Small space living. A necessity in this modern era, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style! Here I share my tips and tricks for making your small space look (and feel) huge.
When I first lived in a small apartment (London circa 2008) decorating felt tricky, as most of the inspiration I saw reflected great rambling homes in LA or Sydney. But since living in Hong Kong I’ve come to embrace my small space… It helps that in that time I’ve learnt lots of secrets to not only create a chic space with limited square footage, but also actually make it seem bigger!
I thought it was high time I shared with you some of my tips for decorating your own space, small or otherwise, and so decided to create a small spaces series – where I’ll share my tips and tricks for making tiny look and feel beautiful. For the next three posts I’ve partnered with H&M Home to share with you three key spaces… madeover! First up? The living room, one that has a tendency to feel small and cramped if you don’t do it right. Read on for seven steps to a light, bright and airy living space you’ll be more than happy to Netflix and chill in.
Living in Hong Kong, space is at a premium. Although we managed to upgrade from the tiny studio we lived in when we first arrived, at around 480 square feet our current space is tight (and meets the definition of a ‘Tiny House‘ as per the movement). But it’s about perception more than anything – I have friends in Australia that live in apartments twice our size and feel they are tiny, whilst friends in Japan think our space is positively luxurious. The concept of a small space will therefore often comes down to what you’re used to, and where you live. Regardless, there are lots of tricks you can use to make your space feel lighter, brighter and bigger, whether it’s micro or simply small. These tips can also apply if to a small room in a large house – because no matter your living scenario, a bigger feeling space is always nice.
Before & After
This space used to be our shared office back when Ben and I both worked from home . A few years ago we converted it into a living room, and really haven’t looked back. For this series I took out a lot of our existing decor to show you the bones of the space, and then redecorated with pieces of really gorgeous H&M Home decor. I have to admit I am such a huge fan of H&M Home… not only is it really well priced but the items are so perfectly suited to my aesthetic style. Incredible textiles, rugs, baskets and plant pots to name a few of my faves… All at an affordable price.
Seven Steps to Make your small Living space feel bigger
Step 1. Be Strategic About Furniture Choices
The first place to start with your living space is deciding the key piece of furniture that you need functionally. Once you understand what you need, it’s useful to look at your list and decide what is essential and what isn’t. Most of the time, it’s best to opt for minimal furniture in a small space. So, although a coffee table was on my list for this space, I quickly realised that it would be more of a burden than a benefit. Instead I opted for a wood slice side table, which acts as a coffee table without the space usage. And instead of a big lounge chair, we opted for a small ratan occasional chair.
Step 2. Use Mirrors To Brighten A Space
This is an oldie, but mirrors really help to open up a space. The addition of a large mirror leaning up against the wall completely changed the living room, injecting light and a sense of space where previously there was none. It’s worth giving up wall space for this, but if your wall space is limited, hang a mirror above your sofa.
Step 3. Choose a Neutral Palette As A Base
In smaller spaces, you have less room to experiment with a range of colours. So start with a light or neutral base – f0r this space I went with a white and navy base. A light coloured rug immediately brightens up a space so choose a white, grey or a jute for a natural feel.
Step 4. Then Add in Pops of Colour
Just because your space is small doesn’t mean you have to skip colour, in fact I think colour used cohesively helps to give balance and interest to a space, making it feel bigger. For this space I added pops of pink and mustard yellow. I love that the simple addition of some textiles or cushions can quickly and easily change the feel of a space, meaning you can experiment over time!
Step 5. Introduce Texture
Texture is another element that will help to give your space personality. Baskets and throws are a great way to give texture without taking up too much space, and they also have really great functions meaning they’ll work double duty in your cosy living room.
Step 6. Use Decor Items to Highlight Walls and Ceilings
Shelving is a great addition to a room, and a hanging shelf will add character without taking up too much space. Decorate with small items and neutral art for a less cluttered feel. And if you’re lucky enough to have higher ceilings, don’t let them get lost in the rest of the room. Use hanging decor such a lanterns or hanging plants to highlight the high of the ceilings. If you can, paint the clueing a lighter colour than your walls, this will further help to highlight the height
Step 7. Bring the Outdoors In
No outdoor space? No worries! Use natural decor like plants, pots and candles to give a sense of the outdoors, even if you have zero actual outdoor space. A little tip? Choose upright plants that don’t have too much busy foliage in tight spaces. The hanging lantern makes me feel like I’m on holiday!
In this photo: H&M Home copper planter holder, black and white geometric rugs, oversize basket, pink cup, white candle and small basket. See the wood slice table DIY here.
In this photo: H&M Home cushions in baby pink and mustard, glass mini vases, candle in cotton scent, terracotta planters and rattan lantern. The art is my personal collection. DIY hanging shelves here.
In this photo: H&M Home rugs, throw blanket and basket.
Using the wall space well, and decorating sparingly is a great way to add interest without overdoing it.
A mirror brings the room to life.
15% off H&M Home in Hong Kong stores
For the next three weeks H&M Home is giving all Hong Kong shoppers 15% off in their Hong Kong H&M Home Stores on spending $200. Click here to download your coupon to use in store.
Causeway Bay Store: Hang Lung Centre, 2-20 Paterson St, East Point, Hong Kong
Mongkok Store: G/F & 1/F Gala Place, 56 Dundas St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
This post is in collaboration with H&M