Design hacks for small spaces

Compact homes are commonplace in the UK, it’s a fact. According to research undertaken by LABC Warranty, which provides warranties for new-build homes, the living rooms of newly built homes in Britain are nearly a third smaller than the equivalent homes built in the 1970s (1).

With house prices (83%) and housing quality (57%) at the top of UK housing concerns according to a 2018 Homeowner Survey (2) finding a home we can not only afford, but also fall in love with, really is a challenge.

To add to the predicament, as a nation we’re more style-conscious than ever when it comes to the humble abode. In recent years numerous interiors trends have swept the nation and we’ve happily obliged. Think back to the Great Hygee Rush of 2016, and the demand for all things cosy or the infamous 50 shades of grey, which not only caused a stir on the big screen but also in the homes of the majority of our nation as our chosen colour for interiors and decor.

The result? A burning question; how do I create a small space which is both functional and swoon-worthy. Here are a few tips…

think vertical

When square metres are lacking, think vertical. Make use of wall space for storage, decoration and lighting.

Shelving units not only provide essential storage, they also add depth to a room meaning a small space doesn’t need to be bland. Choose your shelves wisely and ensure they fit in with the overall aesthetic of the room. Don’t just choose the first plain old boring shelf you come across in your DIY store. Do your research online, Pinterest and Instagram are great for specific inspiration. For example, a simple ‘Industrial chic shelving’ search will bring up provide plenty of inspo. If budgets are tight, find a look you love and get browsing Gumtree or your local Facebook Marketplace for an upcycling project based upon your chosen piece of inspiration. Choose from modular, floating or a bookcase depending on your desired style and amount of storage required.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of Simon Whitmore

Wall-mounted lighting saves vital floor space and is very on-trend for 2019.

Breathe new life into previously neglected corners by adding hanging plants, either real or faux.


It’s the oldest trick in the interior design book, and there’s a reason for that. Strategically placed wall mirrors create the illusion of more space and really do work to reflect both natural and artificial light. Place a wall mirror close to, or opposite a window for maximum light-reflecting benefits and go large.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of The Everygirl

keep it neutral

When choosing paint for a small room it’s best to opt for neutral, light-reflecting hues and complement with accessories in your chosen colour. Neutral doesn’t necessarily mean white (or as it’s 2019 – grey!) as I recently wrote about in another blog post.

Light taupe, greige and warm honey are all up-to-date neutrals and look great when complemented by bold accent colours such as emerald green or deep rose.

Certain dark colours can work in a small space, but beware. Depending on the position of the room and amount of natural light, dark colours can make a small room feel oppressive. If in doubt, go bright and work in darker shades in the form of textiles and wall art.

Image courtesy of Avenue Lifestyle
Image courtesy of David Brittain

Functional furniture

When space is a luxury, furniture choices need to be savvy. A small living space needs to be carefully curated with multi-use, functional furniture. Wardrobes with sliding doors work well in the bedroom whilst ladder-style shelving which doubles up as an occasional work space are great for the living room.

Malvern Wardrobe with Sliding Doors, Cotswold Company £799
Ladder Shelf Unit, La Redoute £107.25
Flottebo Sofa bed with side table, Ikea £475


  1. The Guardian
  2. 2018 Homeowners Survey
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