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How to choose furniture for small spaces?

Updated: Jun 11, 2022

Image credit: Crate & Barrel

You can follow these 10 tips to improve storage and make the best of your space.

1. For an open layout, stick to the perimeter.

Place your furniture around the perimeter to avoid taking up precious floor space. Wall mounting furniture and lighting, such as wall-mounted shelves to display books and decor (see this model from Target), wall mounting your TV, or using a sconce instead of a floor lamp, can help you declutter the floor and open up the space.

If you cannot drill into the wall, rent-friendly advice would be using a ladder bookshelf instead of a freestanding one (they even have versions such as ladder bookshelf/desk) or keeping the leg profiles of furniture skinny can help too.


2. Choose a bed with storage

You can choose a bed frame with built-in drawers, or a hydraulic storage system (see this one from Overstock) to store your clothes, items too bulky to store anywhere else, or bedding. Taking advantage of this type of storage is one of the best investments.

Alternatively, you can buy under-bed storage drawers if you are not considering investing in a new bed (Article has a great set called Lenia). If you think the bed will take too much space, you can opt for a Murphy bed that comes with closet space, which helps with the storage while having the ability to fold away when not in use.

3. Stackable & foldable pieces are key

Do you like having guests over? Then, you don’t have to worry about not having a big couch or ottomans, especially living in a small space. Stackable stools, foldable chairs, and nesting tables are your friends; they take as little space as possible and can be placed in your entry closet when not in use. Stackable stools can also serve as side tables (see Departo from West Elm here).

4. Keep it Skinny

Look at the biggest piece of furniture in your space. It is probably the sofa and the bed. It is crucial that the sofa has shallow depth with skinny armrests (see an example from Article here), and the bed has a slim base and a headboard. A sofa that’s too big or has too much depth will make your space look much smaller.

5. Legs Make a Big Difference

The more floor surface you see, the better, meaning, try to keep your furniture base as high as possible when it comes to small spaces. This will create the illusion of more open space and allow light to travel through, making the room look more bright.

Also, stick to high leg sofas, and whenever you can, choose furniture with thin legs. For example, choose a pedestal table for a dining table since it has a less cluttered look.

6. Sleeper Sofa for Guests

If you live in a studio apartment, you might think you don’t have space for guests to sleep over. That’s why you need a sleeper sofa (see an example from Article here). They are a little more expensive than a traditional one, but it pays off.

7. Keep It Light and Bright

Of course, you should be using color wherever you want to have an emphasis, but it is best to keep the colors of your furniture and walls light. Light colors have the reflecting effect on light, hence doubling the impact. Suppose you don’t want your space to be all-white. In that case, you can use monochromatic color schemes to use different shades, creating a dynamic interior.


8. Glass and Acrylic Pieces Make a Big Difference

This is one of the biggest tricks you can use in a small space: transparent/translucent surfaces. Allowing light to travel will make your furniture as if it’s invisible while having the same function. For example, a coffee table with a glass top (see an example here) or acrylic clear chairs can serve a small space very well.

9. Choose Lightweight Furniture

When choosing furniture, look for smaller furniture, such as two chests of drawers instead of one, so you can locate them in different spaces, preventing a bulky look, and look for lightweight frames.

For example, you can choose a metal frame bookshelf, coffee table, and armchair. Lightness in weight will show itself as lightness in look, giving the space a more airy feeling.

10. Look for Wall-Mounted Furniture Options

Similar to point 1, using wall-mounted furniture can save a lot of floor space, making the room look much bigger. You can choose a wall-mounted drop-leaf table or a wall-mounted desk (see an example here) for tiny spaces.


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