House Therapy

Amanda‘s Tips for Designing Small Spaces

My top tips for decorating small rooms and bringing them to life.

1 The most important thing is to think exquisitely. Many people complain that their home is too small and don’t treat it well from the get-go. In Paris, I had an apartment of 385 sq. ft (36m2) and it was a perfect jewel box of a retreat. Small spaces demand delicate consideration and treatment. If you start with this attitude you will never dump too many bikes, old junk, ugly furniture and clutter in your home.

2 If you can’t store it, don’t bring it home. This means exquisite consideration of your purchases not mindless consumerism. This approach brings great pleasure and relief. Too much clutter saps your energy and destroys smaller homes, which feel flattened and overwhelmed by too many poorly chosen objects and lack of editing. You do not have to be a minimalist, but you have to accept the capacity your home has. You can always tell when a home of any size has been tipped into the ‘congested zone’.

3 All homes are refreshed from the editing of objects, clothes and books, but small spaces benefit most.

4 Think cubically. Build kitchen units and wardrobes up to the ceiling. Wardrobes should take up the maximum width possible and sliding doors help with flow if space is tight.

5 Keep floors clear by having hooks for coats, dressing gowns, facecloths, kitchen towels etc. Along with editing, this promotes flow and prevents the dreaded ‘congealed space’ feel.

6 You can build cupboards over radiator cabinets to house cosmetics as shallow shelves work perfectly.

7 Small does not have to mean basic and there is much to be said for less square footage but more luxury. Invest in the best quality of all basics. Your mattress, bed linen, towels, handwash, plates and cooking equipment can be as beautiful as anyone who has a ten bedroom mansion.

8 Invest in flow. Ensure all your coat hangers match – always return wire hangers to the dry cleaners as they have no place in anyone’s wardrobe. Don’t squeeze pots and pans into spaces that clearly cannot accommodate them. Make sure hallways and landings are clear. Launder regularly, do not wait until you have a ‘full load’.

9 Introduce more grace – keep your home clean and tidy – it will be very easy if you have invested in flow and aren’t overwhelmed and drained with clutter. Light beautiful scented candles, enjoy bunches of fresh flowers, play classical music, delight in your harmonious space and wait for the compliments on your exquisite bijou home to pour in. I guarantee they will.