The 7 Small Space Mistakes You Don’t Realize You’re Making — & How To Avoid Them

When it comes to small space living, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. To be fair, it mostly comes from a place of good intentions — you can take solace in the fact that nobody’s trying to sabotage your pint-sized home makeover. But what works for a cozy dorm room may not shine in 400-square-foot NYC apartment, just like what flatters a refurbished basement unit may not be the thing for a rustic Los Angeles bungalow. Small spaces, while they share in common their diminutive size, are often otherwise very different.

But then, there are the things that are, almost universally, just plain bad ideas. Sometimes it’s a look that has (for good reason) fallen out of style, or a strategy supposedly meant to maximize the space in a room that, in actuality, ends up being confusing, distracting, or just plain hard to keep clean. Sure, most home decor mistakes are fixable, but why make them in the first place if you can avoid it? That’s why we polled four interior design experts on the small space mishaps they see most often, plus how to avoid them.

Lots Of Tiny Furniture

“Sometimes I go into people’s spaces and they never planned the space out properly, but rather ended up with three different types of storage pieces (a medium height think bookshelf, a three drawer dresser and an amoire), a bed and two mismatched nightstands no rug and no art,” says Tali Roth of Tali Roth Designs in New York. “That kind of chaos in a small space is unnecessary. Try and pick a wall and line it entirely in storage. Ensure you have art on the walls (there is always space for art) and make sure the bedding is cozy and the rug encourages a sense of calm.”

How To Avoid It:

It’s all about editing. Are you still hanging onto dinky pieces of micro-furniture from your college dorm or adolescent bedroom? Chuck them in favor of investing in a few weightier pieces that can help define a space. These don’t have to be pricey: try flea markets, estate sales, and even Wayfair. But the idea is to set up anchors and build around them, rather than throwing a bunch of small items together.

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