Small Space Interior Design Tips

Out here in the Bay Area, it feels like the cost of living goes up every five minutes. For many people, that means sacrificing a big house in favor of financial stability. But living in a small space, like an apartment or condo, doesn’t mean you have to give up functional or airy design. Here are our top tips for styling your small space:


Always think “multipurpose.”


When you have less space to work with, you should always think about killing two (or three, or four) birds with one stone. Your living room doesn’t just have to be your living room—maybe you want to include a breakfast nook in the corner, or an area for your couples’ board game nights. Similarly, your bedroom can also serve as a library, or you can include an office area against one wall.


Use strategic placement of your furniture to form these different zones in each room. If you want to designate part of your living room as a dining area, set up your sofa in the middle of the space. The back of the couch serves as a natural wall which says, “Everything behind me is the dining area, and everything in front of me is the sitting room.” You could also use an Ikea-style bookshelf or tall buffet table to create the barrier between spaces.


Your furniture can also be multipurpose, so you can avoid cluttering each room with unnecessary pieces. Choose an ottoman with a top that flips over to serve as a tabletop, or maybe one with storage space inside. Install a wall-anchored bookshelf that includes a fold-down desk you can use in your bedroom/office. Instead of setting a trunk or ottoman at the foot of your bed, consider using another shelving unit.


Take advantage of your room’s full height.


In a small space, you can’t afford to waste any space between your floor and ceiling. Make sure your design is vertical. For example, instead of using traditional kitchen cabinets which leave space between the ceiling and top of the cabinets, install taller cabinets which reach up to the ceiling. Instead of using floor lamps which take up space in your room, or table lamps which dominate your desk space, hang some more light fixtures from the ceiling.


You can also make sure your walls look decorated and artsy while still being functional. Instead of hanging large paintings, install built-in shelves which serve as storage space. Built-in shelves turn your everyday objects into decorative accessories. If you have art you really love, it can sit on the shelves alongside your books, dishes, and jewelry stands. And if you have items which don’t look so pretty on display, invest in some patterned storage bins that coordinate with your color scheme.

Minimize the square footage of your furniture…


Look for furniture which takes up less space—or at least, which looks like it takes up less space. For example, this Ashbury model with sharp lines may actually have the same dimensions as this cushiony Sunset sofa, but it looks like it takes up less space. You can also find clear, acrylic furniture which looks somewhat “invisible,” or choose pieces with less height. A coffee table which sits lower to the ground can make a room feel more spacious because it doesn’t block your view to the other side of the room.

You can also invest in nesting furniture, which can easily be shifted to the side if more floor space is needed. Three nesting tables can offer the same space as one coffee table when they’re sitting next to each other, but they can also shrink down to the size of an end table if your kids want to build a fort in the middle of the living room.


…or, you know, don’t.


Your lifestyle and priorities should always dictate your design, and sometimes it’s better to have a couple big pieces of furniture instead of lots of little pieces. If you know you’re going to spend most of your time lounging on the couch, or you like to have all three of your dogs sleep in bed with you, invest in a big sofa and a king sized bed! Then adjust the rest of your rooms accordingly—commit to only using one end table instead of two, and cut out some of the extraneous furniture you don’t need, like your bar cart.


The key is leaving enough space in your room that you don’t feel like you have to “suck it in” to walk past your furniture. Decide what you absolutely must have in your home to feel comfortable, and leave the rest out.


Do you need help designing the perfect sofa for your small space? Or maybe you want to couple some poufs together to avoid purchasing a giant ottoman? Check out our selection at

You may also like

View all
Example blog post
Example blog post
Example blog post