Gigi Lombrano designed this multi-functional dining room in Clayton.

Whether you live in a condo, townhome, or even a home with some smaller-thandesired rooms, small spaces present unique decorating challenges. Lucky for us, our experts had loads of ideas for making your tiny spaces shine!


Apart from having the right number of furniture pieces to fit your small space, our experts all agreed that proportion is key. “Scale is something people always have difficulty with,” says Gigi Lombrano of Frank Patton Interiors. “If you have a small space, sometimes you think you have to have small furniture. That’s not necessarily true. You do need to have the right furniture, though.” She notes that bigger, more usable pieces can often be better than a lot of smaller ones. “But you also don’t want oversized or overstuffed furniture.”

Measuring the room and the furniture to ensure the right fit is another key, says Anne Smith of June Roesslein Interiors. She recalls a client who purchased furniture for a sunroom and called for help when it arrived and was too big. “She said, It didn’t look this big in the furniture store! and I told her that the store probably had a showroom with 12- or 15-foot ceilings, and that’s why it looked smaller.” She recommends bringing a tape measure while furniture shopping, and then drawing out your room to scale on graph paper. “It doesn’t take long, and it will save you a lot of money. Especially if it’s a custom order, many times the store won’t take it back.”

Even if the floor space of your room isn’t terribly generous, the height of the ceiling will affect what you can do with the room, Smith adds. With a 10- or 12- foot ceiling, you can use a taller sofa, and to complement that, a taller 38- to 40-inch table lamp, as opposed to a 30-inch lamp, she says.


Josie Robison of Ooh La La! Home Furnishings notes that it’s particularly important to make sure your small space feels cozy and inviting. “Try to find the balance between a warm and inviting look, without having so much stuff where it looks cluttered,” she says. “Be creative in the positioning of furniture so it doesn’t appear crowded.”

Using lighter colors in a small room can give the illusion of more space, Smith adds. “A light and airy color appears to be a lighter weight than and espresso finish with deep purple or deep red; it’s a visual trick,” she says. “It’s like if you’ve got big hips, you wear black on your hips, because if you wear white you’re going to look larger.” She is the first to say, though, that this is a rule that’s made to be broken. “If you’re talking about a powder room, go with drama—go with a deep color.”

Lombrano agrees. “If you like drama, don’t be afraid to go with color. It can enhance features like crown molding, window trim or a fireplace,” she says. “Think about contrast—if your walls are dark, you need a brighter or lighter color on the window treatment, upholstery or artwork.”


In a small space, storage is a big concern, and all of our designers recommended using items that are multifunctional. “Storage ottomans are great, as well as enclosed bookcases where you can hide all of your items,” Robison says, adding that built-in bookcases are a great investment.

Skirted furniture can be a creative spot to hide the extra leaves from your dining room table when they’re not in use, Lombrano adds. She notes that rooms can be multifunctional as well. “Can your living room also serve as a home office? Think about how you can make it functional and multipurpose at the same time.”