One of the most common questions we get at Raumtastik is how to design small spaces as effectively as possible while making the place look appealing and well beautiful at the same time. A smart design can significantly improve the functionality of small single- or multi-purpose spaces like studio flats, and add an extra dimension making the room look bigger, more versatile and more complete. We asked our designers for some practical advice on how to create the ideal interior design for small spaces. Here are the first tips in our design for small spaces series.

Open plan living room. 3D render by Raumtastik

Think functionality, measure wisely

A first and crucial step is to clearly define the functions the space will need to fulfill. Ask yourself questions about how you plan to use the room. If multiple functions are required, try to map out how each of these would be implemented across the available floor and wall space. Don’t forget that in this exercise your walls are just as valuable a dimension to consider as the floor space. Think carefully about which elements like furniture or other practical and decorative items you need in each section. List every item and allocate a spot for them in the available space. Draw it out to see if it all fits. You don’t need to be a professional and it’s ok if your drawing or plan isn’t 100% millimeter-accurate. When choosing your furniture think size as well as shape. For example; a round table can be a better fit for the dining area than a rectangular one because it allows for smoother movement of people around it if there is little free space available. Try multiple setups and scenarios and play around with them until you have found the ideal setting that covers all your needs (and wishes). Asking the types of questions mentioned so far will also help you identify your specific problem areas, and help to find viable solutions before you start purchasing furniture. Having a plan and focus and avoiding mis-purchases will ultimately save you time and money.

Studio apartment. 3D render by Raumtastik

Colours and textures matter

Having a small space doesn't mean it has to be a white box. You can still go bold with color and embrace the size of the room or apartment. Whereas many people tend to believe small spaces should be kept white to make them look bigger, the opposite can be true. A darker shade on the walls and ceiling (especially when there is not much natural light) can make the eye lose the perception of corners resulting in the room looking larger. If you do have a lot of natural light coming in, you can keep it light and neutral, but colour details can brighten up and visually enlarge the space. It is important to make sure to add a variety of textures to keep the place from falling flat. Textures, patterns and colours and especially the interplay of all those elements can really make a room look a lot more interesting. Maintaining variety and creating an element of surprise makes the space seem bigger, more interesting and more versatile. Be careful however. Throwing just anything together can result in a ‘hot mess’ and make the place look cluttered or overloaded in which case the opposite effect will be achieved: a smaller and dysfunctional looking room. Which colours, textures, prints and formats fit well together? One tip here is to select a design style and follow the guiding principles that style indicates. Do some research on which styles are out there and what they stand for. It will facilitate your efforts significantly. Choosing a design style will make your life much easier by narrowing down your choices for furniture, decoration items, colours, and more to a certain set of options that will fit well together quite easily. Design styles also help create a specific atmosphere or setting. Once you have selected your style it is a good idea to create a little moodboard for yourself and add images of the items you wish to put together and see if they ‘fit, or fight’, before actually making the purchases.

Studio apartment. 3D render by Raumtastik

Keep it clever!

Some very practical considerations can go far in helping you design and use the space as optimally as possible. Clever usage of the space in all its dimensions will virtually make the space bigger, more functional, more pleasant and also more aesthetically pleasing. Some tips include: 

- Be realistic and cohesive. There are only so many things to look at in a small space, so make sure they all fit. Stick to a limited selection of colors, whether light and fresh or dark and theatrical. Looking at all the items with an editor's eye will help make sure pieces really belong with one another and keep the space from looking too cluttered. 

- Mirrors. It's the oldest trick in the book: mirrors will make your space feel larger, lighter and airier!

- Mount your TV on the wall. Media consoles are the biggest waste of space in a small living room. Mount your TV on the wall or above a fireplace (if you are lucky enough to have one) and you will gain necessary space.

- Don't use smaller furniture. It might seem odd, but outfitting a small space with just a few large-scale pieces (rather than many small size furniture) can actually make it feel bigger. Also, if you can, avoid pushing all your furniture against the walls. Creating space behind the furniture, will make the room wider than it really is.

- Choose the right sized rug. A rug is the one item you definitely do not want to skimp on, size-wise. A tiny rug will make the room feel equally small. Pick a rug large enough so most of the furniture will sit on it.

- Storage. There are so many great storage solutions out there that also serve as beautiful pieces of decor. Choose furniture items that provide you with additional storage solutions, like ottomans that can store linens and under the bed storage that looks like cool cabinetry. Try to find ways to store items without just shoving everything into a closet. 

Small attic apartment. Design by Raumtastik

Get inspired

Having a hard time imagining everything and picturing what the advice you just read means? The best thing to do is find some visual inspiration! Have a look at some cleverly designed small spaces online or in interior design magazines. To get you started we created a Pinterest board for you here. Look for examples of spaces that harbour the same functions and uses as you want to incorporate into your own space.

Work with a professional

We know it all sounds more simple than it really is. If you feel like you could need some affordable professional help then come talk to the Raumtastik team. Our professional designers will create the perfect interior design solution that provides the optimal balance between looks and functionality.

Start your project today with Raumtastik!