Living Large in a Small Space, According to the Pros

The March 2007 issue of Metropolitan Home magazine featured several articles on small space living.  Included were tips from designers, architects, and authors on how to make the most of your tiny space.  Enjoy their clever ideas….

James Gauer – Try to let the eye see as much of the floors, walls and ceilings in order to increase the visual space of a room.  Keeping colors the same on these planes, especially from one room to another will help.

Abbey Francis – Make as many furnishings as possible do double duty, like changing tables worked into bookshelves, and beds with built-in storage drawers.

Dan Shipley – Think of the space as an asset that does not necessarily need filling.  Natural light is the least expensive and best furnishing any room can have.


David Droese – Careful planning of every cabinet, closet and storage area can’t be stressed enough.  Get creative and look for any pocket of unused space for additional storage.  And weed out anything nonessential.

Todd Walker – If you have high ceilings, take advantage of the volume of the area; store things up, and consider a small loft.  Sheer curtains offer privacy while maintaining a sense of openness.

Paul Draper – Changing elements seasonally offers the experience of having two different rooms.  This could include decorative elements, as well as furniture structure and hardware.

Marlon Blackwell – Choose design elements that create a sense of order, expressive character, and imagination.  Openings for light and view are essential – they extend the perception of space beyond walls.  Vertical storage makes the best use of a room’s volume.

Rene Gonzalez – Bringing the landscape and the sky inside a space both expands and connects it to its surroundings.  The concept of reflectivity aids this connection.  Mimic colors from outside, bring in natural light, and connect your outdoor and indoor living spaces.


Paul Latham – Consolidate and simplify.  Group objects together while leaving some spaces clear.  Hang a mirror opposite a window wall to visually open the space.

Paul Field – Consider pocket doors to save space, and suspended vanities and credenzas so your eye can move below the space without stopping at their base.

Laurie Smith – When using dark wall paint, contrast it with light furniture.  They become focal points while the corners of the room are blurred with the dark colors.  These focal points enliven and open a space much like a window.

Brian Hughes – Since you don’t need as many furnishings in a small space, buy great quality, comfortable furniture that you love, and that perform multiple functions.

Not all these suggestions are needed, but pick one or two of your favorites and give it a try.  Let me know if something works well for you, or if you have other ideas of your own!  🙂

Rebecca Knabe


2 thoughts on “Living Large in a Small Space, According to the Pros

  1. I relate to the idea of bringing the landscape and sky inside. Our Airstream has skylights and wrap-around windows. I always feel part of my surroundings. The trailer offers shelter without separation.

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