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5 Small-Space Design Rules to Break

By: Susan Kleinman

These tiny apartments break all the rules. The results are large on style despite small square footage.

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Make It Light

Yes, light colors can make a space look larger. But if you prefer a stylish look over a sizable one, you may opt to paint the walls a dark shade anyway. In this tiny apartment living room, HomePolish used Benjamin Moore's Caribbean Azure to create a memorable effect. "When you're painting a small space," says Noa Santos, "use a satin or semigloss finish. The walls will have a reflective quality that preserves the light in the room." Photography by Francisco Aguila

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Keep It Clutter-Free

The less stuff you have, the bigger your tiny home will appear. But what's the point of having a home if you can't fill it with the things you love? In this tiny bedroom, HomePolish lined a wall with favorite photos and memorabilia. What makes it work? Full-throttle commitment. A few photos scattered here and there would have looked like clutter, but this many of them, massed together like this, create a wallpaper-like effect. Photography by Francisco Aguila

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Break All the Rules

The tiny, multipurpose living space Andrew Suvalsky created in his own apartment breaks all these small-space rules. The furniture is all full-sized. The color is vivid orange. The print on the two beds is large-scale, and the flokati rug takes up plenty of visual and physical space. But the room still looks great and functions beautifully. How did he pull it off? By choosing pieces perfectly measured for the space and placing them against the walls, Suvalsky created the feeling of built-ins, which make a room look well-designed and spacious. And while the palette is bold, it’s restricted to just a few colors for a look that is cohesive, not chaotic. Photography by Mark Byron

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Hide the Bed

Murphy beds. Sofa beds. Folding screens. There are as many ways to hide a bed as there are tiny studios in New York City. But for his own 450-square-foot apartment, interior designer Timothy Brown decided to place the bed center stage. "Rather than thinking about hiding or dividing the space," says Brown, "I thought of the bed as extra seating with the sofa and chairs." His advice for making a bed feel like part of the seating plan: "Keep the furniture low, and all around the same height." Photography by Brad Stein Photography

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