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7 Smart Design Ideas for Tackling a Small Space at Home

July 27, 2022

Small ideas, big impact.

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Designing a small space can be a huge challenge. However, with some creative thinking, some space-saving design hacks, and top-tier visual trickery, you can reverse the curse of the small space and turn your home into a comfortable living space. Here are some smart design ideas and tips to get you started!

1. Be on the lookout for clear furniture

Clear furniture is a miracle worker for small rooms. When shopping for furniture for your small home, keep your eyes peeled for acrylic, glass and lucite furniture pieces because, these types of furniture can let light pass through, providing an impression of spaciousness in a room.

The E-House, Tanjung Tokong Penang by EMPT Studio

Interior Firm: EMPT Studio

Take a cue from this dining room which features ghost chairs and dining tables with exposed legs. Looks much airier than it would with regular opaque chairs, doesn’t it?

2. Opt for open storage or wall-mounted shelves

Choose open shelves when installing a storage unit in a compact space. Open shelving, without the visually weighty doors (or frames), can make even the smallest room feel more spacious. A case in point is this dining area which includes floating shelves for displaying ornamental goods, among other things. The shelving unit doesn't take up any floor space or obstruct the walkways, allowing the owner to add a bench to maximise seats in the dining area.

J.Satine Show Unit, Kuala Lumpur by SQFT Space Design Management

3. Go for glass doors whenever possible

Standard doors and walls limit your vision of what is beyond, making you feel claustrophobic, especially if you are sitting in a small space. If possible, consider swapping out your standard wood or steel doors with glass doors to flood the entire space with natural light. This is a particularly useful tip for spaces that do not require much privacy, such as the dining room, laundry room, or kitchen, as seen in this petite 662 sqft condominium.

Fera Residence, Wangsa Maju by Pocket Square

Interior Firm: Pocket Square

Fera Residence, Wangsa Maju by Pocket Square

Interior Firm: Pocket Square

4. Install floor-to-ceiling curtains

Hanging floor-to-ceiling curtains is another simple design trick that can give the illusion of more space in a small room. And while most homes have curtains that cut off a few inches below the ceiling, we recommend going all the way up. They may sound inconsequential, but these few added inches will go a long way in visual elongation. Case in point: this 810 sqft condominium by ZT Design!

Sri Wahyu Ressidence, Batu Caves by ZT Design Studio

Interior Firm: ZT Design Studio

Sri Wahyu Ressidence, Batu Caves by ZT Design Studio

Interior Firm: ZT Design Studio

5. Employ light colours

Most people are aware that light colours serve to make a room appear larger than dark colours do. White walls, ceilings, or flooring, as well as lots of lighting, are sure to put a little pep in your step while making your interior feel larger.

Pinnacle Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur by Anwill Design Sdn Bhd

Interior Firm: Anwill Design Sdn Bhd

But that doesn’t mean you have to go with an all-white interior, particularly if you don’t want the room to end up looking too plain. Pair light colours (think white, off-white and beige) with warm materials like wood, as seen in this apartment. Here, Anwill Design used white as a foundation and a light wooden tone for the built-ins and furnishings. Lastly, a few accent pieces like wall art and accessories were used to further enliven the space.

6. Use an open bookshelf as a room divider

If your small space suffers from open-plan ambiguity, define individual areas (and add storage) with a bookshelf. Consider this small yet cosy 850 sqft apartment, which features a narrow shelf with a frosted glass extension. It divides the living and dining areas and also serves as a display for the homeowner's prized figure collection.

Kenwingston Anenue, Kuala Lumpur by AW Design Lab

Interior Firm: AW Design Lab

7. Save on swing space with sliding doors

Sliding doors and pocket doors are a priceless addition to tight spaces. They're there when you need them and completely out of sight when you don't. Plus, by eliminating the need for a swing area, they don't hinder your furniture layout in any way. Take a cue from this Scandinavian-styled condominium, which uses sliding doors to separate the kitchen from the dining and bar-like area that can be used for enjoying a cup of coffee or having casual meals.

Nadia Park Front Condo, Kuala Lumpur by Amaze Design Sdn Bhd

Interior Firm: Amaze Design Sdn Bhd

Nadia Park Front Condo, Kuala Lumpur by Amaze Design Sdn Bhd

Interior Firm: Amaze Design Sdn Bhd

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