Ten Tricks To Styling Your Small Space


Living the dream in a tiny, tiny apartment or a pint-sized home? Find out how to style your small space here!

The ad reads spacious modern dwelling in central location, but in reality it’s a dimly lit shoebox sitting on a trainline. Sound familiar? Welcome to modern living.

Whether you’re investing in your first home or savouring your fifty bizillionth rental experience, it’s highly likely you’re subsisting in a small-scale abode. The trick is to make it work for you.

Tight spaces can be challenging. Here are our 10 commandments for conquering their style.

Zanui Lydon Sofa 2
Zanui Lydon Sofa, Rapee Sahara and Panel Cushion, Shaynna Blaze Stellar Canvas Print, and Phoenix Side Table, online at Zanui.

  1. Think negative (!)

When you’re decorating snug spots, it’s all about the negative space. Negative space (or whitespace) shows our brains which elements are important in a room. Having clear focal points gives interiors a restful, cohesive look.

Increasing the negative space around your furniture and décor makes a small room feel larger. Pull your furniture out from the wall for a breezy feel.

Zanui Lydon Sofa
Zanui Lydon Sofa, j.elliott HOME Francesca Gold Side Table, Rapee Panel Cushion, and 41 Orchard Bally Blonde Canvas Print, online at Zanui.

  1. Ban the bulk

This is not the time to get heavy with it. At least, not en-masse. Sofas with exposed legs, wire-framed coffee and side tables, and glass or mirrored finishes are light and easy on the eye.

Play with petite. If you like a style, see if it comes in “smaller”. Switch out a chesterfield for a chesterfield armchair below.

A La Mode Studio Marble Mountain Framed Print, Natural
A La Mode Studio Marble Mountain Framed Print, available in natural and black online at Zanui.

  1. Work to scale

Size your furniture to your room. But you’re wedded to that big-is-beautiful sofa/dining table/bedhead? Make it the feature and ixnay unnecessary surrounding items for more negative space. See point one.

For example, switch out your coffee table for two side tables when you’re working in a solid sofa. Edit, edit, edit.

Zanui Celestia range
Celestia Dining Chairs from Zanui. Shop all dining chairs online at Zanui.

  1. White it out

Whites, neutrals and less saturated colours induce a light and airy feel. OD on these hues for super-spacious style. Farm them out in marble, velvet, wool knits and more for textured diversity and depth in your design scape.

Match your sofa to your walls to make it disappear. (Well – almost.) Then add pops of colour, texture and pattern.

Reading nook
Round rugs like this Rug Republic Deco Round Rug are a great way to define a small space. Plus this reading nook has great pops of colour in its armchair and artwork and accents

  1. Embrace your nooks

Not those on your person, bien sûr. 😉 Pack some personality into untapped spots in your home. Corners offer creative opportunities to infuse your interiors with individuality.

Make your mad-man a bachelor nook with a chesterfield armchair and small bar (stored under his side table) on the dark side of your living room. Finish the look with a mini gallery wall or a masculine floor lamp. Keep it cohesive with an identifiable colour scheme across its elements.

Zanui Stanhope Chesterfield Armchair, Chocolate Globe West Elle Black Marble Side TableWaterford Lismore Diamond DOF Glass (Set of 2) Satara Atlas Side Table (Set of 2)
L to R: Zanui Stanhope Chesterfield Armchair, Chocolate, Globe West Elle Black Marble Side Table, Waterford Lismore Diamond DOF Glass (Set of 2) and Satara Atlas Side Table (Set of 2), online at Zanui.

Transform your dressing table into a cute home office / reading nook. Pair it with an upholstered chair and an ottoman to put your feet up on – soft fabrics work well in the bedroom.

Carry your colour way throughout your gallery wall and decor. NF Living Grey Hound Statue, Soundslike HOME Vintage Coffee Table, NSW Leather Co. Natural Cowhide Rug, Black/White, and Lydon 3 Seater Sofa, online at Zanui.

  1. Ponder walls

(We know – terrible word play. Neil Gallagher – no one needs that kind of mess in any space.) But vertical space is perfect for hanging plants in macramé as well as additional shelving, even a vertical garden. Chic wallpapers, statement lighting and artwork all dress up your room without stealing space.

Of course, if you’re living in your own palace, you can go to town – hammer in a mezzanine level, re-house your bed, build an old-school library in the ceiling, the works…

Iitala glassware
Iittala‘s exquisite collection of glassware make ideal accents for small spaces with their sheer beauty. 

  1. See your way clear

Translucent materials are your new best mates. Pieces like the Philippe Starck Ghost Chair give without taking in the space stakes whilst decorative elements like mirrors and metallic accents bounce light for added brightness.

Shed your curtains. Bare your windows to the world. Or get busy with your paintbrush and a satin or semi-gloss finish for more reflective light within your room…

Interstil Trio Set of 3 Tables
This trio of nesting side tables from Interstil is space-saving and uber-versatile. 

  1. Get savvy with your storage

Banish clutter with clever storage options. Maximise untapped areas, like under your bed and stairs. Floating shelves above counters or in corners are light and easy on the eye.

Opt for furniture with enclosed storage, like ottomans, entertainment units, coffee and bedside tables. Choose jute or woven baskets that are a decorative accent in their own right so that you can stash your stuff out of sight when it’s not in use.

  1. Aim high

Lift the ceiling height with tall and lean furniture like bookshelves and glass-fronted cabinets that draw the eye up. It’s like the age-old adage about wearing vertical stripes!

Have You Met Miss Jones Palm Leaf Tall + Wide Mouth Vases
Have You Met Miss Jones Palm Leaf Tall + Wide Mouth Vases, online at Zanui.

  1. Add some Nature nurture

And lastly trace a few leafy accents about your home. Referencing the outside world with pot plants and hanging plants filters fresh air through your aesthetic! Literally and metaphorically. <3


Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.