3.08.2012

7 Budget-friendly Tips to Maximize a Small Space & An AmEx Gift Card Giveaway~

You may recall that for the next couple of months I'm partnering with Apartment Guide as an official Apartment Guide Decor Blogger.  And as an official Apartment Guide Decor blogger, that's just what I'm going to do as well.  I hope that you all will join me on this bloggy journey as I share tips and ideas for making the most of your space while living on a budget.


As some of you may know...we are currently renting a home.  And although it is a great home, and we like it very much, it is - how shall I put this? - cozy.  And if you know realtor-speak at all, you know that cozy is a code word for small.  And that's okay because it is perfect for our family at this time.  But, that said, there are some challenges that come along with living in a small-ish space.  But I believe that challenges are just opportunities in disguise.  So today I wanted to share 7 tips for maximizing your small space...for turning those challenges into decorating opportunities!



1. Find furniture that serves multiple purposes.  And when I say multiple purposes, I'm usually referring to STORAGE.  Storage is almost always an issue in smaller homes, and anything that can add extra storage is a bonus.  A dresser makes a great console table AND adds extra storage.  Using a trunk as a coffee table can do the same.  Of course, furniture such as sleeper sofas or chairs are also great because they are functional during the day, but can accomodate guests at night.  You get the idea.

2. Use small scale furniture.  Now, I'm not always a fan of following "the rules" of decorating.  However, this is one of those rules that will really help to visually enlarge a small space.  Large furniture can be used in a small space, of course.  And it makes the space feel cozy.  But remember what the word "cozy" is code for?  Yep.  Small.  So if you want to visually enlarge a small space, choose furniture that is in scale with that space.  It really does work.

3. Control clutter.  Remember my post from yesterday?  When it comes to small space decorating, especially, remember to edit, edit, edit.   Simple accessories and concealed storage are your friends in a small space. 


4. Add mirrors. I am a HUGE fan of mirrors!  I love them!!  And small spaces especially benefit from the addition of mirrors.  Not only do mirrors visually enlarge a space by reflecting it back at you, but they also reflect light, and light helps to make a space feel larger as well.  So add mirrors...everywhere. 

5. Use glass-topped furniture.  I am, of course, primarily referring to coffee and end tables.  Because glass-topped tables make a space appear larger by receding into the background.  They allow the space around them to be seen.  They visually appear smaller, so they make the room seem larger. 

6. Use similar wall and fabric colors.  This is one of those rules of decorating that - again - really works in a small space.  By choosing a wall color and similar drapery or upholstery colors, you create a visual continuity that enlarges a space.  It is the same concept as clothing...if you wear all one color from head to toe, you will appear taller and thinner because the eye won't "stop" at the change in colors.  If you paint a wall blue and then continue with the same shade of  blue curtains, your eye will move over the whole space uninterrupted and it will appear larger.  And don't worry about this making the space boring..that's what accessories are for, remember?

7. Hang curtains as close to the ceiling as possible.  I'm sure you've heard the decorating trick that hanging curtains higher and wider than a window visually enlarges the window.  Well, the same idea works for ceiling height.  Hanging curtains as close to the ceiling as possible will give the illusion of higher ceilings.  Try this trick...it really works!

So if you, like me, are living in a cozy space...try incorporating a few of these tricks and check out the difference it makes. You'll be amazed!

And now, I have a fun giveaway for you.  The good people of Apartment Guide have offered to give one reader of The Shabby Nest a $100 AmEx gift card!  

To enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite small space decorating trick (and even if you live in a large space...I bet you have one of these up your sleeve.)
2. For an extra entry, you can follow Apartment Guide on Twitter @AptGuide for tips and updates on making the most of your space and then leave an additional comment to let me know that  you are following.

Giveaway will be open until Saturday, March 10 at 11:59 pm MST.  I will choose a winner via Random.org.  Good luck~

xoxo
Wendy


Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. have partnered with bloggers like me as Official Apartment Guide Bloggers. As part of this program, I have received compensation. They have not told me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

86 comments:

Mami2jcn said...

I think using a lighter color paint helps make the room look bigger. Also, smaller furniture is important.

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Mami2jcn said...

I follow Apt Guide on Twitter (@mami2jcn)

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Thanks for the chance!

Renewed Upon a Dream said...

I really like using a dresser as a tv consul. It works really well & provides us with so much extra storage!

Meagan Ruse said...

I think you're right- edit, edit, edit! I live in a small townhome and I'm all about making my kid-filled home, look as kid-free as possible. The toys easily overcrowd, so I use ottomans and sideboards as a way to hide toys and things we use frequently, but help keep the space grown-up, even though it's totally not!

Melissa Bove (SCS ~ Melissa1872) said...

Your house is beautiful! I love your style!

I like to buy vintage things from Thrift shops and on the internet and decorate my home with them. It doesn't cost a lot and it looks great.

What an amazing giveaway! Thank you for being so generous!!

hugs...
Melissa

Tara {The Silver Lining} said...

When I lived in my apartment, I used a wicker trunk as my coffee table to also provide extra storage for blankets, pillows, etc... Anything that can serve a double purpose is great!

John and Crystal Pinegar Family said...

I too have lived in "cozy" places. My best trick is to simplify. Don't have anything that isn't useful out.

Jenny @ Simcoe Street said...

These are some of my fave tips too -- as I've always had small spaces, I like to put 'em to use. Clutter is my issue -- editing is hard! Working on it :)

Ashley said...

I use wall shelves for more storage space.

hewella1 at gmail dot com

Ashley said...

Follow Apt Guide on twitter @hewella1.

hewella1 at gmail dot com

mrsj said...

Light colored paint makes a space look huge.

Sarah said...

vertical storage!

Stephanie said...

Stay organized! I usually use my closet space wisely, so clutter is not in the room itself. Also, sticking with light colors on the walls makes your place look larger. Dark walls tend to make a space look smaller. And I always stick with white celling, a dark celling always makes the space look smaller (in my opinion).

Peggy said...

Organization and taming the clutter are both huge when it comes to opening up a small space! (definitely not something I've conquered but am working on!) Light paints and white ceilings also help to make a room appear larger. As much as I love dark colored curtains for the cozy factor during winter they have to go once it starts warming up or else it feels like we live in a cave (yes we are smaller home family... 3 bdrm, 2.5 bath, 16 square feet, 2 adult/3 teen plus HUGE dog family)

Love all the ideas!

Laura Lee Johnston said...

For years I've depended on our Stickley/Misison style furniture to make our small living room seem larger. The pieces are big, but the unupholstered legs give a full view of the floor.

JC said...

The color coding tip is one of the best tips we've used. Multi-functional furniture helps a lot as well, such as storage ottoman.

JC said...

follow Apartment Guide on Twitter @tcarolinep

Anne said...

I have added mirrors everywhere I can think & I love it, but I do get strange looks from visitors - like I'm some narcissistic person who has to view herself constantly!! lol They don't get it...

Dana from Our Life's Legacy said...

I totally agree with the mirror suggestion. Using creative storage, and using wall space rather than floor space for storage helps.

Sara said...

I agree with the mirror and clutter free suggestions.

KelliB said...

MY rule for small spaces is to be clutter free, really that is my rule for ALL spaces. clutter is a space killer, and organization is a space savior. Get rid of that clutter and if you must keep some of it, atleast give it some organization!

Meet Kate said...

Super organized and the usage of mirrors in the proper places!

KelliB said...

following on twitter now! @kdotcroyle!

Awesome giveaway

Rebecca @ Time to Organize said...

lighter colors on the wall. had to learn that the hard way!

Dawn's Craft Place said...

i have a VERY cozy home and need to be creative in every area.
I utilize under beds ,use add on baskets that slip between shelves to store smaller items. I even have my luggage filled with out of season things and display some of them.
Thanks for a chance to win

Terrie Mathison said...

Declutter! Less makes it look bigger!

Thanks for the great giveaway!

cassi said...

I love the high curtains trick... if only I could get my hubby to agree. ;)

JoEllen said...

I live in a small house and I love using mirrors and hanging my curtains near the ceiling.

joellenzafacon at gmail dot com

lucy said...

definitely mirrors! I put them everywhere!

Emily [On the V Side] said...

Choosing a lighter overall color palette and using dark colors for small accents helps rooms feel larger.

Ashley said...

Go vertical! It's a must!

Mel said...

In small spaces using all of your wall space is key. Go vertical with it! Shelving offers space for storage as well as adding accessories. In my walk in closet I just added a shelf over the door, and now have a place for all my purses. It looks cute too!

Kimberly-mytoesareclaustrophobic said...

I love mirrors too!

Anjanette said...

I am a fan of the edit. Only have the amount of stuff that can fit in your area or it's time to purge.

sarita said...

i too thnk controlling clutter is important in a small space. well in any space really. i also like using baskets to keep things tidy. thank you for a chance to win a gift card.

jknapp00 said...

Get rid of the kids! I have lived in my 1100 square foot home for 30 years - raised my two sons here. Now they are gone and have taken all of their stuff. It feels like I have tons of room!

Lauren @ All Things Homie said...

I agree storage is key! We have a beautiful china cabinet that works as our entry table and has glass doors to store and display our wedding china and all our serving dishes. We love to entertain so it makes it easy to pull out and looks great!

Rosie said...

If your ceilings are low, vertical stripes make the ceiling appear higher. Horizontal stripes make a room seem bigger! I'm loving the semi-gloss on flat stripes of the same color! Hoping to win :)

Amy said...

I like hanging pictures/art vertically in a row instead of horizontally in my small spaces. Makes the wall look taller.

Heather said...

I have absolutely no skills in the home decor department. However, I did notice that when I removed the large area rug from my small bedroom, it made the room seem larger. Maybe that is true in any small space. Thanks for the great giveaway!
heatherspooner1981 at gmail dot com

Jackie said...

I like light and so in my cozy home, I have mirrors and just use white wooden blinds on our windows. I like the open look for now.

em&m said...

Multi-functional furniture is a must in our "cozy" home. I'm planning on making a storage bench for our kitchen table to house table-cloths and less used kitchen items (i.e. meat slicer, coolers, seasonal stuff.)

Biz said...

Our coffee table holds lots of stuff so it keeps it out of view!

Rachel @ SuiteRevival said...

I live in a 425 square foot guest house and love it! Some things I've done to make the most of it...

- I'm intentional with what I bring into the space
- my coffee table is a trunk that houses extra blankets, pillows and towels
- My end tables are suitcases which hide misc. things
- And underbed storage is a must for purses, jackets, seasonal clothes, etc.
- And I'm constantly decluttering and having yard sales to get rid of things that I no longer need.

But what I do need...is that $100 gift card which I can easily make room for :-)

Thanks,

Rachel
www.suiterevival.com

kathy/North Carolina said...

You had marvelous tips...I think the best tip I have is not to try to fit more stuff into your space than it will hold. A small space looks bigger when it is uncluttered. So, go easy on the "stuff."

Laura said...

It's already been said, but keeping clutter under control is key. Don't sit down after dinner without first making a sweep of the main living areas - make the kids participate too. Even a little neglect can become overwhelming after a couple of days, and a tidy space is so much easier to relax in.

Mary Anne Bruno said...

The smallest place I ever lived in was my college dorm room. An inexpensive thing I did to liven up my space was to place a oversized piece of fabric (or tablecloth) over an old end table. I hid all my books and backpack there.

Janet said...

Thanks for the chance to win.

Darnetha said...

Clutter control. Living in a small space it is important to have only what you need and love and the rest has to GO!

jwfong said...

My favorite trick is to hang up mirrors, to make the place look bigger!

jfong1130 at yahoo dot com

jwfong said...

Following Apartment Guide on twitter @jfong123

jfong1130 at yahoo dot com

Revi said...

What a wonderful post! I have a cozy home, too. I agree with everything, except I don't do the glass tabletops. They WORK and expand space, but you have to DUST them every stinkin' day around here. :)
-Revi

Mari said...

What I have found works for our small space is not to use/paint w/dark colors on the wall it makes the room look smaller.
Here's hoping to win!
Mari
www.inspiredbyfamilymag.com

Mari said...

just started following aptguide on twitter.
mari
www.inspiredbyfamilymag.com
thx

Eligonma said...

I live in a tiny apartment, and try not to get furniture that is too deep.

Eligonma said...

I'm following Apartment Guide on Twitter.

Nikki said...

Mirrors work wonders in small spaces!

Becky said...

Our house is very "cozy" so we try to utilize vertical space. Up up and up.

Becky said...

Following on twitter

rush said...

i like having a little bit of storage dedicated to decor items so that i can change the decor when i want to.

Ashley Nicholas said...

Definitely multi-functional furniture that doubles as storage space! Ex: Ottomans that open to hold items! Thanks! ashleybrookeblog@gmail.com

Jane said...

My favorite tip is to hang the curtains high and hide the vacuum behind them!

Jenny said...

Cover clutter behind cabinet doors & curtains. It gives a clean front better than open shelves.

Ericka said...

I love to use storage ottomans!

laxsupermom said...

Great tips! For really small spaces, like super tiny powder rooms, I like to embrace the small and go for deep color for a dramatic jewel box feel. Thanks for hosting this terrific giveaway!

Michelle said...

Use a few BIG accessories instead of many small ones...opens up the space visually.

FreeIndeed said...

Get rid of all your non-essentials, less is more

thepryfamily@gmail.com

FreeIndeed said...

@thepryfamily follows sponsor on twitter. thepryfamily@gmail.com

Beth S said...

The Ikea Expedit is an attractive storage solution. If I win, I just might buy one!

Chris and Kendra said...

I truly believe that less is more, especially in a small space. Don't over decorate, and it will avoid the space looking cluttered.

Keilah said...

I like to use height in small areas-whether it be art on the walls, curtains, or bookcases in niches. It makes the room seem taller and it gives me more space to work with.

Sue said...

I like to use racks inside of cabinets. It gives extra space to stack more items while keeping them readily available.

Sue said...

Following you on Twitter!

Carly said...

Great tips! We constantly declutter and are trying to make more conscious decisions about buying only things we love!

Amy in Iowa said...

I love to find furniture that has some sort of storage option. I am continuously decluttering and reminding myself to keep ONLY the things I love!

Lora said...

Thanks for the tips. My house is on the small side and I think minimizing clutter is a wonderful suggestion. I think I'll start on that tonight!

Lora said...

I am now following Apt Guide on twitter.

Anash said...

to maximize a small space, i definitely throw things out, sell them, give them away and never let clutter take over! Thanks for a super giveaway!
My email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Anash said...

I follow them on twitter @anashct3
Thanks for this lovely giveaway!

Email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Wendi said...

Hi Wendy, I use a wall of shelves to help control clutter left other places by using wicker baskets on the shelves. I am going to use metal pails on the wall in my son's bedroom to not only decorate a wall but to put those things he needs (mp3 player and headphones, ds, his chap stick collection, etc) and things he likes (silly bands, platic frogs, etc). Creative storage solutions is a must, and when you can combine them with decorating all the better.

Tina said...

I hang a line of hooks close to the ceiling to organize pots and pans.
merleandtina@Yahoo.com

Tina said...

follow Apartment Guide on Twitter
merleandtina@Yahoo.com

Attempting Aloha said...

My favorite tip for small spaces is to think "up". Many people don't utilize their full walls and instead have lots of teeny little bookshelves when one really tall one would take up less space and actually look more library-esque. :)

Aloha,
Charlie

Attempting Aloha said...

And I follow @aptguide on Twitter!

Aloha,
Charlie

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pambi7 said...

I love vintage suit cases. I use them as storage and also stack them as a small table.

Pam W.