best ofInteriors

13 Homes That Make the Most Out of Skimpy Square Footage

by Kelli Kehler

When you live in a small home, it goes without saying that space planning and organization are key. The size of a piece of furniture — or its placement — can make a space either feel cramped or deceptively spacious depending on the decorative path you choose.

Of course we here at Design*Sponge believe there are no rules in interior design, but we definitely champion the tricks and hacks that serve as tried and true ways to improve your home — especially when it comes to living in tight quarters. We’ve rounded up 13 homes that make their tiny spaces look anything but — and all of these homes are 800 square feet or less — to show that no matter your dwelling, you can make anything work. —Kelli

1/13
This Parisian apartment employs two effective space-saving tricks in the living space: glorious built-in shelving and a striking floor lamp. While the built-in shelving displays treasures to keep surfaces clear elsewhere, the floor lamp's strategy is twofold -- it creates interest and provides light without taking up precious space from placing a light source on a side table.
2/13
Function and organization are paramount in small spaces. In this 800-square-foot Nashville, TN home, a simple wooden peg rail provides a utilitarian design moment while housing necessary household items.
3/13
In Kansas City, a charming dining nook feels spacious in a 650-square-foot home. The key here is the circular table and more streamlined chairs -- they all let the room breathe because they take up less visual space.
4/13
In this 400-square-foot San Clemente, CA casita, an organizational solution provides a breathtaking design moment in the hallway. A neutral color palette with organic textures peppered in creates a cohesive look.
5/13
A fresh color palette keeps this Upper East Side, NYC home feeling open and airy. Placing art vertically parallel to the door and also above a tall, slender dresser carries the eye upward, creating a lofty sense in a tight space.
6/13
A small home's best friend: mirrors. Leela and Ryan stacked two mirrors on top of each other to make their 700-square-foot apartment feel larger. Mirrors also bounce light around a room, which can always create the illusion of it being more spacious than it is.
7/13
Less isn't always more in small homes. While the first reaction may be to use a minimalist approach to a cramped space, artfully layering in color and texture can be just as effective. This 400-square-foot NYC apartment has eye-catching details no matter where you look.
8/13
We can't talk about small-space living without mentioning Whitney Leigh Morris' Tiny Canal Cottage. One of her biggest tricks for enhancing her (362-square-foot) home's square footage is making the outdoor space feel just as livable as the indoors. Check out her Instagram feed for more ideas (and see how she has recently accommodated this cute home to welcome a new baby!).
9/13
Kate and Ellen make living in a 160-square-foot home -- an Airstream trailer, to be exact -- look spacious and so beautiful. In this iteration of their home on wheels, a light color palette brightens and enlarges the space visually, and dark hardwood floors work to lengthen and unify the trailer's small zones. This talented couple is at it again working to transform their next Airstream abode, and you can follow along here.
10/13
In Manhattan, Kiel's tiny studio doesn't run short of smart, attractive design choices. A wall sconce and mini wall ledge balance out the other side of his bed where space is nonexistent, creating visual harmony. Above, a functional pegboard is at once genius (no spackling holes when rearranging his gallery wall) and a great way to display many items without them cluttering surfaces in a small home.
11/13
Igor manages to pull off both streamlined, minimalist moments in his Munich, Germany apartment as well as corners where "more is more." Here, a sleek white dresser and simple circular mirror are offset by an abundant collection of plants and treasured vessels. This blending of aesthetics brings dimension to a small home.
12/13
In this small walk-up apartment, paint saves the day to create depth and add interest. From the kitchen area coated in a bright white paint, the bedroom is seen with a contrasting "Soot" by Benjamin Moore shade. The dark hue carries the eye through the space and tricks it to perceive the home as deeper and more expansive than it is.
13/13
Small homes greatly need their rooms to serve multiple functions. In this 500-square-foot San Francisco place, the space you see here serves as the living area, the dining room, and at-home office. By using smaller-scale furniture (that shallow desk is perfect!), all of those purposes can thrive in one area without feeling too cluttered.

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