Building & Renovating

10 Things You Never Thought You Could Do In A Small Space

Whether it’s a studio, a one-bedroom unit, or a loft-type home, there’s a lot you can do to make it your own

Photography: Dairy Darilag and Paolo Feliciano (Main Photos)

We have to admit, there’s nothing wrong about playing it safe—from choosing clothes to ordering desserts—it’s better to stick to whatever you think will work. In a way, the same rule applies when it comes to decorating the home. We know about the magic of mirrors and how light colors can make a compact unit feel more airy—prompting us to follow these down to a T. But have you ever considered going out of these comfort zones?

Finalizing the look of a space is a continuous trial-and-error process that would require you to be brave and experiment. If you’ve recently moved into a new home, we’ve listed down a few must-dos that would encourage you to be bold when it comes to improving it. Only one rule applies when it comes to this list: have fun!

1. Use dark colors

Who knew shades of blue and even black can work well in a compact unit? These colors can add depth and even set the mood in your home. Get started with a deep shade of blue then pair it with light-colored furnishings to achieve balance.

2. Build a pocket garden

You don't need a big area to start a Zen spot where you can tend to a few plants and add an extra seating corner. Whether it's an indoor oasis or a mini paradise out in the balcony—feel free to care for herbs, succulents, and even ornamental plants.

READ: How to Build A Pocket Garden For P5,000 or Less

3. Relax yet still have a place for work

Those who are working with small spaces are sometimes faced with the challenge of prioritizing certain areas. Are you building an extra sleeping space or carving out a mini home office? Achieve both with proper layout and the right pieces. Install a wall-mounted desk and pair it with sleek chairs. The other side of a room can accommodate a sofa bed or a daybed.

4. Display your collections and the things you love

Keeping your precious books and collectibles inside drawers and cabinets? You can still showcase these without causing clutter by carefully arranging them on shelves. Follow a system when displaying books and use your other favorite items as decor for your shelves. Pick a few to put on display and keep the rest neatly stored.

READ: 5 Ways to Organize Your Library at Home

5. Make a statement

While your home's overall theme and look is quite a statement on it's own, you can add an element that would instantly capture the attention of guests. Consider having wooden panels as accent, beveled mirrors, or even a brick wall! A brick wall can be an accent detail in the living area, bedroom, or even in the dining nook.

READ: Working With Bricks At Home

6. Experiment and play with patterns

How many times have you seen vertical and horizontal stripes in the homes you've visited? While these are common solutions to make a small room feel and look bigger, you may want to play around with a chevron pattern. Using different colors, draw this pattern on your bedroom wall to liven it up. You can also have fun with polka dots and paint splatters to add character to your room.

7. Maximize a pretty dining area

Transform a plain dining nook into a quaint spot where you can enjoy good food with friends. A pair of lovely dining chairs and a bench can make it more welcoming. You can also take inspiration from the dining area above. Instead of a plain wall, the owners installed a faux window and added a blown-up sticker of a busy street in New York.

8. Enjoy a bathroom that stands out

Why settle for a plain T&B when you can have one that would remind you of a five-star hotel room? Invest in chic fixtures, have mood lighting, and keep your toiletries in woven baskets or a pretty shelf for a sophisticated feel.

9. Get creative with wall decor

Give the classic gallery wall a break by working with colorful frames, decor, and cardboard animal heads. There are various accessories you can use and the photo above can be your peg when it comes to finalizing the look.

10. Bring in a huge furniture piece

Contrary to popular belief, you can furnish your space with the sofa and bed that you like. Arranging your furniture and having a proper layout that maximizes the space can help you. Ensure an efficient traffic flow by placing the seating pieces against the wall. You can also bring in a slim center table that would enable you and your guests to move around freely.

READ: Furniture Arrangement 101

Find more design ideas for your home and be inspired to give your space a makeover when you grab a copy of Real Living's Real Home Ideas 9: 25 Condo Makeovers—out now in bookstores and newsstands nationwide. You can also download a digital copy via Summit Newsstand.

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