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Living small is not the wave of the future, it’s the here and now. Millennials are transforming ideas about societal norms including discussions around how people live. The thought of taking up a lot of space no longer has the same appeal as Millennials are embracing the idea of living smaller. From the small house movement to the newfound acceptance of micro-apartments, this generation is making the small space work for them. 

Living in a tiny home or apartment requires the ability to make a seemingly tiny space seem larger by strategic design. Color, furniture type, and element placement will affect how big the small home feels. Overtime, as designers, we have discovered three significantly successful ways of providing maximum illusion for making a space appear larger.

Multifunctional pieces expand any floorplan

Every inch of the floorplan must be utilized in the most specific way possible. Multifunctional pieces will help maximize space with minimum effort. Think about bigger pieces in a different way, as a more efficient way to maximize space. For instance, increase the footprint of the bedroom by using a bed with storage built in. One may opt for a piece that includes shelving and storage built into the actual frame of the bed. Next, consider the space of a family room or living room. Consider breaking traditions with the expulsion of large pieces of furniture and employ space-saving nesting tables. Finally, for maximum storage, implement floating shelves or modular shelving to maintain an appropriate amount of storage space while using a smaller amount of floor space. These small substitutions support a smaller footprint and a smart, strategic use of space, while still providing the reinforcement needed to maintain a certain style of living.

Create an illusion

A small space doesn’t have to feel small. The key to a space feeling bigger is all about creating the absolute illusion. The right product will make the room work. Begin with a few simple design tricks and use finishing decor to expand the space. Windows are imperative to the feel of the space; how tight and restrictive it feels versus open and airy. Use windows to grow the space by hanging curtain rods slightly higher than the window and similar in color to the walls. This move will make the ceiling feels higher. Choose furniture that is similar in color to the walls. Additionally, when choosing furniture, focus on pieces that are made for small spaces, specifically items such as loveseats or apartment-sized sofas. In turn, the blending and tinier pieces keep the room from feeling enclosed and boxy. Finally, think about the way color affects a room. A room with less light should be painted a lighter color to make it feel airier, while a room with more light can go just a bit darker in the palette.

Bring the Outdoors In

Keeping with the theme of a light and airy room, consider growing a green thumb. Adding greenery to a space adds life to the room. Houseplants filter out harmful toxins and keep the air in your home feeling fresh. First-time or apprehensive gardeners may consider low maintenance plants such as succulents or even faux plants.

Also, don’t be afraid to get creative with the plant selection and display. Try adding a plant in a decorative pot to a windowsill; at the top of a bookcase in a terrarium; or hanging from the ceiling using a macramé plant holder. The key to keeping a space feeling open is to add houseplants with a small or nonexistent footprint.


As the idea of living smaller continues to play a more significant role for millennials, and views around the definition of ‘home’ are modified, finding ways to live better will remain at the forefront of the discussion. The three tips discussed will continue to support that conversation and prove successful in sparking your creativity and helping you think beyond square footage.

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