It seems like no one ever thinks their living space is big enough. If you’re hustling on an entry-level salary, sharing with roommates or sacrificing square footage for the luxury of living alone, there’s a good chance you’re faced with what most would consider a “small space.” Shoebox living doesn’t have to be totally uncomfortable or crazy, though — just take these four things into consideration:
Maximize your light
Hopefully, your tiny abode is blessed with good natural light, but even if it’s not, there are ways to fake it. Don’t just rely on whatever overhead situation your space comes with — make sure you have enough ambient and task lighting throughout your apartment or room. Try not to interrupt the light’s “flow” too much, and use mirrors to reflect and create the illusion of more space. (Seriously, mirrors have got to be one of the oldest small space tricks in the book, but there’s a reason. They work!)
Form + Function
Look out for double-duty furniture (ottomans as coffee table! Chairs as nightstands!) and dual-purpose decorative objects. When you’re working with minimal space, it’s important to make the most of what you do have!
If you’re living in a tiny apartment, it’s quite unlikely you will have room for a full dining room, office and dressing area. Really consider what is important to you, and work the layout to fit that in. If you love entertaining, maybe you focus on a dining nook that can double as a workspace. If you work from home quite a bit, maybe a “home office” is more important. It’s all about what works for you!
You Do You
Lots of articles about small space living will tell you to keep things light and bright or de-clutter as much as possible in order to maximize the space you have. If you’re into minimalism with a Scandinavian vibe, great! Do that! But the thing is…it’s your space. And at the end of the day, if you prefer dark walls and drama, there are totally ways to make that work, no matter how much square footage you’ve got. It’s all about what’s going to make you happy to come home to at the end of the day.
Apartment Therapy’s annual Small Cool Contest is a treasure trove of interior design inspiration and clever ideas, no matter how small (or large) your living space actually is. Each year, Apartment Therapy readers are invited to submit their small, cool homes (no bigger than 1,000 square feet) to find the smallest, coolest spaces in the world. Yep…the world. There are four contest divisions: small, little, tiny, teeny-tiny and international.
I love love love the Small Cool Contest (my most popular post of all time features a Small Cool apartment), so this year I’d like to showcase my favorite spaces in each category — starting globally with the international division!
First up is Helene Louise’s studio in Denmark, which masterfully uses every square inch of available space, including a bed lofted on dressers. I’m loving the muted Scandinavian color palette of white and shades of grey.
This may be my favorite International entry. Chelsea’s small Toronto space proves that dark walls can totally work in any size room or apartment. She also makes use of bold patterns and a dramatic black and white and gold color scheme with pops of deep pink. It’s like a perfectly glam little bachelorette pad.
Finally, we have Yasmine’s Paris apartment, which automatically gets cool points by virture of being in Paris. She has created a cozy little breakfast nook in the corner, but the real star here is the gallery wall. Don’t be afraid to try something that might seem a little crazy, like painting your gallery wall and frames to match your actual wall. Here, the mirrors and continuous wall color work together to create the illusion of more space, drawing the eye upward — always a good thing in a small space!
To see more Small Cool entries and vote for your favorites, pop on over to the official contest page — and stay tuned for more of my division favorites!
Today features a special double-header interior crush/life goals in the form of Sara Ruffin Costello, editor and interior designer extraordinare whose repoirtorie includes such valuted names as Vogue, The New York Times and oh, you know, founding creative director of Domino. I guess you could say this also makes her my #womancrushwednesday, to put it very, very mildly.
I stumbled on Costello’s home while reading another of my favorite interior design blogs, Lark & Linen, yesterday. Yep, literally yesterday — that’s how excited I am about this space! When I saw Domino in the post title, I knew I was in for a treat, but I didn’t know just how good it would be until I clicked through…
Costello moved with her family from New York City to New Orleans, Louisiana, into what her husband Paul called “a chic disaster.” With the help of architect Michael Carbine and the home’s original decorator Gerrie Bremermann, the couple turned it from chic disaster to chic, livable family home. And I want to move in, please. It helps that, according to this article in The New York Times’ T Magazine, they hang out with the likes of Solange Knowles and Reese Witherspoon and throw really cool parites (see: below video). #casual
But enough about my total girlcrush on Sara. Let’s take a peek at her New York City meets Southern Charm dream house, shall we? For starters, the exterior looks straight out of Gone With the Wind, and I am not at all mad about it:
Ugh, I could just live in that living room forever! My personal interior style definitely tends more toward “scandi-minimalist with a touch of glam,” but there is something really timeless and lovely about Sara’s eclectic style. It’s a gorgeous space that clearly belongs to New York high-society folks, but it also has a story, and it looks like people actually live here. I love that.
And, for the rest of us
peasants who aren’t New York high-society folks, One Kings Lane did a shoppable profile on Sara’s home so you can bring a little bit of that eclectic, urban-meets-Southern look to your own space. Shop some of my favorite pieces inspired by Sara’s home below (some of which are admittedly more budget-friendly than others):
What do you think? Are you a fan of this New Orleans home? (And for those of you in shoeboxes like me…don’t worry. Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool 2016 is here, which means more small space inspiration is right around the corner!)
All images via One Kings Lane.
I don’t usually frequent wedding blogs, much less turn to them for interior inspiration. However, it seems fitting that I fell head over heels in love with this bohemian bedroom that 100 Layer Cake styled for Room and Board. (Get it? Love? Wedding blog? Whatever, let’s look at the space!)
Seriously, how amazing is that minimal canopy bed? I’ve often said that playing with textures and bringing in greenery can totally bring a room to life, and this bedroom proves it… despite being a showroom, it looks straight out of your coolest friend’s apartment.
The bedroom is styled for a newlywed couple, to fit with 100 Layer Cake’s theme, but I think it’s a bit on the feminine side of boho, don’t you? Still: find me a guy who is down with a rose quartz blanket and furry pillows, and I’m so in. Relationship goals, right there. (Kidding. Mostly.)
More pictures of this lovely boho retreat, right this way…
Succulents hanging from the bed? Yes, please. It’s one of those “wish I had thought of that!” design moments, for sure.
Beach prints are an interior trend that seem to be sticking around. Just look at Gray Malin!
Love the look? Shop similar pieces for your own place below:
The bathroom can be one of the trickiest spots in the house to decorate. On the one hand, it’s a bathroom… don’t you want to decorate high-traffic areas like living and bedrooms first? On the other, you likely spend a lot of time there, either getting ready or winding down from the day. So, at the very least, you shouldn’t hate it.
And I really don’t hate this DIY bathroom makeover featured on A Beautiful Mess — in fact, just the opposite. I’m kind of obsessed with it.
That wall DIY might be a bit much for some people (I could totally see how eyes staring at you in the bathroom reads “creepy”) but I personally love it. Granted, I personally am also very into the whole evil-eye trend.
I also love dark, dramatic bathrooms — but my favorite floral wallpaper is super expensive and not temporary, and even though I am allowed to paint in my apartment, painting from black back to white walls before moving out sounds absolutely awful. This DIY seems like a renter-friendly way to get the bold wall look I’m going for. A Beautiful Mess promises that directions are coming soon… my breath is bated, ABM!
For a DIY that you can actually do now, if you want, check out this lucite towel bar.
The before and after. Many of the changes are simple and cosmetic: a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets, updated hardware, gold accessories to match, greenery and an art print on the wall.
Deciding what art to hang in the bathroom can be a tricky business, but this print works really nicely.
Accessories like a gold soap dispenser, bath tray and air plant add interest to the counter (also, I am super jealous of all that counter space!)
A wider shot showcasing the updated brass hardware and the bath mat, which is a fun take on the moroccan rug trend that I’m totally into.
A last look at how the whole thing comes together, combining my favorite blush/black/white/gold color scheme with quirky accents for an eclectic yet simple space. See the full makeover at A Beautiful Mess, and shop the room below: