10 Smart Design Ideas for Small Spaces

From clever storage solutions to simple room dividers, learn how to make the most of your small-space situation with these 10 creative design ideas.

  • Clever Kitchen Storage

    While regular kitchen cupboards serve a useful purpose, there's something eye-catching and appealing about these open (and organized) storage shelves. Designer John Gidding wanted to separate the kitchen from the dining area but still keep the entire space open and airy. By adding the small wall divider, he was able to turn a small kitchen into two separate rooms. Plus, the floor-to-ceiling shelves are the perfect place to store and display favorite items and pretty glassware.

  • Room with Office Nook

    Home Office Nook

    When dealing with a small bedroom, don't let any extra space go unused. Designer Brian Patrick Flynn turned this nook between two small closets into a simple and efficient workstation. Adding shelves above the desk provides extra space to display and store books. Because the desk is built into the wall, it takes up little room and still leaves an open path in the bedroom.

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    Bathroom Storage

    Narrow wall shelves are an excellent way to store bathroom essentials in a stylish way. Invest in attractive canisters to hold cotton swabs, cotton balls and your favorite lotion, and place unsightly toiletries under the vanity. Small wicker baskets can also be placed on the shelves for additional, hidden storage. Design by John Gidding

  • Multipurpose Space

    Sometimes, a multipurpose space is unavoidable, and your home office and guest bedroom must inhabit the same space. To make the best of this situation, use the surrounding walls to your advantage. Designer John Gidding created a simple desk unit and added a collection of shelves above for necessary storage. Connected to the desk, a stylishly concealed Murphy bed can easily pull out for those occasional guests. During the day, store the bed for a creative and spacious workspace.

  • After Image of Ian Brennan Living Room Den Redo

    Keep It Light

    To make your space appear larger, avoid using dark hues. This eclectic living room features a gray focal wall for a punch of color but keeps the rest of the space light and open with crisp, white furniture and white built-in units.

  • Rich Golden Hues Warm DeLeon-Designed Rooms

    Curtain Divider

    A simple, sheer curtain is a great way to easily divide two spaces. Designer Vanessa DeLeon incorporated a sheer, silk curtain panel into this Asian-style apartment to add a dramatic element and visually separate the living room from the dining room.

  • Beneath the Stairs

    Any space can be enhanced with additional (and stylish) storage solutions. Designer John Gidding added a shelving unit directly below the stairs to take advantage of the awkward, extra space. Located adjacent to the kitchen, he turned the unit into a mini bar, storing bar essentials and other accessories. These shelves would also be an ideal place to display an abundant book collection.

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    Well-Worked Window Treatments

    To make a small living room appear more spacious, add floor-to-ceiling window treatments. This eclectic living room features extra-high ceilings, despite its small floor plan. This simple addition will automatically draw eyes up the wall for a much larger feel. Design by Lori Dennis

  • Get Creative

    Whether you have small children and a lot of toys or just need extra shelves to store books and display items, creatively use the extra space between two floor levels for a unique shelving unit. With six separate shelves and floor space below, designer John Gidding provided the perfect place for visual storage. These small canvas bins are great for keeping toys stored away and out of sight.

  • Add a Mirror

    One of the best (and easiest) tricks in the design world is adding a full-body mirror to visually expand a space. Surrounded by neutral draperies, this tall mirror adds dimension to the space and makes the small bedroom appear much larger. Close the curtains and hide the mirror for a more intimate and enclosed space.

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