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Home Decor And Decorating Tips: Sprucing Up A Small Space

Though you might dream of living in a large house or apartment, most of us have to deal with living in a relatively small space. But just because you live in a tiny bungalow, bachelor apartment, or dorm room doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style to maximize your space! In fact, there are a number of great ways to help increase the amount of living and storage space that you have, while remaining style conscious and within budget. Here are some great tips for stylishly decorating your small space.

Getting Started

Before you run off to the home decorating store, or start arranging your furniture, familiarize yourself with some of the basic principles you will want to adhere to when decorating your small space.

Focus on Storage
Storage is a necessity for all of us; unfortunately, it is often a big challenge when it comes to small spaces. But there are some unique ways that you can make the most out of your home's storage space, without having to give up your much-valued living space. Begin by thinking of ways that you can sneak storage in. One of the best options is built-in cabinets and bookshelves. These storage areas are built right into the walls and don’t take up any extra floor space. They also add a sense of sleekness and style to any room.

If built-ins aren't an option, try adding open shelving units to walls. These add much needed storage space, but don't look too bulky in small rooms. Make the most of underused areas, such as the space under your bed or in your closet. Purchase storage containers that will fit in these spaces and be the perfect home for all those extra clothes, shoes, and CDs.

Maximize Vertical Space
When we move into a home, we usually focus on the amount of floor space available. But don’t forget about those walls! By maximizing the full height of your walls, you will get lots of extra storage, adding to the sense of space.

Begin by adding a vertical stripe motif to your walls. Stripes can be painted on in neutral tones, such as creams and beiges, and really help to draw the eye up to the ceiling. Purchase bookshelves, armoires, and cabinets that run floor-to-ceiling, to accentuate height. Make use of space over counters and shelves by adding decorative pictures, vases, or flowers.

Keep it Light
Dark rooms are not only depressing, but they also appear to be much smaller than they really are. To maximize your living space, make sure that your rooms are always filled with light. Instead of using drapes on your windows, consider using sheers that allow natural light in. Add mirrors to walls or shelving units to reflect light and space. Place several lamps around the room, including floor lamps, table lamps, and ceiling lights. This will help to add light at different levels throughout the room, giving everything a nice glow.

Buy Small
If your home is small, don't rush out and buy the biggest pieces of furniture that you can! Furniture should be on an appropriate scale with the rest of your house, so it doesn't overwhelm or dominate a small space. Choose major pieces of furniture first. Try to select neutral tones and sleek pieces. Opt for a sofa that has exposed legs, as this will appear smaller and less bulky than overstuffed ones with hidden legs. Choose acrylic or glass side tables that allow you to "see through" them. This will help to add to the sense of space in a room.

Decorating Specific Rooms

Now that you are familiar with the essentials of decorating small spaces, you can begin to personalize your own room! Here are some great decorating ideas for specific small spaces out there!

Dorm Rooms
When you are at college or university, your dorm room is your home away from home. Make the most of this small space so you can maximize study time (and have some great dorm-room parties too!).

  • Begin with your Bed: The bed is often the largest piece of furniture in a dorm room, and typically serves as sleeping space, study space, and dining area. Choose a comforter that expresses your style, but that won’t show the dirt too much either. The best choices are usually solid colors or reversible styles. Avoid brightly patterned comforters that will only make the space appear smaller. Instead, add extra flair by decorating your bed with throw cushions or blankets.
  • Add Hidden Storage: Raise your bed by using casters or cement blocks. This will allow you to put books, clothes, and other clutter underneath your bed. Get some colorful crates and stack them beside your desk or in your closet. These are great for storing CDs, books, and magazines.
  • Personalize your Walls: Instead of adding decorations to your desk or floor space, make the most of your dorm room walls. Add posters, pictures, and dry-erase boards for flair. Hang laundry line from the ceiling and pin up concert tickets, pictures, or interesting fliers.

Home Office
More and more men and women are choosing to work from home nowadays. Unfortunately, home offices often have to be squeezed into small spaces. Here are some tips to maximize the work space.

  • Keep your Walls Neutral: Paint your home office walls in a neutral tone, or in the same color as the rest of your house. This will help to make the space look bigger and will allow it to flow better with the rest of the house.
  • Choose Closed Storage Systems: Closed armoires or roll top desks are great for hiding ugly office equipment, like the fax machine and photocopier. Choose furniture that looks more like something you would choose for your home and not your office.
  • Add a Sofa: A small sofa or futon will let your home office double as a guest room or reading room.

Bachelor or Loft-Style Apartments
Though you may not think it, one-room living is very chic now, and there are some great ways to make the most of a small, open-plan span.

  • Designate Your Areas: Find a space in your loft that will operate as your bedroom, your living room, and your office. Define these spaces by adding rugs to each area. Cluster furniture around these rugs, to give the appearance of defined rooms.
  • Add Privacy: If you want to add privacy to your loft space, set up moveable partitions, freestanding bookshelves, or screens to separate areas. This is perfect for your bedroom space.
  • Use Neutral Tones: To create a sense of space, use neutral tones and colors throughout the apartment. This will make walls look longer and larger. Keep your ceiling a shade lighter than your walls, to keep a sense of height.
  • Keep it Light: Be sure to let in lots of light to make the apartment look bigger. Install mirrors on your walls and add floor and ceiling lamps throughout the space.