The Interior Design Toronto Guide to Decorating Small Spaces

Today’s guest post comes from Carly Heung, owner of Toronto-based interior decorating firm 1smallspace.

Carly is well known around the GTA for her expertise in creating simple, modern and functional spaces. In addition to her decorating business, Carly writes about decorating small spaces in her blog and has been published in various media publications.

In today’s article, I convinced Carly to divulge some of her secrets to how she helps her clients make the most of their small spaces. Enjoy design nerds….

The Interior Design Toronto Guide to Decorating Small Spaces

Small space living has been a growing movement that started in the 2010s offering geographical benefits of convenience to urban activities and centers, a more efficient use of valuable time, as well as maintaining a minimalist lifestyle, freeing our minds from both physical and mental clutter. Small space living is becoming the new norm not only for young professionals, and couples, put for empty nesters and those who want to spend less running the errands required to maintain a house. It isn’t just about living a life of simplicity, but it is about loving what we have more, appreciating nature, and elevating our mental health and well-being. Who couldn’t use more of that?


When you have a small space, you’re not just dealing with sq feet but cubic feet so let’s explore our top 4 design tips that will help you maximize your small space:

1. Colours

Move away from dark and dramatic colours to light, airy neutral tones such as white, creams, beiges and grays. Paint your ceilings white to help create the effect that it has been lifted higher. Choose cool colours to create an effect of a larger space and avoid warm colours as they tend to make a space feel more cluttered. Limit colours in your space to a maximum of three to five. Choose floors that are in the pale woods, creams and greys family, as these are ideally suited to complement an open-concept and minimalist layout.

2. Lighting Sources

In a small space, the key to maximizing the appearance of space is to ensure appropriate lighting in the space. There are a few ways you can do this. Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors. Install mirrors on the wall perpendicular to the window to help reflect and spread additional light throughout your room or have a standing floor mirror. Choose furniture pieces that have metallic or reflective finishes (e.g., mirrored nightstands, metallic artwork with sheen, framed pieces with glass covers to reflect light, coffee tables or side tables in high-gloss white, glass dining tables with metal legs etc).

3. Multipurpose Furniture

Less is more. In a small space, having LESS furniture pieces will help you create the visual effect of MORE space and maintain your minimalist layout. One effective way to do this is to use furniture pieces that serve multiple purposes. (e.g., side table that doubles as an extra seating stool, instead of a coffee table use a soft ottoman as it can double as seating, desk that turns into an expandable dining table). It always helps when furniture pieces we pick have hidden storage as well (e.g., under the bed drawers, or hidden storage compartment in ottomans or in sofas).

4. Go Vertical

Think vertical and float items whenever possible. Take advantage of every inch between the floor and ceiling of your space. When the floor is exposed and items are floating off the floors and installed onto the walls, our minds think that those items are not visually occupying space. There are many ways you can do this. You can install floating cabinets or a custom made floor to ceiling storage unit (e.g., for pantry, in bedroom, or media unit). Use your wall. Float items by installing them on your wall leaving space beneath and your floors underneath exposed. (e.g., hang wall hooks, or floating shelves, sconce lighting fixtures). Another way to draw visual attention to the height of your space rather than the length or width is to hang items from the ceiling (e.g., hanging planter in the most visually distant corner of the room)


Last but not least, consult an expert to help you make the most of your small space because let’s face it, your time is valuable. There are many considerations that go into designing a small space and a designer is going to be in the best position to pull every trick in the hat to help you maximize your space to turn it into a cozy haven that embraces you from the busy chaos of city life. 

About 1smallspace

Carly Heung is the owner of Toronto-based interior decorating firm 1smallspace.

Carly’s expertise in creating simple, modern and functional spaces has made 1smallspace well known across the GTA. In addition to her decorating business, Carly writes about decorating small spaces in her blog and in various media publications.






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