What are the important principles to keep in mind when designing for small spaces?
Emma: For me, it’s about making everything count. In a small space, you’ll be looking at every detail regularly, so it’s important to do everything hard. It’s easy to overflow in small spaces, so it’s important to find smart storage solutions. Use your wall space for more than just art and design upwards. And consider scale. Too many small things in a small space can quickly feel cluttered, so consider making certain focal points larger to create a sense of space.
Robin: I think people are afraid of small spaces, so they put a lot of small things in them. In fact, big patterns, big accessories, and oversized art all help distract us from the overall scale. However, use these large elements sparingly so they don’t become too overwhelming. Above all else, focus on the mood of your space, and look for smart décor items that work without being just plain eye-catching.
How can you maximize storage without compromising the look?
Emma: Multi-purpose furniture, the kind that can be placed out front and out of sight, so it doesn’t exist, is a godsend in small spaces. Think an ottoman-style bed with all the storage underneath, a footstool with your gym kit, and minimal shoe storage that can also hold your dog’s leash and towels. You can’t go far wrong if you prioritize form as well as function.
Robin: Antiques are wonderful things that defy expectations. Using items with a little more personality obscures its function and maintains the style of the room, which sticks in your mind more than the square footage.
Are there any recommended layout techniques for compact areas?
Emma: Any modular. If you like to change things up from time to time without buying new items, choose items with interchangeable attachments. Made of multiple parts, the sofa can be interchanged or separated to create different looks, and the shelving system can also be configured to your own design. Choosing editable furniture has the potential to work in multiple homes and spaces over the years.
Robin: Adaptability is key. Choose versatile items that can be deployed elsewhere. An oversized footstool with a tray on top doubles as a coffee table. Use a small cabinet as a side table so you have a place to stash things. Anything that has a flip-down surface, foldable elements, or can be installed in multiple areas of your home will work.