Small Wonders: Design Tips for Space-Starved Homes

Good things come in small packages. An elegant New York studio, a hotel-chic bungalow in Venice Beach, a library on wheels in Washington, D.C., and a New York City mini-loft open up to reveal some wonderful surprises.

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Filling a small space with mirrors increases the light and makes it feel much larger.

Elegant and Seamless Studio

Kelly Giesen unified the design of her 450-square-foot studio to create a seamless look from kitchen to bedroom to living area, eliminating the need to physically compartmentalize the rectangular space. Textures and layers stylize her home, while the neutral color palette is uncomplicated and soothing. Architectural salvage (old doors, transom windows, antique mirrors) and a TV cabinet built into a mantel fill the small space with character and charm.

In the bedroom area, Kelly separated the bed from the rest of the space by hanging luxurious curtains. Ceiling-to-floor curtains take advantage of the room's height and give the appearance of a canopy bed. She created a corner closet in unused space and added molding to a set of salvaged doors for a sophisticated touch. The ottoman seated at the foot of her bed actually disguises her cat's litter box.

This kitchen is small on square footage but big on sophisticated style.

Kelly was able to create a gourmet kitchen in just 95 inches of space. A 24-inch stove and 18-inch dishwasher fit neatly beneath the counter. Because she lost space under the counter to the appliances, Kelly had drawers built into the bottom of the upper cabinets to store utensils. Her dining table does double-duty as an extra work surface for food preparation.

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