Courtney Warren is a Texas-based interior designer whose work has been featured in Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Apartment Therapy, and Today.com. She is a frequent consultant on Fox 4 TV’s Good Day program in Dallas, was ranked in the top 3 percent of interior designers in the US by Houzz.com, and starred in the Dallas episode of TLC’sFour Houses. She delights in helping overwhelmed clients create beautiful spaces—and will never turn down a warm chocolate chip cookie or Diet Dr Pepper.
It’s true that a small space = less square footage.
But, just because it’s small–doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice style and design.
Here’s how to pack personality into a small space.
There’s an old saying that small rooms will feel smaller with darker paint colors. This isn’t always the case. Choosing a darker color for a small space can have the opposite effect.
Color has power. It can instantly lift a space’s mood and design.
This is especially true in powder rooms, bedrooms, or office spaces.
We always gravitate towards dark shades of blue. Based on color psychology, blue tones promote clarity and pureness.
Top Tip: When choosing paint colors, always test them out first! Live with the sample for a few days. How does it look paired with your furniture? In daytime? At night? Then, finalize your selection. Learn more tips on how to choose paint colors here.
Blue is the color of the sea and the sky.
It’s also a primary color on the color wheel.
See how blue adds a tranquillity touch to this guest bedroom (above) and gender-neutral nursery (below)?
If bold paint colors don’t feel like the best choice for you–try wallpaper instead. When selecting wallpaper, if it’s a smaller space–consider the scale of the pattern. You don’t want a super large printed wallpaper in a small space.
You can still try something fun, colorful, and bold.
Here’s a living room space we used wallpaper in:
Nothing too thin or thick–something just right.
Now this striped accent wall adds character to this living space.
Here’s another space where we used a bright blue wallpaper with a playful pattern in a powder room. How many animals do you see?
Top tip: If you want something calmer, try a wallpaper that has softer colors (light blue, pastels, etc). This way, even a patterned wallpaper will feel restful.
If wallpaper feels like a trend of the past, and you’d rather keep your walls neutral– there’s another way to add character to your space too.
Upgrade the architectural elements in your home:
Check out a few examples below of how we spruced up small spaces just by focusing on the architectural elements:
We created a custom herringbone wooden pattern in this entryway (instead of adding beadboard or traditional wainscotting).
With teal, oak, and walnut wood color tones.
You’ll also notice the stunning white brick arch.
And on the right side, a rustic door perfect for a classic farmhouse finish.
Next, we placed crown molding on this tray ceiling for more personality and added wooden paneling in the center.
Above all else, lighting is one great thing you should always focus on.
Take a look at this office! This workspace is fit to work. And it has all three elements–a bold green color, a floral wallpapered accent wall, and two lovely light fixtures.
This home office is a surefire way to get anyone’s creative juices flowin’.
A fabulous light fixture brings a room to life and adds function. It’s also a fairly quick and budget-friendly fix (and doesn’t require any renovation).
It’s important to add what makes you feel good in the spaces your style.
Don’t get too caught up on what matches. Or what fits interior design trends. If you love a certain art piece, your space will embrace it too!
So, whether it’s adding vintage pieces or putting your hobby on display, there’s a way to spice up a dull space for everyone.
Here, we used our client’s vintage plates as a dining room focal point against a dark gray wall.
Which design tips will you try as you design your small spaces?
I offer a complimentary, no-strings-attached phone call consultation. We can also consult by video conference. If you’d like to meet at your home, please know we will use all current safety protocols.
Right now, we’re also offering E-Design. Find the details here!