The best design and styling tips for small homes

A stylish living room with a grey couch and a wooden table

Expert style tips from Temple & Webster will show you how to do more with less space to create the perfect ambience at home.

Furnishing and styling your home should be fun. But it’s not always easy. When your home is on the smaller side, restrictions on space can cause frustrations, but it shouldn’t hinder creativity. 

Luckily, Vanessa Colyer Tay, Temple & Webster Head of Styling – Creative, is on hand to share some simple touches that can go a long way when styling a small space.  

How to separate work life from home life in a small space

In the last year, we have all been spending more time at home than ever before. Working, eating, relaxing, sleeping – our homes have become a hybrid of the office and our refuge.

With so much time spent in the one small space for work and play, it can be tricky to have some visual separation between the two.

Introducing the ‘cloffice’.

The cloffice is an office or workspace inside cabinetry or a closet and is perfect for those living in smaller spaces with no spare rooms to transform into a study, Vanessa explains.

“The cloffice is the perfect opportunity to gain study space when there isn’t any. To make your very own cloffice, take out some of the lower shelves of an extra wide built-in cupboard to create space for a desk or make your own fold-out desk with some hinges and an extra piece of wood or shelf,” she says.

Maximising space in the bedroom

In a small bedroom, Vanessa suggests removing clutter to free up the space. Some simple swaps from grounded items to wall fixtures can help with this.

“Hang a pendant light above your bedside, freeing up the bedside table. Wall sconces will do the same thing,” Vanessa says.

She also recommends wall-hung shelves as a good storage alternative to bulky drawers, giving a more airy feel and keeping floorspace free.

Visual tricks to create the illusion of more space

When it comes to interior design, there are some failsafe tricks to open up a space visually through art and light. Vanessa advises to go big on artworks rather than overcrowding the space with numerous pieces.

“Although it may seem counter intuitive, a large artwork will work better in a small space than lots of small pieces, which can read as clutter. Do make sure the art is in proportion to the furniture it hangs above, and ensure it’s one you love,” she said.

Mirrors are an old favourite for small rooms as their reflective quality gives the illusion of more space.

Vanessa suggests seeking out Lucite, a type of perspex, or glass furniture and decor to allow for greater sightlines through the room.

“As a general rule, light and reflective materials will bounce more light around the room, resulting in an airier feel. Solid pieces, especially in dark colours, can overwhelm a small space.”

Visual space can also be introduced through considered furniture purchases. A sofa with legs, for example, is a better choice than one with a full skirt, Vanessa explains.

“This is because you can see air flow below the sofa, which enhances our perception of available space. You can repeat this theory in tables, coffee tables and arm chairs, too.”

Colours to suit small places

When you have little space to add furniture and decor, you might be tempted to go crazy on colour. But that wouldn’t be wise. Vanessa stresses that it’s important to “control” colour.

“We’re not saying everything has to be light or neutral, but we are in favour of limiting the colour palette in a small space, stopping it from feeling too ‘busy’.”

She advises to pick a colour scheme and stick with it. This will simplify decorating choices too. Colour can then be injected in carefully.

“If you want to infuse your small space with colour, choose it wisely – look for cues from existing artworks, decor or even repeat a colour from your window’s view. The repetition of colour will feel cohesive and purposeful.”

If you’re feeling inspired to get creative in your own space but also want to stay within your budget, BNPL can be a great way to do so.

You can shop Temple & Webster’s range on humm here.