Saturday, February 10, 2018

Making the Most of Small Spaces

Just because you live in a small space doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful, stylish home. 
We live in an old Victorian cottage that can be a challenge when it comes to decorating. 
Small rooms, doors everywhere, and dark little nooks. 
And, for someone who loves to collect, it's even more of a challenge. 

My number one rule:  Buy something, get rid of something. Declutter!
And yes, I count paperbacks and belts!

So, how to make the most of your small space? Here are a few ideas to consider. 
Of course, everyone has a different situation and a unique style 
so feel free to adapt these tips for your needs.

That brings me to my second rule: Live with what you love. 
If you're not a minimalist, find a way to display your treasured belongings. 
Make it work but remember less is more.

Something to keep in mind when it comes to your collections -- don't over-accessorize. 
Chose a few of your favorite accessories to display on the mantel or bookshelf. 
You can always switch things out every now and then to use other pieces of your collections and 
to keep the look fresh. Keeping accessories simple on your tables and shelves opens up the room.

A general rule to make your room look bigger is to limit your color palette to neutral, light colors. This will expand the visual flow of your room and make it appear larger. 

An accent wall in a different color may break that flow and chop up the space.
I tried an accent wall once in a dark red, which I thought was chic and dramatic. 
Over time, I realized it was just too much and felt like I'd hit a dead-end road. 
I toned it down, painting the entire space (living and dining rooms and foyer) all the same light color (Benjamin Moore Khaki). It's a color I've never tired of and goes with everything.

Speaking of accessories, one of the most effective accessories to make a room feel bigger is mirrors. Placed on a wall opposite a window a mirror reflects light into the room and visually expands
the space. Besides mirrors are one of those things I love to collect 
and I have them in every room of my house, even the kitchen.

Another easy tip is to keep your window coverings light and high. 
Hang them above the top of your window and expand their width by hanging them 
on the outer side of your window. 
I like to use an airy linen panel or a sheer that lets in the light and provides a little privacy.

Moving to the kitchen, keeping your counters clear of too many items 
will help make that space appear calmer and larger. 
Use unusual containers or baskets to hold your silverware or to contain utensils. 
Don't overlook vertical space in the kitchen. I'm lucky to have high ceilings. 
I display some collectibles on top of my cabinets and my pots and pans on the wall.

Another storage option is stacking vintage suitcases. 
They look warm and inviting in any room. 
I stack mine in my bedroom; they hold family photos and keepsakes. 
I also tie luggage tags on the handles stating the contents, 
making it easier to find what I'm looking for.

Take advantage of little nooks by turning them into an office space or a pantry. 
The hallway off my kitchen was narrow and not much use until I had a pantry built
on one wall giving me a lot more storage space. 
The top has glass doors for display with solid doors on the bottom for big items.
An additional pantry space fits on the landing and holds non-perishable food. 

Upstairs, I had two closets built in a space that we never used. 
We were lucky to find the original doors in the attic.
Then I tucked a pretty desk and some shelves in between them for a perfect office. 

I've saved the biggest tip, literally, for last -- furniture. 
Don't cram too much furniture into a space and keep it in scale with your room. 
I finally traded in my big sofa for a smaller loveseat that fits the room so much better. 
I found this lovely white loveseat at an estate sale for about a hundred dollars and gave my 
oversized sofa to some college girls renting the house across the street. Everyone wins.

Another tip for furniture is to use round tables. 
They take up less space and are easier to move around. 
I have a round antique dining table and recently switched out my big rectangular coffee table 
for a small oval 1940s table that works much better. 
Another estate sale find, it was interesting
to learn that this table once belonged to a former Colorado governor. 

I have to admit I stored my big coffee table in the attic. 
Who knows when I might finally find my dream mountain cabin! 
I hope these tips help you make the most of your small spaces.
Good luck and have fun! 


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  1. Your house is beautiful! I think we may have the same living rug, lol!

  2. Oh Pat, I just love these vignettes of your lovely home. Great tips also. My little place is 675 sq. ft. I had a mirror over my faux mantle and when my BIL and I redo that living room wall I'm going to have another faux mantle over the flat screen tv and will put the mirror I had there plus others for a collection like you have shown. I'm excited more so now since seeing your picture and tip.

    Have a nice Sat. night and a great Sunday and Happy Valentine's Week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Thank you Lorraine! Good luck with your redo; sounds lovely! Hugs, Pat

  3. My house isn't very big either and i am learning more everyday, these tips will really help. I love your house you have done so much with what you have it is just amazing. So cozy and inviting, have a great evening.

    1. Thank you Marlene! Always so nice to read your sweet comments. Hugs, Pat

  4. Pat, these are wise ideas! Your home is the perfect example of all you've said.

  5. Your home is gorgeous and great tips and thank you

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment Norma. Much appreciated. Hugs, Pat

  6. All of your ideas are spot on. Your home is lovely and you have made excellent use of the space you have. The pantry off the kitchen is wonderful and provides so much extra space.

    1. Thanks Sharon! I don't what I'd do without that pantry since the kitchen only has a couple of cupboards. Have a great week. Hugs, Pat

  7. I LOVE your white pitcher collection. Always looks so good. Hope you're staying warm in the white weather conditions of this week. 😄

  8. Everything looks so nice. I probably would never change a thing. When I get a look I like or something I'm comfortable I tend to stay with it. I have thought at times that for just two of us we don't need this big place. That being said however I wouldn't change it . There is too much of us put into the house. Every thing in it has a memory connected with it. When you build a place yourself I guess that is what happens.

    1. Thanks Jan! I always appreciate your comments. You have a beautiful home, made more special because you built it yourself. Lots of stories there. Hugs, Pat

    2. Brad said your place really looks nice. He thinks you should call the mirror wall the wall of reflection.

  9. Thank you for excellent tips. I never thought about using round instead of square or rectangular tables. It makes a lot of sense.

  10. These are terrific ideas and ones easy to put into practice right away. Thanks for sharing them!

  11. I am currently helping my mother-in-law downsize. Thanks for some great ideas.

    1. Thanks Ellis! So glad to hear this might be helpful. Have a great weekend. Hugs, Pat

  12. Thanks for the fabulous tips Pat and thank you for sharing at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week.

    1. Thanks Kerryanne! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. It's summer there isn't it? Hugs, Pat

  13. Gorgeous post Pat! Featuring you tomorrow at TFT!