Big Ideas for Small Spaces

Small-space décor gets designer-size boost.
Discover the benefits of a smaller but no less abundant lifestyle at One Southdale Place.

Making smaller spaces functional and fantastic is easier thanks to some professional advice from area designers, who offer suggestions for a few problematic rooms and more.

Home offices often have a split personality—part office, part guest bedroom. Katie Bassett of Katie Bassett Interiors in Edina balanced a client’s multi-purpose space with a Murphy bed. The unit features side and upper shelving, and the interior provides lighting and cell phone charging capabilities. For another client, she enlarged a black-and-white photograph of Mount Hood, making it into wallpaper to stretch across the room’s back wall. A glass desk gives the office an airy look. “When you look into the room, the desk doesn’t take up any visual space,” Basset says.

Kitchens serve up another set of issues. Bassett suggests installing banquettes to reduce floor space required by chairs. If there isn’t room for a table, Jeanne Schilz, property director at One Southdale Place, suggests using a center island as the dining spot, and tuck backless or saddle-style stools under the island to save floor space.

Kim Tucker of Martha O’Hara Interiors says, “In one client’s small kitchen, since the budget was tight, I suggested buying three industrial metal 6- or 7-foot-high shelves, which she installed in a little room outside of her kitchen. It now operates as her pantry.”

Store infrequently used appliances, leaving the counters as clear as possible, to create extra visual space, Schilz says, adding that enclosed armoires can serve as decorative and functional storage if cupboard space is at a premium.

“As long as it’s neat and organized, the laundry room is a great place to store things,” Schilz says. Utilize vertical shelving to create extra storage and add to the room’s visual size. Keep items off the floor and store underused appliances in the laundry room.

GENERAL TIPS from our experts:

Don’t be afraid of the dark. Lighter walls can make a space feel bright and cheery. But dark navy sisal wallpaper in a small den can make the room feel moody, masculine and cozy.

Light up the dark: Light accents will balance out a room. For example, a bedroom with darker walls could include a light fabric-covered headboard and white bedding, with some colorful pillow accents.

Mirror, mirror on the walls: A large floor mirror in an entry or a living room can really open up a space, create more light and will seem to double the amount of space.

Out with the old, in with the new: If something comes in, something else must go out. Otherwise, clutter can happen, and that is never a good look.

Powder room vanishing act: Narrow shelves installed with pretty containers and canisters to hide everyday, mundane items are a good idea.

Organize and organize again: Stay vigilant about staying organized. Invest in baskets and storage canisters.

Hide-away: Hidden storage tables and ottomans are a great way to increase storage in your smaller spaces.

Built-in benefits: Built-ins are great for storage and reduce the need for tables and chests, which can make a room feel crowded.

Use what you love: It sounds cliché, but only bring into your home what you love because it’s beautiful or because you find it to be useful.