Decorating small spaces

Lisa Nolan
Written by Lisa Nolan
Russells Consultant
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Bigger isn’t automatically better. For one thing, having a smaller house means less housework to keep it clean! But it can be challenging when it comes to fitting in the things you need and love. From storage and furniture tips to what colours and how to hang your curtains, here are our favourite ways to make the most of your limited space and/or make small rooms feel bigger:

Don’t let any space go unused

Walls, under things, in between things, behind doors, beneath the stairs…when pressed for space to put things you’ll be amazed how creative you can get. If it’s too small for furniture, is it big enough for shelves or some storage?

Think up, not out

Walls offer ample storage opportunities. Floating shelves, extra-tall bookshelves or rails with hanging baskets on the wall makes space for plenty of things, keeping the room neat and tidy. Use wall or ceiling lighting instead of table or floor lamps, and mount the flat screen TV on the wall.

Double-duty and foldaway furniture

Choose furniture with built in storage capacity, eg ottomans beds with drawers in the base.

Foldaway beds have come leaps and bounds over the years and are now quite stylish and comfortable. Check out the range from Tiltawaybeds.

Russells curtains

Keep it light

When working with a small space, it’s all about perception, making it seem bigger. Light plays a big part in achieving this. Natural light is a small space’s best friend so maximise what is coming into your small room by having as little of the windows obscured as possible. Roller blinds are good for this. And opt for lighter colours in your décor as they’re better for bouncing the natural light around the room.

Add a mirror

One of the best (and easiest) design tricks is using mirrors to visually expand small spaces. Place them on the wall opposite your window to reflect and spread the light or have one on one side of the room and the other directly opposite; the eternal reflections create the perception of huge amounts of space.

Work those window furnishings

As mentioned before, roller blinds are good for ensuring none of the natural light is blocked coming through the window. But they’re not the only option: run your curtains from ceiling to floor. Normally, the curtain rod or rail would be mounted about halfway between the frame and the ceiling. Opting for taller curtains will draw the eye up, making the ceilings feel much higher and the room bigger overall.

Russells curtains

Create space beyond the furniture

With limited space in a small room it’s tempting to push all the furniture to the walls, but all you’re doing there is highlighting the space you don’t have. Increase the perceived size of the space by carefully arranging your furniture slightly more centrally, creating spaces around it.

Built in seating

In the kitchen/dining area, instead of finding room to place four or more chairs around a table, build permanent bench seating around a corner. You’ll still need a couple of chairs on the side without the bench but you’ll save on space when feeding a crowd as you can slide the table in close to the wall, out of the way.

Same color, different shade

Trim and ceiling colour impacts the walls; tie them in with the rest of the space so they don’t stand out too much. Paint them the same colour as the walls only in different shades, lighter for the ceiling and slightly darker for the trim.


No matter how many smart storage solutions you incorporate, if you have too much stuff you won’t find a place for it. Evaluate your belongings and rid yourself of useless objects that do nothing other than take up space. Some people find this difficult to do because they items we hold onto have sentimental value. But think about this, not having the “thing” doesn’t erase the memories you associate with it so don’t be afraid to throw things away. If it really is hard, take photos of the things to help preserve the memory.

Everything you need to know to make the right choice for your home

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