9 Design Ideas for Small Living Spaces

While increased urbanization is attracting more people to urban areas like Syracuse, affordability is becoming a more significant issue. As a result, smaller, less expensive living spaces are trending, opening the door to more innovative approaches that make the most out of these spaces without sacrificing convenience or design sensibility.

In fact, with some flexibility and creativity, designers use tight spaces as an opportunity to bring to innovative market ideas that are worthy of acclaim. Here is a look at nine design ideas for small living spaces that are changing the way we view these spaces.

1: Use Discarded Industrial or Construction Materials

From container houses to water pipe apartments, designers are reusing discarded industrial and construction materials to create housing solutions. For example, the O-Pod complex in Shenzhen, China, is constructed by stacking a series of concrete pipes on top of each other. Besides the low rent, which is approximately $400 (US), it offers a pricing structure, so tenants get back part of their rent when they move out.

2: Select a Statement Piece

Just because living space is small doesn’t mean everything in it needs to be small. Having too many small pieces is the formula for visual cluttering.

Image via: architecturaldigest.com
Image Via: Chris Nguyen, Analog|Dialog

Instead, select one stunning statement piece. (Hint: get the right size, which is often more significant than you think.) A statement piece will make an impact while eliminating the need for a bunch of smaller items. This will help decrease clutter while giving focus to the room and delivering more impact.

3: USE LIFTED LIGHTING

Floor space is at a premium in small areas. Instead of floor lamps, opt for lifted lighting fixtures such as wall sconces, pendant lighting, or recessed lighting in the ceiling.

Keep in mind that lifted lighting could cast too many shadows, and recessed lighting could leave the ceiling too dark, making spaces appear even smaller. If that’s the case, place 1-2 floor or table lamps strategically to counter the effect. 

4: THINK, “MULTI-FUNCTIONAL.”

Select furniture that can do double (or triple) duty on different occasions, so you don’t have to jam up a room with items that you only need once in a while. For example, a set of nesting tables that can double up as side tables, a desk that can be used as a buffet, or a bench that can be used as a coffee table.

5: ELEVATE THE BED OR, EVEN BETTER YET, HIDE THE BED

Bunk beds have always been an excellent way for parents to save space, and we can also use the concept to get the most out of small apartments. Put shelves and cabinets under an elevated bed to free up space. This can also keep the room organized and reduce clutter, so it appears more spacious. Utilize a murphy bed that can double as a desk and/or shelving when in an upright position.

6: CREATE AN OPTICAL ILLUSION

Use certain design elements, such as color, lighting, or mirrors, to create a more spacious feeling.

For instance, a unifying color in a small space can often make it appear larger.

Also, don’t forget about the ceiling treatment. A light and unifying color can produce a more airy feeling, while a contrasting color can give a sense of depth and privacy for a mezzanine level.

7: INCREASE STORAGE CREATIVELY

Reducing clutter can make a room more spacious, yet it’s often challenging because most people want to have their personal belongings handy.

With smart technologies like Bumblebee, you can utilize the space right above your head to store items that you regularly need while reducing visual clutter in the living area. These storage units can be installed directly below the ceiling and include a smartphone app used to control them as well as track all your belongings.

Image Via: Allen+Killcoyne Architects

8: CREATE DYNAMIC SPACE SEPARATION

Walls can make an already small apartment feel even tighter. Maintain privacy without sacrificing space by using flexible partitions that are transparent or translucent.

Foldable glass partitions, sliding glass doors, metal framework, curtains, and/or mesh panels are significant elements to create separation while maintaining a sense of spaciousness.

9: MAKE USE OF WALL SPACES

A little creativity can go a long way when it comes to storing everyday items that could take up precious floor space. By using shelving units, you can turn walls into storage spaces for large objects like bicycles, which also gives you easy access to these items.

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