Small Space Living In 2019? Here’s All The Inspo You Need
Because style and small-space living don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
It’s reboot season, aka that time of year when everything from our homes to our health to our bank accounts feels ripe for reinvention. But big ideas don’t always manifest in big spaces, as the small space living hacks we’ve brought you throughout 2018 prove.
Among our favorites: Utilizing rugs to create both a sense of distinction and cohesion in the living and dining area of actress Jamie Chung’s Atlanta apartment. "Since it was an open-concept living space, we wanted to create a distinct living room and dining area," said Decorist designer Jessica McCarthy of the Southern-meets-Cali-cool home. "We purposely selected a sofa that would not overpower the living room area and used two different style rugs to anchor the space and create two distinct areas."
Then there was designer and Queer Eye star Bobby Berk’s pro-tip to place decor above eye level, a trick he employed to brilliant effect in the L.A. studio of an Airbnb host. There really is nothing better than a good small space decor hack.
And we learned about the importance of scale (and patience) in small space living at the romantic West Village apartment of brand strategist Victoria De La Fuente, who says it took nearly four months to find the perfect dining room table — a marble-top number from West Elm that could seat four and create just the right balance with the other pieces in her home.
Looking ahead, inspired decor prevails in even the tiniest of spaces, and with it, more products to help you get the look — like Pottery Barn’s small-space collection that launched earlier this year — and more opportunities to flex your creative muscles like a true design pro. Every design decision counts, when space is at a premium, after all. Here are a few to try in 2019 and beyond.
Get Low — With Your Seating
"In 2019, I am predicting low seating as a trend we are going to be seeing a lot of,” says Decorist designer Baylee Floyd. “In small spaces, lower seating can visually elongate the height of your ceilings, thus making your space feel bigger,” she adds. Low-profile seating is usually much less bulky and heavy looking as well, clearing the visual clutter that can make a room feel even smaller than it is. (Though you’ll still need to clear actual clutter if you want to truly maximize your small space.)
“Choosing pieces that are smaller in scale will make for much more room," she shares. "A low-to-the-ground, small-space sectional in an apartment living room can instantly make the room feel not only larger, but also more fresh and updated."
Among homeowners who have upgraded their homes in the past two years, 30 percent said they renovated outdoor spaces to extend the size of their living area, a survey by Houzz found.
Interestingly, 15 percent plan on branching outdoors in the coming year, much like interior designer and blogger behind Sacramento Street, Caitlin Flemming, did. She found enough square footage in a tiny patio to create an entire second living room, replete with a coffee table, floor pillows, and a rug, which she says is one of the best ways to make an outdoor space feel as cozy as an indoor living room.
“If you plan to keep it outside permanently, opt for an outdoor option so it’s able to weather the elements,” she says. “Or if it’s just for one day, borrow one of the rugs from inside your home. No need to limit yourself to outdoor furnishings for short time spans.”
Create A Room Without Walls
At The Amberly, a colorful new rental development in Downtown Brooklyn, principle of BHDM Design Dan Mazzarini is helping a series of small spaces — from studios to two-bedroom apartments — live up to their fullest potential.
Inside an alcove studio, for instance, drapery panels hung around a bed niche create “a room without a door,” as Mazzarini puts it. “They can be pulled shut or left open — a sweet cocoon either way,” he says.
Thinking of corners as a featured spot in a room rather than a hideaway for your less-loved decor pays dividends for small-space dwellers when curated the right way. That means treating the nook as a mini room or vignette of its own, with all of the essentials you need — seating, lighting, art, etc. — to keep it self-contained.
Think Like A Minimalist
“It’s a common misconception that in a small space you need a lot of small furniture,” says designer Marina Hanisch. To the contrary, too many small pieces “is actually visually overwhelming and creates clutter.”
For the most inspired small-space decor, resist the urge to let your inner maximalist shine, even if decadent, over-the-top style is what’s currently on trend. Instead, Hanisch suggests finding “a larger statement piece that defines the room and produces maximum impact,” like the stunner of a table she brought in to anchor the beach house living room below.
Then she suggests planning out your space — rule number one of small space design — taking into account where your natural light source is, how the room flows, and how the space will be used, all of which will help determine the perfect furniture orientation and make the room feel larger.