5 style hacks for small spaces
AD - this is a paid collaboration with Habitat
British homes are some of the smallest in Europe and reports suggest that they are getting smaller.
If you live in a small house or flat how do you keep it looking stylish and organised when you have lots of stuff? How do you prevent the space from feeling cramped and cluttered?
We live in a three bedroomed house, but it is fairly modestly sized and finding ways of neatly storing and organizing everything we own is an ongoing challenge. In an effort to get on top of this we’ve turned the smallest bedroom into a walk-in wardrobe. This means that we don’t have to squeeze a wardrobe into the main bedroom and we have instead been able to keep it feeling light, airy and minimal.
Meanwhile the third bedroom has been repurposed as my home office and studio. At 12 square metres this isn’t exactly tiny but it’s not huge either. We initially considered installing full height cupboards and shelving in this room to maximise the available storage, but this would have really encroached upon the floor space and I was worried that it would make the room feel quite cramped. Instead I wanted to create a space that I could spread out in and use for my photography work, so it needed to have enough room to allow me to set up my tripod and lighting equipment, as well as providing somewhere to store them when not in use.
I tend to have lots of stuff coming in and out of the office on a regular basis for shoots so it also needed to have space to accommodate boxes of product samples, props and all the other things I use for work on a weekly basis as well as more general office stuff like files, books and stationery.
We finished painting and decorating this room back at the end of last summer but somehow it just wasn’t really working. I wanted the space to feel light, airy and open but we didn’t have enough storage and over the past few months it had gradually become a repository for a large amount of stuff that didn’t really belong anywhere.
So when Habitat invited me to work with them on their latest campaign which focuses on making small space living work practically and stylishly it seemed like the perfect opportunity to tackle the situation and put things in order. They provided some helpful advice from online interior design company Homewings and challenged me to get organized!
Here are the 5 tips I followed to make the most of the space:
1. Tidy away the clutter (or better still get rid of it altogether)
Most of us basically have too much stuff. Even in you haven’t been watching Marie Kondo on Netflix you probably already know this and realise that to make the best of living in a small space you need to get rid of some of it. You could consider putting some of it in the loft (if you have one) or in storage if you really can’t face getting rid of it. Once you’ve had things in storage for a while you’ll probably realise that you don’t really need them after all and find it easier to part with them.
I’ve put this into effect quite ruthlessly here in my office. We have lots of design books and it would ideally have been nice to have somewhere to accommodate them all, but instead I’ve created a concise edit of the ones I tend to refer to most often and put the rest in storage for now. Eventually we plan to create some bookshelves in the alcove next to the fireplace in the living room, but there are lots of other more pressing jobs we need to complete first… like fitting a new kitchen and bathroom!
2. Choose furniture with skinny legs
Once you’ve edited your belongings down to just the things you really love and the practical essentials you use on a regular basis you need to find somewhere to store them.
Rooms that are filled with natural light are more comfortable and enjoyable spaces to inhabit, so choose furniture with slim frames and legs that allow the available light to flow right through the room.
3. Keep the floor free & use upright vertical lines
Installing floor to ceiling fitted cupboards here in the office would have provided lots of storage space but it would also have swallowed up a big chunk of the room and made the space feel much smaller.
Instead I’ve opted for this Drio cabinet from Habitat. The slim legs mean that the floor space is kept free and the upright vertical lines draw the eye upwards. It is surprisingly roomy and perfect for storing things away out of sight, but it doesn’t dominate or overpower the space.
4. Make the space feel larger with clever use of colour
Choose light woods, light colours and metallic surfaces to help reflect light and create a sense of space.
We fitted new floorboards that I treated with lye before applying a white oil-based finish to create a pale Scandi style look.
5. Use mirrors to amplify the light and space
Finally, I’ve included a large floor mirror. As well as adding another upright vertical line to the room it is also cleverly positioned to reflect and amplify the natural light flooding in through the bay window, making the room feel lighter and airier.
For me no space is complete without a few natural elements, so once I’d finished following the steps above, I added some plants to bring the space to life, arranging them on top of the cabinet to keep the floor space free. The differently shaped pots create a sculptural focal point and the foliage provides colour, depth and textural interest.
I’m really pleased with the changes I’ve made in here. I have lots more storage space so things feel much better organised, but the room still has the light, airy feeling I was so keen to maintain.
What are your tips for keeping things organised in a small space?