9 Mistakes to Avoid If You Live in a Small Space

Tackling a small space, be it a single room, a studio apartment, or an entire home, requires careful planning, an eye for detail, and a willingness to get creative. A large house or room can be more accommodating because there is so much square footage to work with, but a small apartment or room forces you to be more creative with how you use the space you have. But if you do it right, its aesthetic value and practicality will far outweigh its diminutive dimensions.

Check out this list of nine common mistakes people make in small spaces, along with tips on how to avoid them.

Mistake 1: Not making preparations.

It’s not a good mistake to furnish a small house without first taking a careful look around and coming up with a good strategy. It’s helpful to sit down with a floor plan and some scaled furniture pieces to try out different layouts. If you have a very small home, your current furniture might not work out for you. You may want to consider replacing it with more compact options or furniture that serves multiple purposes.

Don’t be afraid to try out a few different arrangements for the furniture and the rest of the room’s layout before committing to one. A certain amount of forethought is likely required to arrive at the optimal answer.

Mistake 2: Ignoring volume in favor of surface area.

When dealing with a small area, it’s more important than ever to focus on the usable volume. You can make a room feel bigger by paying attention to the ceiling and making the most of what you have.

If you raise the ceiling, you can add a mezzanine like in the first picture, or you can expose the roof beams to make a small room feel more open and airy. By installing skylights or sliding doors to let in as much light as possible, you can make a room look bigger.

Mistake 3: Not making the most of available storage

Storage is important regardless of the size of your home, but it becomes especially important when living in a compact space.

Make good use of the space under the bed, behind the doors, and up high. It’s possible to go the custom route, but tried-and-true storage solutions like shelves, rails, hooks, and ceiling clothes airers are also useful.

Mistake 4: Having an excessive space division

Do not visually divide the room up too much, as doing so can make the area feel boxed in and smaller than it is. Make careful use of room dividers, flooring, wall color, and even rugs, and think about carrying the main elements of the design throughout the house. When the same material or color is used everywhere in a room, it makes the room feel more open and comfortable.

Mistake 5: Not using mirrors, which is a big mistake

Remember that mirrors are your friends when decorating a small room. They can greatly improve the ambiance of a room and increase the available light. Put up a framed mirror or, for a more custom look, mirror panels.

Mirrors can make a room look bigger, but if you don’t want to see yourself all the time, putting them in the upper third of the room is a good compromise.

Mistake 6: Steering clear of eye-popping colors

Using light colors can make a room seem and feel much larger than it is. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to light colors exclusively. A single, daring color can set the tone for an entire room and even the entire house.

If you want to add character to a room without adding a lot of unnecessary “stuff,” try painting the walls a bold color or putting in some colorful units, as shown here.

Mistake 7: Being a Mistake-abider

Small space living seems to be the subject of several theories and guidelines. A bench that doubles as storage space is a great example of the kind of multifunctional furniture you should incorporate, as is a restrained color palette.

So, you should carefully think about each suggestion for making the most of a small amount of space. If necessary, you can ignore, change, or go back to your original plan.

Mistake 8: Purchasing or arranging furniture that is improperly scaled

When working with restricted quarters, it’s essential to select appropriate piece dimensions. However, this does not necessitate the use of miniature implements. A large piece can look welcoming and surprising, while a small piece can draw attention to the room’s diminutive proportions.

For instance, a large upholstered sofa can make a small living room look welcoming, while a tiny wooden chair would look out of place.

Don’t forget about the form! In a small dining area, a round table may be easier to maneuver, but a long, slim table that can be pushed against the wall when not in use may be the better choice.

Mistake 9: Having an abundance of material possessions

Even if you’re a hoarder at heart, you’ll need to rein in your collecting tendencies if you plan to keep your small apartment organized. Reduce the number of things you own, whether it be kitchen utensils, artwork, or furniture, and see how much more open and spacious your tiny home feels as a result.