pocket doors are great because they slide right into the wall when they’re open; you get more useable square footage as a result. Also, if you make the door glazed, either opaque or clear, this allows light to flow into the space, even when the door is closed.

CONSIDER A MURPHY BED

A murphy bed is a great way to free up space in a room during the day and then transform it into a bedroom at night. They are good for guest rooms, studio apartments, and even living rooms, as the bed slots right into the wall and out of the way if you’re having people over. One key thing to look for is a bed that looks as good when it’s closed as when it’s open, as it will become part of the room’s décor when not in use. I design my own custom murphy beds for my clients because I want to give them something functional and beautiful. Check out my YouTube video to see one in action!

INSTALL A WALL DESK

Think you have no room for a home office? Think again. There are usually a few nooks and crannies in even the smallest apartment that aren’t being used, perfect for a desk area. For instance, if you have an alcove, consider installing a wall-mounted desk and floating shelves above. Another trick that I often use with clients is to transform one of their closets into an office area. More often than not, a hallway closet is being used to store clutter, so it it’s a great way to pare down and simplify while giving you a dedicated space to work.

So there you have it, some great ways to maximize usability of your small space, without sacrificing looks. Hopefully you’ll be able to put them into practice. I’ll leave you with a few more quick “why didn’t I think of that?” tricks. Enjoy!

*Ditch the console-it’s a huge space waster. Mount your TV on the wall to get thatfloor space back to use for something else.

*Hang mirrors to reflect light and make your space feel larger and brighter.

*Use a sheer curtain to simply and easily divide a small space but still let light through. Choose a beautiful fabric to increase the luxe factor of your space.

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