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How to style
small spaces
small spaces

We are seeing a focus on the home like never before since everyone has spent more time at home these past eighteen months. Multiple lockdowns have made people prioritise their home and reconsider its layout, particularly smaller spaces. With Mintel finding that 86% of the British public view their home as the centre of their wellbeing, here are some suggestions to help you design and style a small space to make it function better and give you peace of mind.


Use lighter colours

When designing for a smaller space, lighter colour choices are always best. Darker colours can be a short cut to a space with personality; nevertheless, they can shrink a small room even further and, in some cases, make it appear overwhelming. Try washing out the walls and ceilings with all the same light or neutral colour to make the room feel taller, removing any delineation between ceilings and walls. This technique was used in the attics of old houses in the past where a light wallpaper with a delicate repeat pattern would be used on every inch of wall, even in deep set windows to make the space feel taller and bigger.

Palladium Luster Wallpaper by Julia Clare Interiors

 Use reflective surfaces

We all know the trick of adding a mirror to make a space look bigger. Your use of reflective surfaces doesn’t have to stop there. Using reflective materials such as glossy tiles, shiny handles and fixtures as well as subtle sheen wallpapers will aid in reflecting light around the room to make it feel airier and brighter. We love this Lustre Tile Wallpaper from Zoffany and the wallpapers of Julia Clare Interiors that have a delicate light-reflecting glow which will bounce sunlight around the room during the day but will also reflect the warm glow of candles and lamp light to create a cosy atmosphere in the evening.

Ripley Wall Light by Fosbery Studio

Lighting is key

It’s easy to forget about lighting when designing for a small space. Interesting wall lights are an excellent space saver, especially in tiny bedrooms. Using wall mounted bedside lights such as the Adjustable Ledbury Shade Reading Light and Ripley Wall Light saves space on your bedside tables but are also more functional as they can be moved and adjusted to the perfect position for reading in bed. You can also still display your personality with a unique design such as the Flume Wall Light or the Aston Wall Light in hallways showing that you don’t have to compromise on style when being practical. Consider hidden lighting on top of cupboards, behind mirrors and under skirting details of fixed cupboards such as built-in cabinets under sinks in small bathrooms to give an airer and lighter feel.


Think about storage

If you’re looking for tiny bathroom ideas, particularly when it comes to storage, then you can’t go wrong with hiding it. Nothing makes a small bathroom or wet room feel smaller than when there is clutter all over the sink and the room is filled with chunky cabinets. It’s a lot more affordable nowadays to make a small space work smarter with clever under sink and other built-in storage. You can steal space from the wall, concealing cisterns within the wall and use more innovatively designed towel racks by making use of underfloor heating.

The cubicle shape of a shower tray is no longer needed. If you have confidence with your contractor, they can install a wet room with a continuation of flooring separated simply by a shower screen to separate the wet washing area from the dry. Another tip for small bathrooms is investing in decent, power suction for your extractor and using a demista pad behind the mirror to prevent streaking and steaming. Usually more akin to hotels, demista pads are a lot more economical and can be put to good use in your home.


Bedroom storage

When it comes to the bedroom, hidden storage is helpful in making your bedroom a space for wellbeing. Removing clutter will aid the feeling of calm. If you have a small bedroom, use all the space you have available to you including the space under your bed. Under bed storage is extremely useful. It is also concealed which helps create a soothing space. Tallboys can be skinny and have height to maximise storage without stealing much needed floor space. Using mini chests of drawers or cabinets like the Mini Lulu Cabinet from Knowles & Christou can also maximise storage and reduce clutter.

A separate dressing space is a luxury a lot of us can’t have. However, you can achieve a serene feel with a false wall to hide a wardrobe behind it to make a bedroom feel less busy. Look at hotel rooms for inspiration as many achieve this elegantly. Another good tip is to remove your “chairdrobe”, you know, the chair you keep chucking your clothes on? If you remove it from your bedroom, it will force you to hang your clothes up to reduce clutter. You’ll thank us for it later when you have a clutter-free, organised bedroom.

Lily Glass Cocktail Table by Tom Faulkner

Use multi-functional pieces

Multi-functional furniture is a staple for any small space. Using smaller side tables like the ‘Within Arm’s Reach’ Table or the Lily Cocktail Glass Table are useful to move around and slot in next to an armchair or sofa very easily. When you don’t have much space next to your bed, using stools like the Peg Stool or the (Perfectly) Imperfect Stool as bedside tables can help you save space and they also double up nicely as extra seating when needed.

Whatever you do, don’t compromise on your choices. Since you can’t have as many pieces in a small space, you need to make sure what you do have and use are pieces that you love, that are beautiful and are comfortable. Choose pieces that are made to a high-quality so they will last longer, making them worth the investment. This is why we feature only British-made pieces in our collection as you are guaranteed to purchase a piece that is made sustainably, ethically and to a lasting standard by a master of their craft.

(Perfectly) Imperfect Stool

Don’t make it busy

Dual purpose pieces will help you maximise the use of your space and streamline what’s in it. Bespoke built-in furniture for awkward spaces such as built-in bookcases and window seats will also aid with this. Lighter colours are always encouraged but if you are feeling brave you can go darker, the key is to not make it busy with too many pieces or contrasting patterns. As mentioned earlier, washing out the delineation between the ceilings and walls by painting it all one colour can work with darker shades such as plum. You can even use it on architraves and skirting so it all blends into one.

If you’re feeling bold, transient spaces such as hallways are the small places in which you can be busier. You can use a more flamboyant and exciting wallpaper that you wouldn’t usually want to sit with in a sitting room, or a heavily patterned tile in entranceways. Play with these transitory tiny spaces like making a gallery wall, creating a wall mural or using brighter coloured furniture. There always is a way to show your personality no matter what size of the space.


If you have a small space in mind that you are struggling to design or style then don’t hesitate to get in touch. The AUTHOR team would be more than happy to help you create your ideal space no matter the size.

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About the Author


Written by Jane Adams, founder of Author Interiors. LinkedIn:

Read more about her here.

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