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Top Design Mistakes to Avoid When Decorating a Small Space

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

When I got asked recently to be part of Redfin's article, "Experts Reveal the Top Design Mistakes to Avoid When Decorating a Small Space." I was told that I only needed to send them only ONE common mistake I notice when styling small spaces and how I work around that to maximize a home's layout. Well, I couldn't just stop at writing only one tip, so I wanted to make sure I shared my top 6 interior design mistakes to avoid when you are decorating your small space.

I love working with small spaces - they can be so cozy and inviting when done right. I've had a lot of practice as most of my home projects have been in old historic buildings or homes built around the 1920's where there were no McMansions with daunting overly large spaces to try and fill up.

Alright, let's get to are my Top 6 Design Tips to make your Small Space Feel Bigger!

  • Ditch the Ceiling Fan and use a Statement-Making Chandelier Instead: Give a reason for the eye to move upward! A beautiful chandelier will add drama and keep the eye moving around the space. Consider using one with natural woven rattan or bamboo to give a warm glow and cast depth-creating decorative patterns into your space.

  • Open Shelving is Not Your Friend: Sure, open shelving looks fantastic when perfectly styled, but you need to really ask yourself if you can sacrifice the storage space needed to keep it looking polished every single day. Concealing your clutter is one of the quickest ways to make a small space feel larger. Try a piece with a mix of open and closed storage to reduce clutter and show off your personality.

  • The 90’s Called and Want Their Furniture Sets Back: Repeat after me, symmetry and balance are your allies. However, this does not mean you purchase all the pieces in the furniture set that is being sold together. This over-the-top matchy-matchy look is boring, predictable and causes the eye to stop wandering. Not good for small spaces. Instead, pick two small armchairs or two table lamps that match for a subtle nod to balance.

  • Say Goodbye to Bulky and Hello to Low-Profile, Open-Leg Furniture: Fake extra square footage by using low-profile furniture with open legs to allow the space to breathe by giving the eye a peek at the floor. Bulky, overstuffed dark furniture can stop the eye and weigh down the space by giving a true definition of the room size instead of creating depth by blurring the edges.

  • Forgetting to Reflect the Light and Space: Reflect natural light and create much-needed depth with a large chic framed mirror. This mirror trick works either hung or leaning up against a wall. This tip works just like large-scale artwork to make your space appear bigger, but perfect for couples that have a hard time deciding on the perfect piece.

  • Not Using Large-Scale Items in a Small Space: It might seem counterintuitive, but certain large-scale items, including plants, mirrors, and art, help create the illusion of additional space. If everything is the same scale your space won’t have the variation in-depth to create grandeur. A large-scale art piece will look fantastic over a low-profile, open-legged couch, giving a sense of character and intrigue while also pulling the eye up.


M x Reed Studio - Meghan Reed Marketing Website Design St. Charles MO

"Hi, I'm Meghan Reed! I'm a St. Louis-based marketing consultant + creative that is passionate about helping entrepreneurs unlock success with website design, business coaching, strategy, copywriting, branding and logo creation, plus so much more! Check out everything I can do at M x Reed Studio to help your business reach it's goals quickly!"

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