5 of my best small space hacks

photo credit: Ellie Lillstrom

I remember this moment so well: I had officially closed on #mytinybungalow and, with keys in hand, went to check out my new home again. I walked through the front door and it hit me just how tiny the house was! Even as a renter, my loft had more square footage than my ‘new’ house. In that moment, it felt so daunting. Now that I’ve been in the space for over 2 years, I feel like I have this whole small space thing on lock! Throughout my small space journey, I’ve learned loads of tricks to make the space feel bigger and I wanted to share them with you.

5 of my best small space hacks:

Use flat paint on your ceiling.

While getting quotes to paint the living room, one of the painters suggested using flat paint for the ceiling. We ended up hiring him (hi, Tim!) and I can personally attest that this trick works! Flat paint helps to create the illusion of space and higher ceilings because it doesn’t reflect as much light as a satin finish. Now that I know this hack, I will never paint another ceiling with a satin or glossy finish again!

Mix in a few large pieces.

When I first moved in, I thought I could only furnish my house with small furniture. So I did… and it looked like dollhouse furniture. I ended up having to return most of what I had bought because it felt so awkward. There was no balance because everything felt like it was all the same size! To avoid this issue in your own home, I suggest selecting a few key pieces that are oversized or at least large, like a sofa or headboard (bonus points for an extra-tall headboard because that will draw your eye up and make the space feel bigger!). A large piece of furniture will help to anchor your room and make the overall floor plan and design feel thoughtful and curated.

5 of my best small space hacks including tips for how to paint your ceiling to make it feel taller, where to hang curtains, using dark paint in a small space, and more! #smallspaces #tinyhouse #tipsandtricks #fixerupper #smallhouse

photo credit: Ellie Lillstrom

Add in a pop wall.

As  evidenced in our dining room and bedroom, I am a big fan of pop walls! Whether it’s wallpaper or paint, I highly encourage you to trick the eye with a dark color or busy pattern. The reason this makes your space feel bigger is quite simple: basically, the eye has a hard time judging where a dark color ends and a shadow begins, so the space feels bigger. Once you’ve chosen your dark color or patterned wallpaper, make sure the items you put against it are lighter in color. For example, I placed our shiny gold bar cart in front of our navy blue wall in the dining room. The metallic surface bounces light and provides a nice contrast against the dark wall. It’s all about the mix of light and dark!

Hang your curtains high.

If you couldn’t tell already, small space living is all about tricking your eye. Another favorite trick of mine is to hang my curtains as close to the ceiling as possible — and always over the window trim! This will help to draw your eye upward and make your ceilings feel taller than they actually are. I also like when my curtains have a small puddle of excess fabric at the bottom. Just make sure it’s not too much!

5 of my best small space hacks including tips for how to paint your ceiling to make it feel taller, where to hang curtains, using dark paint in a small space, and more! #smallspaces #tinyhouse #tipsandtricks #fixerupper #smallhouse

photo credit: Jojotastic

Put everything away.

Bear with me on this one! I consider most household things to be visual noise. For example, I try to keep as little as possible on our kitchen counters because I simply don’t want to see it! That being said, I do still create vignettes on key surfaces in my home so that it doesn’t feel totally barren… but I’m very restrained with how I do it! I also make sure that every piece of furniture in my home provides storage as much as possible. The credenza you see above is where we store extra blankets and bedding because we don’t have a linen closet. I also store some of our winter clothing in there during warm months by compressing it with these vacuum bags!

I’d love to know what other small space hacks have worked for you! Let me know your best tips and tricks down in the comments.

p.s. get even more small space tips here!

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest digital influencer and former textile designer with an eye for beautiful things. Jojotastic is a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress home, interior styling, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style.

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