Decor styles perfect for small spaces

Kacey Mya
5 min read

You don’t have to choose uncomfortably compact furniture or boring neutral colours to enhance small living spaces. There are so many different ways to add interest, wow-factor and comfort to small spaces without your decor being cramped or overwhelming to the eye.

 For sale: 4 Pine Street, Newtown, NSW For sale: 4 Pine Street, Newtown, NSW

The key to successfully decorating a small space is to focus on function, your needs and personal taste while considering tried and tested decor styles for inspiration. These five decor styles are the perfect kicking off point for making over small spaces.

1. Minimalist

When you move into a small home space becomes precious. This will make you question, do I really need all this clutter? Minimalism style centres on only keeping items that bring you joy and serve a purpose. So throw out, giveaway and donate all your extra stuff.

Also part of the trend is to upcycle and repurpose old disused items. Try thinking outside of the traditional decor box when setting up your environment.

 For sale: 103 Wilson Street, Newtown, NSW For sale: 103 Wilson Street, Newtown, NSW

Create your own furniture out of untreated pallet wood, from a bed frame, coffee table to patio furniture. Use pallet wood to create an accent wall, or to form an attractive headboard for a bed.

 52 Nidjalla Loop, Swanbourne, WA 52 Nidjalla Loop, Swanbourne, WA

Choose pieces of furniture that have a low impact on the environment and serve a dual purpose. Use a table or bed that folds out from a bookshelf or wall cabinetry, for example.

 For sale: 14 Pleasant Avenue, Erskineville, NSW For sale: 14 Pleasant Avenue, Erskineville, NSW

2. Modern

Modern style places a primary focus on clean lines, geometric shapes and the use of space. Colour blocking adds interest as does geometric scandi-inspired pieces you may find at Ikea or similar homewares stores.

 For sale: 4404/6 Alexandra Drive, Camperdown, NSW For sale: 4404/6 Alexandra Drive, Camperdown, NSW

To add width to an area, let a line of small pieces of art draw the eye across the room. The same trick can be done with furniture. Emphasise high ceilings, or give the illusion of long walls, by letting dramatic voluminous curtains sweep the length of your window.

3. Shabby-chic

Shabby-chic is trending for a reason at the heart of postmodern design, combining the best of common sense design with a creative and glamorous touch.

The marriage of tattered and graceful decor creates a comforting, romantic atmosphere. Open up areas and add a chic feel to your small space by painting the walls a lighter colour, with bright white, cream, pastel colours and layered paint effects. Romantic features, such as ornate mirrors open a room or linen covered surfaces, are characteristic of shabby-chic decor.

 For sale: 84 Day Street, Leichhardt, NSW For sale: 84 Day Street, Leichhardt, NSW

4. Country

In older days, the kitchen was the centre of the household as families prepared meals together, yet the ‘need’ for thousands of kitchen gadgets and gizmos take up space. The return to simple living embraces warm earth tones, and functional furniture and items with practical use.

For the kitchen, let lace curtains open up the room as light shines through. Remove the doors from the pantry and show off your mason jars full of jams, raw ingredients and pickled vegetables on shelves. Hang pots and pans chef style from ceiling hooks, walls or inside the cabinets.

Turn your kitchen island into the dining table, inviting family and friends in to cook and sup with you in a multipurpose space.

In country living, collected knick-knacks also add interest. Make a unified look and reduce the appearance of clutter by organising the items by type, size or colour on a floating shelf.

 For sale: 8 Trade Street, Newtown, NSW For sale: 8 Trade Street, Newtown, NSW

5. Retro

The return to retro style is typically focused around appliances and furniture. From a rotary telephone in the living room to a brightly coloured fifties fridge, these appliances make mundane everyday activities charming and vibrant.

Add a pop of colour to your kitchen with a 50s style Smeg refrigerator in your kitchen. At only 24 inches in width, Smeg fridges help make the most of a small kitchen by saving you a foot or more of space.

Many retro or vintage inspired pieces add a focal point to any room, with interesting geometry, bright colours and various patterns typical of designs.

Add personality with a bright and quirky oversized piece of pop art. Place a long, vibrantly coloured ottoman by a window and toss a patterned throw over it to draw the eye toward the open windows to enlarge the space.

 For sale: 79 Cecily Street, Lindfield, NSW For sale: 79 Cecily Street, Lindfield, NSW

While minimalism encourages you to declutter and focus on function, it also inspires you to upcycle and repurpose. Modern decor and shabby-chic styles add interesting lines, shape and comfort to your small space. Country and retro styles remind you to keep your space practical but not without personality.

It’s okay to cherry-pick from each of these decor styles, as long as your personality shines in your space. You don’t have to lose space to gain interest, or sacrifice personality just to comfortably move around. Small spaces are the most economic and stylish to decorate and is a chance to showcase just how creative you are.

For more advice to make a small home work for you check out the best pool designs for small backyards, how to make a small bathroom feel bigger and the pros and cons of compact apartment living.

Kacey Mya
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!

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