Small Space Tips

Design | Small Space Tips for Living Large

Its no secret, I live in (what is considered) a small space. BUT at 775 square feet, my condo is one of the largest spaces I have had since moving to Toronto. I don’t see small spaces as a challenge. I see them as an opportunity.

Small Space Tips from Janette Ewen

So many people assume that minimal décor and minimal furniture will make a small space feel larger. This isn’t true!! Think of all the gorgeous tiny apartments in Paris, would these spaces ever be anything but ornately decorated? Wallpaper, textiles, rugs and tons of accessories will complete your small space and fill it with life and character. Many large spaces can never achieve this!

Small Space Tips

Since you don’t need tons of furnishings in a small space, you can buy the best of everything! Shop for quality (since quantity is not an option). I love all of my furniture, I have a living room set that is ornate but very tailored. Tailored, simple furniture doesn’t require a lot of visual space and always looks tidy. I also have lots of Lucite furniture and mirrored furniture (from Kartell), both of these finishes look weightless in a room as they either visually disappear or reflect. Here are some samples…

Small Space Tips, Furniture

Another one of my favourite space saving (but really stylish) additions is the Sapien bookshelf from Design Within Reach. I have the tall, white version stacked with design and fashion books. It’s tucked in an otherwise useless nook and hides my electrical panel. This is what they look like…

Small Space Tips Sapien Bookcase

Here are a few more small space decorating tips:


Small Space Tips Light

You can get more natural light by removing overdone drapes and keeping window coverings chic and simple, or if you want something grander consider a single swag drape that is ornamental (but stylish) and still lets plenty of natural light in (this is what I have in my loft). This look also makes rooms and windows look bigger. It’s quite dramatic and draws the eye out and up.


Small Space Tips Black Paint

Black walls or a ceiling can create visual space in a room – by painting walls or a ceiling with black matte paint you can create drama and make the walls appear to disappear!


Small Space Tips Kitchen

Glossy kitchen cabinets reflect light and make a small space kitchen look modern, stylish and roomy. Keep all kitchen cabinets simple (no detailing) it will allow the cabinets to blend into the wall.


Small Space Tips Wallpaper

Wallpaper can make a room look more complete – bare walls close a room in! Wallpaper is great especially when it comes to a small space bathroom. Give your powder room punch by wallpapering the space in a bold print. Wallpaper all the walls and ceiling to give a look of a jewelry box interior!

Small Space Tips Wallpaper

EVERY SPACE IS TO DECORATE: In a small space your work, play and eating spaces are all exposed – be sure to maximize your décor in these spaces. This includes arranging shelves in a stylish fashion, tucking loose papers and items into attractive storage boxes, buying pretty package items for your kitchen as they’ll be left out on a counter and using unconventional spaces for display (for example the top of kitchen cabinets- try some oversized vases or artwork here).

Janette Ewen Guest Blog





Check out Janette’s tips for work-play spaces for kids.  

Photo Source: Real Simple, BGH, Kartell, Design Within Reach, Houzz, Instagram/JanetteEwen


Janette Ewen

From her early start as a freelance stylist for high profile clients, Janette has always taken an experiential approach to creativity…”one must live it to create it.” It was this rebelliousness that enticed celebrity designer Ty Pennington to ask Janette to co-host his Canadian-based TV show "Inside the Box." Janette can also be seen regularly on national shows in Canada including "Cityline" and "Canada AM," as well as a design expert on "The Decorating Adventures of Ambrose Price" (VH1) and a judge on the series From the Ground Up (starring Debbie Travis). Today Janette is a partner at Parker Barrow creative studio, where she is “over the moon” to be designing and creating spaces and products that would find a happy home in her fast-paced, whimsical life.

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