design ramblings | decorating a small space

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Design Ramblings6 Comments

I just finished putting up the wallpaper in our upstairs bath, which is teeny-tiny, so decorating small spaces has been on my mind.  When I selected the mural from Anthropologie, I know I was breaking a “decorating rule”.  The one that says, “you shouldn’t use busy patterns in a small space.”  The funny thing about decorating rules is that amazing, well-known designers ignore, bend and break the rules all the time.  Who makes these rules, anyway?!  So, I just went with my gut on it and it looks really great.  I have been too swamped to get pictures, but I plan to snap a few early next week.

Since it was on my mind, small spaces are what we rambled about this week.  We had a special guest with us, too…  Laura from The Ironstone Nest came into town for a photography workshop we’re hosting at the studio tomorrow, so we asked her to join us and share her thoughts…

In the video, I mention one of my favorite small spaces – the Chapel Hill Loft (I think I call it the Chapel Loft in the video.)  Either way, it’s a beautiful example of fitting form and function into every little nook and cranny of a space.  I have had the privilege of staying there both times we were vendors at the Chapel Market.  Here are a few more pictures of the space which is a little smaller than a 2 car garage…



You can tour the entire place at The Lettered Cottage.

How do you decorate the small spaces in your home?

design ramblings | decorating a small space

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6 Comments on “design ramblings | decorating a small space”

  1. Kriste – when you were talking about strategically planning storage for a small house and using built-ins it made me think of Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s house in western PA. If you haven’t been there. That is a huge inspiration from a design perspective and I love all the built in furniture ideas he incorporated. I’d highly recommend a road trip. 🙂

  2. Laura’s comment about hanging curtains higher than the wood trim is a great tip and one that I use. It does make the room look bigger and the ceiling taller. I also like the suggestion of using build-ins in small spaces and not using over-sized furniture.

    I think another idea when you have a small space is creating a more open concept floor plan by removing walls when possible. I noticed on “Fixer-Upper” they are always removing walls to give the house a more open concept floor plan and therefore making the house appear bigger. Taller or cathedral ceilings also make a small house and space appear bigger.

  3. Hello All! (Nice to see Laura – my fellow WI-ite and MMS retailer).

    Great Advice, as always! I strongly believe in multi-functional pieces – buffets that can hold the t.v. on top and the other electronics inside, ottomans that have lids for secret storage, table tops that can fold down to the wall in very small kitchens. I use my antique cupboard to hold fabrics and sewing items – the glass top part lets me see what fabrics are in my “stash” and the solid door bottom holds the necessary items that aren’t pretty.

    We are actually looking at a move and looking at property with a garage with a guest quarter over it! I have already pinned CH cottage to steal ideas!!

  4. I agree that using smaller scale furniture in small spaces and looking for multifunctional pieces are great ideas. When I decorate small spaces (especially small homes, apartments and condos), for my clients, I use a unified color pallet (different shades of neutrrals like grays, beiges or whites) in all of the rooms to help blend the spaces together making it appear larger. It’s also great to keep the larger pieces of furniture in the same tones to help them blend into the walls then, add pops of color in accent pieces like a small stool, pillows or throws. Good lighting is a must and having a variety of light sources (ceiling lights, table lamps and floor lamps) helps to define and create a sense of different “rooms”.

  5. That was fun to watch! I have a small, dark, windowless hall bathroom that i am dying to put bold wallpaper in. I was thinking it would be too much, but now I’m totally motivated to do it. I’ve also seen a small bathroom done in a dark brownish black, with botanical butterfly prints on the wall that was just stunning. I like the unexpected – more fun that way! Breaking rules too!


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