Décor is, and always will be, one of the most important aspects of any interior, as it is the element which adds our own personal touch and style to a home, and truly makes it our own. But when styling a small living space, such as an apartment or Tiny Home, just adding any old décor won't do. There is only a thin line between trying to design a beautiful look with some amazing décor, and accidentally ending up with a mish-mash of too many, or the wrong, pieces and simply creating noise and clutter.
So to clear the fog and give you a little help while trying to decide which décor is right for you to use in your small abode, we have compiled a list of our top 7 home décor tips for styling small spaces. To help us along the way, we’ve invited Jennifer Bomford, Estilo Living’s very own co-founder and head-stylist, to join us and lend her expert tips and advice.
1. Less is More
Our first tip to start us off, is to try to choose just one or two larger pieces of décor when styling a smaller space, which will stand out and catch people's attention when they enter a room. If chosen well, these pieces will easily convey the sense of style that you are trying to create. This will then remove the need to have many other smaller items displayed around the room, which create clutter and end up making your spaces feel cramped and claustrophobic. As they say… “Less is more”, and in this case it is definitely true!
Jennifer Says: “When working with a smaller living area, I try to use only a few larger and bolder decor pieces to make a statement, and avoid using too many smaller items throughout. This saves the need to display multiple smaller pieces, and if done right, the focal-point will be more than enough to fully convey the sense of style that you are going for. Less items, more space!”
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2. Make a Statement - Create a Focal Point
Similar to our previous point, a great way to take the focus off the size of a smaller room and make it feel bigger, is to carefully consider the home decor that you use. By adding a large piece of wall art, or an over-sized decor item like a vase on the mantle or coffee table, you are essentially creating a focal point for the room. This in turn will distract from the actual size of the space and make it feel much larger.
Jennifer Says: Opt for only a few larger, bolder décor pieces, to create an attention-grabbing center-piece or focal-point. This will draw the attention away from the size of the room, giving the impression that it is actually more spacious. I find that a bold vase or large piece of art is perfect for this.”
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3. High Art
Another great reason why artwork is the perfect solution when trying to bring a small space to life, is that it doesn't take up any precious floor space, while simultaneously adding huge amounts of style to a room. Once again, we suggest sticking to only a couple of larger pieces, avoiding the use of many smaller frames, as this will reduce visual clutter and avoid making the room feel cramped and overly busy.
Another great tip for creating the biggest impact with your art is to focus (or not) on how and where you hang or display your art pieces. Often, when adding art work to our spaces we tend to over-think it and try to find the “perfect place”, positioning it too high on the wall, or in an overly-obvious way. To keep artwork interesting and appealing, position it in unexpected, subtle locations, a little off-center. A great tactic is to estimate the height by aiming for about eye-level, then off-setting it to hang at a slightly lower point than that. Test your placement for a few days with a removable hook, and then if it doesn’t work, or you don’t like it, you can easily move it to another spot.
Jennifer Says: “Wall art is my favorite way to bring any room to life, but I find it especially important when dealing with a smaller space. The kicker here is that artwork sits flush against the wall, taking up zero of our precious, and already limited, floor space, and to top it all off gives us the opportunity to light up the room and convey our own look and style! When hanging art work, I urge people not to try too hard to find the perfect place to display it. All too often, I see people hanging their pieces dead-center in the middle of their feature wall, and it ends up losing it’s appeal and seeming a little uninteresting. As a rule of thumb, go for a little off-center and you will find that you’ve created some depth and uniqueness with your walls.”
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4. Don’t Aim for Perfect: Diversify your Sizes
Scale and proportion are the key to creating a well designed room. One major mistake that people tend to make is trying to match decor to their furniture, including size and height. If everything matches too well, then it will look out of proportion, and a mess. It is much better to try to stagger the heights and sizes of your home decor pieces next to your furniture, at different heights and proportions, as this will add some valuable depth to your space.
Jennifer Says: “Scale and proportion are two of the most important aspects of design. If everything is the same size and height, or either too big or too small, your room will look and feel very staged, and end up looking undesirable. Just because you live in a small space doesn’t mean it needs to feel cramped and uneven."
5. Use Mirrors
Mirrors are one of the best home decor pieces to add to any smaller home, and are definitely one of our favorites. They not only look amazing as style pieces, adding huge amounts of character to your walls, but they are also a great way to make any room look bigger, adding extra depth to a space. This is the easiest way to trick the eye and give the impression that a room is much larger than it actually is. Also, if your home does not have the luxury of a large amount of natural light, mirrors can help to make the most of what you do have by reflecting it around the room. We suggest using a single larger mirror to line an entire wall, or create a unique gallery effect when using various smaller shapes and sizes together.
Jennifer Says: "I love using mirrors in smaller homes! They not only look great as a style feature, but they also add the illusion of depth, lending another few feet to any room."
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6. Choose the Right Rug
Choosing the right rug or mat is a big decision when styling any home, but even more so when working with a smaller space, like a condominium or tiny house. The rug needs to be just the right size - if it is too big for the space, it is going to make the dimensions of the room, as well as other elements, such as furniture and décor, look awkward and feel cramped; if it is too small, it is also going to confuse the proportions of the room and look a mess.
When choosing a rug or mat, it is important to measure the space that you will be using it in first. This may be the size of the entire room in a smaller space, or in a larger room just the section that you want to style (such as the sofa setting area in your living room, for example). A rug can essentially compartmentalize a room, helping to break up the space and create obviously defined areas.
Jennifer Says: “Take some time to choose the right rug for your space. Measure the room first, and the rug, and don’t rush into it until you are sure you have the right rug for you. Rugs and mats are often a side-thought when styling a home - people don’t realize just how important they are to a room’s look and feel!”
7. Keep It Cohesive
Always remember that there are only a limited number of things to look at in a small space, so it’s important to make sure that they all fit together well. We suggest sticking to a limited color palette across everything (furniture, decor, and the color that you paint your walls), keeping it light and airy, or dark and dramatic. Also, try to choose decor pieces which are of a similar style and compliment each other. If colors and styles clash too much, you will be left with a space that feels messy and cluttered.
But be careful here, as if done incorrectly you can risk losing the uniqueness in a space, which can end up making the room feel flat and boring. To avoid this, use varying shades of the same color palette, without making them identical.
Jennifer Says: "One way that I like to create depth and cohesion in a smaller space is to try matching the color palette between the walls, furniture and decor. But to avoid ending up with a plain and boring experience, I try to use various shades of the same color, mixing them but making sure to never match them completely. For example, if using a palette of blues, I would employ various shades, ranging from the darker tones all the way through to the mid-shades, but avoid repeating the same color too many times."
Estilo Living's Products
At Estilo Living, we focus on specialist solutions for small living spaces, rather than just taking the "one size fits all" approach like many other home décor brands. After immersing ourselves in everything related to style and design for small spaces, such as apartments and Tiny Homes, we have found the best home décor, storage and space saving products and ideas to specially suit smaller homes. Even though we have a major focus on tiny houses and small apartments, our solutions will work in any small living space, whether that be a cabin, flat, bungalow, condominium, or even RV!
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