Tips and Guides

Small Space Designer Tips

Two designers share important reminders when dealing with small homes


We all want to make the most of small spaces. Remember, you can live large even in a limited space. Interior designers Kristine Neri-Magturo and Wilmer Lopez share handy hints that you can easily apply at home.

Photographed by Louie Aguinaldo, Rene Mejia, Miguel Nacianceno, and Jun Pinzon.

Read the original article in the November 2012 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

Get rid of items you don’t need.

"Purge. The best space-saving strategies and visual tricks lose all their power if you simply have too much stuff," shares interior designer Kristine Neri-Magturo. Use the opportunity to make extra money by selling your items online or by having a garage sale. You may also give away some of the items to your relatives or favorite charity.

Choose your pieces wisely.

“The most basic furniture pieces will be the backbone of a small space so choose your bed and dining table well. If you like entertaining, choose multipurpose pieces like a table that can double as a place for gathering and working,” says interior designer Wilmer Lopez of W. Lopez Designs.

Kristine agrees, “Furniture with glass or mirrors stretch the room and can reflect focal points such as a beautiful dining table, bed, or outside window view. Chairs and sofas featuring thinner arms and legs allow the line of sight to pass through and beyond the pice, creating the perception of a bigger space.”

Find storage in every piece, nook, and cranny.

“Furniture with hidden storage spaces – like ottomans with lids and bed boxes with seamless drawers, utilize space vertically without adding to the amount of pieces in a room,” says Kristine.

“Use an entire wall from floor to ceiling to maximize the vertical space. Industrial style is now coming back and this style is open to a lot of storage solution ideas. Use suspend pipes as overhanging storage where you could keep things that you don’t use everyday like, luggage, bike, and even furniture,” Wilmer suggests.

Light palettes are ideal, but dark colors are still allowed.

“Pale, soft, neutral colors of white or cream give a light and airy feel. Light blues or greens also open up a room while expressing more personality,” Kristine suggests.

If you prefer dark colors, it can be used as an accent wall to give an illusion of depth, which is a misconception to the thinking that dark colors make the space smaller,” adds Wilmer.

Furnish a small space with fewer – even if they’re a bit bigger – pieces that actually work.

“Sometimes, using fewer, large pieces when decorating small spaces can actually make a room look bigger. A large painting expands a wall more than several small ones. Choose the focal point of each room, make it special with the right accessories, and allow the rest of the room to breathe with lots of open floor and wall space,” advises Kristine.


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