Design Q&A: Tips for Small Spaces

Q: Tips for small spaces?

A: YEP. GOT EM. As a designer of 7 years, and a New Yorker of almost 8, I've helped sooo many friends and clients in shoebox apartments, + dealt with the atrocities "gifted" to us by NYC supers. Needless to say, I am very passionate and and a seasoned expert on the subject of small space...

Hope this is helpful all, here we go !


Most people don't like to hear this, but... I. Can't. Emphasize. It. Enough.

Even if you have the most beautiful furniture in the world, if your space is filled with piles of unfinished business, or cramped with too much in too many places, it becomes a verrrrry precarious job to get things to feel in balance.

Our culture often nudges us into fear that encourages acquirement. Fear that we're not prepared enough, cool enough, adult enough, etc without x, y, z. So ask yourself - how much of this fear is based in reality, and second, how much real estate are you willing to give it?

Note that this minimizing stuff is NOT a one time purge. It's a practice, one you will probably forget and remember several times over. Like all else. Amiright?

2... Thoughtful LAYOUT

OK - so you've paired back on the extra stuff. Phew, and well done! Now we can focus on the layout!

I like to think of this like a consolidation of different types of energy. OR at a base level - keep all the kitchen stuff in the kitchen, and all the bathroom stuff in the bathroom.

To go one step further - it means shifting your home to suit your specific needs. So, pay attention to how things feel when you do them. Do you hate working at your desk because it's stuffed into a dark corner? Do you rarely eat at your dining table because it's the landing pad for things that need sorting?

Looking at your most frequent patterns of being is crucial when considering your home layout. If things in your home feel off, I invite you to do some playful re-arranging. Keep an open mind, be patient, get weird! Look at it like an ever evolving process, not a presentation.


This one relates to the above but becomes ESSENTIAL in tight spaces.

Once you've assessed your patterns of being and tried some new layouts, see if it makes sense to buy some new pieces that do double or even triple duty to further problem solve.


If you need extra seats for happy hour in your living room, but you'd also love a footrest for when you're home with just you and your partner, but only have space for one? Why not get an upholstered Pouf that can be an ottoman, a chair, OR a side table ?

Just one example, but you get what I'm saying!

4... Maximize your STORAGE

As much as I try to acquire only the MOST multifunctional of items.. I still have plenty of sh** that is not "display worthy" and needs to be in a closet of sorts.

Treat your minimal closet space like a temple... or well oiled machine... whatever. But assess what goes inside and how best to store it. Marie Kondo on Netflix is a master of closets if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Don't have closets? There are other options! Beds with drawers! Shallow but tall cubby shelves for zen closet walls! And soo much more. I can't cover all solutions in one blog post, so i will end with my last tip...

5... Get CREATIVE + Breathe

No design solution is one size fits all. And as I like to say on repeat, there are no right or wrong answers! Don't be afraid to step outside the box or listen to your own intuition, especially if typical run-of-the-mill solutions aren't working.

It's hard to be creative under pressure though, which we can put ourselves under a LOT of. So this is my reminder to breathe, practice gratitude, and take things one step at a time.

If you're struggling through design woes on your own and haven't yet taken my Deeper Design Course, consider it! It's like design basics + design therapy in one, AND you get some one-on-one time with me to talk about your unique space :)

More details on the next course here!


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