Include these elements to make your compact space comfortable, functional and stylish.
Advice for decorating a small home is often about eliminating and deciding what to compromise on. But there are some things every home should have. Here are seven essentials that are always worth making room for.
1. A landing pad. You may not have a grand foyer, but you deserve somewhere to decompress for a moment when you arrive home.
Take a little bit of space by the front door to include somewhere to drop your coat and keys, as well as a seat for quick moments such as when tying a shoe. A mirror and a glass table will open up the look of the space, and a bouquet of flowers will provide a welcoming touch.
See more on maximizing storage space in small entries
2. Color and pattern. Sure, using lots of white and neutrals will make a small space look as big and breezy as possible. That doesn’t mean that all color and pattern should be strictly forbidden. Embracing some drama will make the look personal and inviting.
To get the best of both worlds, fit color into high and low places and keep the walls neutral so the main sightlines are still clear.
Try using a fun paint color on your ceiling, or go for a low-slung sofa or other piece of furniture, so it pops without overtaking the natural field of vision.
Ceiling paint (similar): Your Majesty, Benjamin Moore
3. A real dining surface. In a small home, you rarely find a dedicated dining room. That doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate somewhere for a proper sit-down meal that isn’t at your desk or in your lap. Try pushing a small dining table up against a wall or window to seat just two diners.
If you don’t have room even for a small fixed table, try using a fold-down table with stackable seats that can be pulled out when needed, or a convertible coffee table that can be raised to dining height so you can eat at the sofa in proper comfort.
4. A truly comfortable place to sit. While it’s often tempting to try to stuff many compact pieces of furniture into a small home, you shouldn’t skimp on a full-sized place to sit.
Including a truly comfortable sofa or lounge chair, rather than many tight modern seats, will make the whole home much more satisfying. To fit in occasional extra guests, have compact side chairs on hand that are only meant for sitting in for a few hours while someone visits, or you can even use a plush ottoman.
5. Great lighting. In a small space, the lighting is often inadequate, as it tends to be assumed that a single fixture can properly light each area. In reality, good lighting can never come from just one source, so it’s always important to include a diverse palette of fixtures.
To save room while adding a lot of light, choose a plug-in sconce with multiple bulbs, like the one here. It will brighten the walls in a rich way without taking up any square footage from your floor plan or table surfaces.
6. A living plant. Speaking of your floor plan, now that you’ve saved a little space with a great sconce, why not use that square footage for a healthy living plant?
Including an element of living greenery will make the space feel more human and welcoming, bringing a sense of the outdoors in.
See the perfect houseplant for people who kill houseplants
7. Space to breathe. Lastly, when decorating your small home, don’t forget to leave room for one very important thing: empty space.
Filling every square inch of your walls and flooring with decorative baubles and unneeded furniture leaves the space feeling cluttered and cramped. Let some walls remain empty, and keep lots of circulation space open so you can move about freely and really enjoy the great pieces you have.