Small space interior design ideas — 10 styles that designers love

These small space design ideas will help you make your place shine

Three pictures: one of a beige living room, one of a living room with a dining table, and one of a room with a tall arched shelf
(Image credit: @sundayharris / @picsfromcandice)

Finding the right small space interior design ideas for your place can be a tricky task, but it’s also definitely a fun task. There are so many different ways to bring color and style into your space, which will showcase your personality and your tastes.

These range from things you can do with existing pieces you have to new ways to freshen them up. We've spoken to interior designers and professional organizers to find out the best ideas for styling your place, whether it's a little rental, apartment, or a first-time buy.

If you’re looking for small space decorating ideas, we're here for you. These are our experts' favorite timeless furniture and decor styles for small spaces, which can easily be arranged in whatever size home you have.

Small space interior design ideas

From small space furniture pieces to cute color combinations, these will all make your little rental or cozy apartment feel like home. We've also picked out buys to help you get the look.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Pick multifunctional furniture

A brown wooden drawer set next to a mirror and curtains

(Image credit: @highboyla)

Why buy two pieces of furniture, when you can get one piece of furniture that does the function of both?  “Embrace the versatility of furniture that serves dual purposes, such as a small sofa bed or a storage ottoman, offering comfort alongside functionality,” says Elizabeth Grace, interior designer and founder of Dream Home Making. “Opt for nesting tables or extendable dining sets that can be effortlessly tucked away when not in use,” she adds. This will help you optimize the space dynamically. 

Elizabeth Grace, interior designer headshot
Elizabeth Grace

Elizabeth Grace is an interior designer who was born and raised in Philadelphia. After receiving her degree in Interior design from the University of Notre Dame, she moved to New York to pursue her dream of becoming an interior designer. Her passion drives her to create a platform to share her experience and facilitate her audience.

2. Go for vertical expansion

A small living room with two couches and two wooden bookshelves with decor

(Image credit: @sundayharris)

When you don’t have a lot of floor space, it’s a smart idea to use vertical space, instead. “One outdated organizing rule is only storing items in closets, dressers, bins, and multifunctional furniture like ottomans with built-in storage so that walls can just be used for decorations,” says Christina Giaquinto, professional organizer and brand ambassador for Modular Closets

Instead, she suggests using vertical wall storage options like tall bookshelves, floating shelves, and wall-mounted cabinets. “This will help you maximize your space's organizational capacity.”

A picture of Christina Giaquinto standing in front of a colorful closet
Christina Giaquinto

Christina Giaquinto is a professional organizer and brand ambassador for Modular Closets. She focuses on giving her clients the tools, methods, and techniques to transform their lives and homes through decluttering and organizing.

3. Use lighting strategically

A bookcase with colorful decor on it next to a yellow seat

(Image credit: UO)

You can illuminate compact spaces strategically with a blend of ambient, task, and accent lighting. “If you’re able to change your lighting in your rental, use wall sconces, pendant lights, or track lighting to create layers of illumination, establishing depth and highlighting specific areas while maintaining a cohesive ambiance,” Grace says. 

4. Make the most out of mirrors

A pink mirror reflecting a pink chair with a lamp over it, next to a white shelf

(Image credit: @picsfromcandice)

Using mirrors to make a small space appear bigger is a trick frequently used by interior designers. “A large, strategically placed full-length mirror can enhance depth perception, fostering an airy feel,” says Grace. 

Giaquinto suggests hanging a mirror on the wall opposite a window. “The mirror will reflect the natural light from the window, making your room feel larger, lighter, cleaner, and more open,” she tells me. 

As well as this, be sure to pay attention to where the light is in the room. “Place mirrors in line with light reflections, so one can feel more space is there,” says Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight.

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York.

5. Choose scale-appropriate decor

A brown wall art print on a wall shelf next to a vase of flowers

(Image credit: @simplysanfordco)

It can be easy to find dreamy decor on Instagram and TikTok — but what looks good in someone’s larger home might overwhelm your smaller home. “Instead, curate decor items and furnishings that are proportionate to the scale of the space,” explains Grace. “Avoid overwhelming the area with bulky pieces and opt for sleek, appropriately sized furniture and decor elements to maintain a harmonious balance.” Decorative elements you could use include candles and throw blankets.

6. Opt for translucent materials

A makeup organizer with makeup in it

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

Bulky furniture can make a space look even smaller than it is. “You can avoid this by incorporating transparent or lucid elements, such as glass or acrylic furniture or acrylic decor accents,” says Grace. These elements impart a sense of openness, allowing light to permeate while creating an illusion of space without compromising style. 

7. Choose customised home organization products

A kitchen pantry with baskets on the shelves

(Image credit: @themarshallconcept)

Making your space your own isn’t just important in terms of decor but in terms of how you use it functionally, too. “Opt for organizational tools and essentials that help you personalize your living space in addition to keeping it decluttered and organized,” says Giaquinto. From labeled boxes to monogrammed trinket trays, there are plenty of ways to use personalization to your benefit.

8. Decorate with a neutral color palette

A cream small living room with a gray couch and coffee table

(Image credit: @sundayharris)

Neutral color palettes are timeless and are simple to work into popular design styles like Scandi. “Beige, tan, and white will all reflect light and help lighten up a small living room, as well as other places in the home,” says Giaquinto. “All-white and neural tones are also easy on the eyes.” Not only this, but for those who are renting and are stuck with white walls, sticking with a color palette that complements this will make decorating easy.

If you are a fan of color, you can still incorporate this in. “Go for light colors for open feeling, and add touch of strong shade here and there to give your house personality,” suggests Kropovinsky.

9. Play with woven and mesh textures

A pink room with a wooden arched shelf, a blue houndstooth chair, and a woven pet bed

(Image credit: @picsfromcandice)

Eye-catching textures such as woven and mesh will add much more interest to your space than plain materials. “Using woven and mesh textures in each room will add depth to the space,” explains Giaquinto. “For example, if you have a soft suede couch, add a metal wicker living room blanket.” You could also use mesh storage solutions in your kitchen, to create a rustic farmhouse look. 

10. Make use of all available space

A dining room with a brown table, wall art, and pink seats

(Image credit: @picsfromcandice)

While it’s important not to clutter your small space, don’t be afraid to use as much of it as possible. “Are corners of your living room, kitchen, and bedroom bare and not serving any purpose? Consider adding custom-built shelving and other furnishings to maximize their capabilities,” Giaquinto says. Even if you have an oddly shaped corner, learning how to fill an awkwardly sized small space will really benefit how you use your home. 


How can you design small spaces in interior design?

Make sure to keep the space uncluttered, choose furniture that works for you in multiple ways, and stay within one color palette in order to make the area look cohesive. 

How to design a house with a small space?

Use multipurpose furniture to save space, decorate with neutral colors to make it appear brighter, and place mirrors opposite windows to make the whole room look bigger. 

Ultimately, decorating with small space interior design trends and ideas are all about celebrating the home you have. “Embracing this canvas will allow you to bring in ingenious design, transforming diminutive areas into captivating havens of style and functionality,” Grace finishes by saying. 

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.