Twelve Design Tips For Small Spaces

1) DESIGN WITH INTENTION
A cluttered, haphazard space plan will pronounce just how small a space really is. Take stock of the larger pieces you love and place them in focal areas, allowing them to claim the attention they deserve. Do not be afraid of pieces with character – exploit them.

2) MIRRORS OPEN AN AREA UP
The reflection of a room at different angles helps draw attention to items in the room which might otherwise go undetected. The reflection from mirrored surfaces also gives the illusion of a more spacious interior. Hint: place big mirrors opposite one another to enlarge a small space.

3) LIGHT IS YOUR FRIEND
Using many small sources of light adds a dramatic flair and will accentuate a room's depth. Light makes everything brighter which makes everything feel larger. Try to use at least three sources of light in a room to balance the light through the space. Keep the lighting warm & inviting.

4) CREATE PERSPECTIVE
In seeing one room from another you create a more entertaining and engaging space. Use of lateral accents such as stripes on a wall not only bringing the rooms together but also accentuate the volume of the room. Keep colors and transitions harmonious so that the areas flow together seamlessly.

5) DOORS ARE BARRIERS
Replacing them with light flowing curtains is an alternative. This not only creates interest, but it will allow you to insert a splash of color or personality. Dare to let your creativity shine through.

6) EVERY PIECE COUNTS
In a small space every item will be noticed and every item needs to function well. Consider a buffet that also acts as a room divider or an ottoman that serves as your cocktail table. Each piece should be carefully selected with function in mind.

7) FURNITURE WITH "READ THROUGH"
A ladder back or slat back chair versus a fully upholstered back allows light through, creating a room with a more open feeling. The same idea applies to Lucite or glass, which provide an unobstructed view and can open up the whole room.

8) CREATE YOUR OWN "VIEW"
Consider using a niche if you can not put in a window. A niche allows you to display art or a sculpture and can be perceived as a "view" and a point of interest. An architectural niche provides an empty frame beginning to be filled with your own "view".

9) ATTENTION TO DETAIL MAKES UP FOR LACK OF KITCHEN SPACE
Good design solutions may lie hidden in the architectural details & materials used in a kitchen. Glass or high-glazed ceramic tiles bounce light and will add color & pattern. Stainless steel appliances, glass cabinet door fronts & decorative hardware are excellent choices to create a lovely, detailed composition.

10) BIG ART CAN BE YOUR FRIEND
A misconception is that a small space can only use small art. This is simply not true! Oversized art can open up a room and help to create another "view", even if there is none. Think big in a small space.

11) THE RULE OF THREE
Monochromatic color schemes can be dramatic when done correctly. It is crucial to choose at least three shades of the same color in order to effectively create a stunning environment. The same goes for grouping accessories or a series of art. Three's never a crowd!

12) WINDOWS ARE THE EYES TO THE WORLD
In a small space, it is best to keep it simple. To give the illusion of height, hang draperies from poles mounted as close to the ceiling as possible. Banish fussy window treatments from small rooms and instead hang simple panels or a crisp Roman shade. Be careful not to obstruct too much of the window opening and keep in mind technique # 3.

Trust your instincts and have fun! Do not forget that the space should be a reflection of you and your personal style, no matter the size.

Michele Coseo is the Principal of Savannah Design Group, an interior design firm located in the San Diego area. Since 1998 Savannah Design Group has been merchandising model homes for some of the finest builders in the country. Savannah Design offers exceptional residential and commercial design services to their clientele.