How to Decorate a Small Space

Basil & Turmeric | How to Decorate a Small Space

I have always been a city girl! I was born in Tehran the capital of Iran and when I was 10 years old, I moved to the US.  Well, more specifically, I moved to Northern, New Jersey (NJ).  I went to a College in Boston for 6 years and when I got married, we bought a four-bedroom house in NJ to be close to family.  Yes, I know you are probably wondering why this blog post is titled “How to Decorate a Small Space” but I’m getting there. 

After 5 years, we decided that the space was just too much house for only 2 people, and it was always my childhood dream to move to NYC.  So, we decided to move to 800 square feet apartment in Downtown NYC!  What we didn’t realize at the time was that it is extremely hard to go from a big space to a small space.  However, the good news is that with anything one can adjust.  Also, if you want something badly enough you will work for it.  Of course, I did just that.  I sold all our furniture and even our car prior to our move.  When we did move to our beautiful NYC apartment, we only had a bed and a small blanket that my sister had kindly made for me for my birthday. We used it for three months as a rug in our living room.  I had forgotten that when you order custom furniture especially around the holidays it takes time for it to arrive.

When you have a small space to decorate there are certain tips to keep in mind.  For example, you have to get creative with storage.  It was shocking to me that there were only three tiny closets in our apartment, and apparently this is a lot compared to most apartments.  I should also mention that we probably saw close to 20 before choosing this beautiful space to call home.  To add more storage space, pick a coffee table, console, or even shelves that offer this. 

Basil & Turmeric | How to Decorate a Small Space

As pictured above, we incorporated this concept with the Tanner Round Coffee Table from Pottery Barn. 

If you want your space to look larger, then aim to keep your larger furniture against the wall.  For example, as pictured above, we incorporated this concept by placing our sofa from Anthropologie against the wall. 

Try to Purchase furniture that have multi purposes.  For example, take the Rove Concepts crocheted ottoman (pictured above) this is a great piece of furniture as you can use it as an extra seat in your living room when you have guests, or to simply put up your feet when having tea at the end of the night. 

Something that makes decorating a small space fun is that you have the opportunity to go bold with colors and it will really stand out.  This really depends on your taste and style of course.  For us we chose blue and grey and that is why we chose the Velvet Navy Tillie Chair from Anthropologie (pictured below).

Basil & Turmeric | How to Decorate a Small Space

In 800 square feet floor space is prime real estate so if you want extra storage you have to be creative.  Don’t forget to use the alcoves and corners of your small space.  We incorporated this concept by installing floating shelves from Rejuvenation.  The best part about these shelves is that you can customize the brackets.  As for the shelf itself we went with the White Lacquer Shelves. 

Fortunately, our apartment has a lot of natural light.  However, I have still put the following tip to use to let there be more light as you can never have too much light especially in the Fall/Winter months by making use of mirrors.  Try placing a full-length mirror adjacent from a window.  If you don’t have a full-length mirror then use a wall mirror, place it right above your console.  The full-length mirror that we used to decorate our apartment with is the Infinity 24” Thin-Frame from CB2.  We used the Faceted Mirror that has an Emerald Cut from West Elm above the entry way console. 

As mentioned before, a console is a great way to add additional storage space to the entry way.  We chose the Wells Rattan Console from Serena & Lilly.  What I also loved from Serena & Lily are the Riviera Diamond Bins as you can put your scarves, gloves, and hats in the winter time in here and it fits perfectly on the bottom of the Console.  Of course, you can put anything in there to, for example if you want to use them for organizing toys or books for a play room these would be perfect.

Basil & Turmeric | How to Decorate a Small Space

As for the final tip to bring everything together remember to use a large rug as this will help to trick the eye to thinking that the small space is really bigger than it really is.  Try to opt for as large of a rug as you possibly can for your space.  We chose to go with the Jaipur Sandbox area rug as it has a subtle pattern and a vintage-chic vibe. 

Decorating a small space can be very enjoyable but be aware of clutter.  Choose timeless throw pillows that go with your color theme.  Also, keep in mind that there is a pillow formula and it all depends on the look you are going for. For example, are you going for a simple symmetry? then you will simply need 4 pillows (2 long lumbars and 2 short lumbars); or are you going for well layered and plush? In this case you will need 6 pillows (2 large squares, 2 smaller squares, 2 short lumbar).

We chose the Alpaca Pom-Pom Accent Sham, as well as the Textured Merino Wool Pillow Cover (you have to buy the pillow inserts separately) from Restoration Hardware.  We also chose the Eva Tassel Pillow Cover from Serena & Lily (again you have to buy the pillow insert separately).  If you are looking for the perfect throw that will last you season after season, then go with the Light Grey Faux Fur from CB2.  We have been loving this for 2 years now. 


Shop The Post


Ultimately, decorating a small space should be freeing in a sense because it will give you a chance to get  rid of many items that you did not need and perhaps did not even realize that you did not utilize over the years.  Make your space open and airy, incorporate flowers and plants and enjoy the design process!

Basil & Turmeric