Tips & Tricks for Decorating a Small Space

mixing patterns from modshift on Vimeo.

Decorating a room with a girls style AND a boys style is hard business folks!  Max has been kind enough to let me take the reigns on decorating our apartment.  Good thing because I'm kind of crazy picky when it comes to decor... Thanks Max for your patience! ;)  I've never really gotten to decorate a space in a way that I really like because I've always lived with multiple people and we've always been on insanely small/no budgets for decorating.  So I am really excited to finally create a budget to decorate a space in a style that I dig!  Ideally, I'd love to deck the space out in amazing mid century modern finds but my budget isn't that big.  So here is how I am creating a vision for our tiny little apartment, being practical and having fun with it at the same time:

1.  The space is tiny, I need to collect pieces that are a good scale for the space.
     How/Why:  I am trying to balance height in the space with 75% low profile pieces (aka, low lounge chairs, low tables etc.) with 25% nice and tall skinny objects (like a tall skinny bookcase, or a tall arching lamp.)  This way when you enter the little living room, you are not overwhelmed by a ton of big pieces overwhelming the space.  Your eye is given more room to bounce around the space when there is a more open "white space" so the room feels more open though it is small in size.

2.  Laying Down a Neutral Base. 
     How/Why:  Since the space is small, to keep the room feeling light and open, most of the main pieces of the room are neutral tones.  Since the colors and tones are pretty neutral, neutral being beige/grey/lighter wood/brown, I can bring in variety and interest into the space by using texture and little pops of color. 

3.  Textures, Pattern, and Colors are a great way to add contrast to a pale dull room.
     How/Why:  I don't want an entirely neutral living room.  Boring...  I really like high contrast.  But I don't want to go over the top contrast-y with lots of black and white and pops of gold because high contrast ends up feeling a bit too glam for our shared girl/boy space.  So, instead I'm going to amp up our space with contrast of texture, a few controlled patterns and a few pops of color.  Maybe just a little scattering of black, white and metals. 

4.  Controlled Color, Pattern, and Texture is key in a small space.  Don't go crazy!
     How/Why:  I want our space to feel inviting and warm so I am going to use a few pops of color, texture and pattern to do this.  Since it is such a small space, I don't want to overwhelm the room with tons of colors, textures, and patterns.  Instead, to create a little more personality in the space, I am planning on adding CONTROLLED pattern, texture and color.  At the moment, the room is mostly beige-y with a lot of raw medium/light toned wood.  So the textures I have so far are:  beige carpet, raw wood, and modern light brown wicker in 2 lounge chairs. I plan on adding a just 2 pops of color, probably in warm golden hues in pillows or other accessory objects.  The other color i want to use in the space is grey, but in a variety of textures and tones to create more layers in the space without feeling overwhelming.  I've got a cool grey knitted ottoman coming my way and I plan on creating a couch slip cover in a dark textured grey material.  A bold mix of 2 or 3 pillows in brighter colors will look great on a grey couch base.  And since the couch will look more masculine, a few colorful pillows will balance out the feminine and masculine in the room. 

5.  Define the Space, where does the living room end and the dining room begin?
     How/Why:  To define the living room space, I plan on getting a high contrast large rug with a large pattern in bold but still neutral tones like black and creme (since our dining area is basically in the same area, it will help to define the living room space.)  Picking out a pattern that is larger will help to keep your eyes moving around the space, where a smaller pattern feels a little more cluttered in a small space.  Here is where I need to make sure that the pattern isn't too girly as well.  Since it will be a dominant feature of the room because of it's high contrast, I'll need to stick with something a little more geometric or tribal to make the space still feel evenly attractive to dudes and gals.

Do you have any tips and tricks for decorating a small space?  I really dig the video above by Emily Henderson in which she gives some great tips on how to bring in those patterns and pops of color through pillows and throw blankets.  I'm going to follow her lead when it comes to last steps of accessorizing our space!


Allie said...

Josh is moving into my place in a month! I'm so excited. He's also letting me be the main decorator, although I feel like I've just got to tone down the girliness that's already in place

Moorea Seal said...

EEK! That is so exciting :) I'm so happy for you! We are both in exciting new stages of our lives! Man, Josh is such a sweet guy I'm sure he'll be cool with however you add new flava to your space.
See you tonight!
xo Moorea

Miss Kait said...

This couldn't have come at a better time for me! :) Thanks for sharing

Rachel Beyer said...

My boyfriend and I are moving in together too! (fingers crossed at the end of this month). He will definitely want to help with the decorating as he likes doing that kind of thing so it will be interesting to see how we decide to mix our styles together.

Moorea Seal said...

Awesome! I hope it helps! re-decorating is so much easier when you create guidelines for yourself. :)

Moorea Seal said...

Have fun with the move! I am SO happy in our new little space together :)