Northside SF  

The Interior Life
Living large in small spaces
Make the most of your space – no matter what the size
By Caroline Krogh-Jensen

Glass nesting tables create an openness
and provide needed surface space,
but can also be cleverly compacted
when needed

photo: BoConcept Fillmore

Living in a metropolitan area like San Francisco automatically means “compact living” for most people. A small apartment or house is the ultimate decorating challenge, and it definitely calls for creative space management. Small spaces should be functional but still reflect your style and personality. Here are some great tips to optimize your space and make your compact quarters feel like a mansion!

Smaller is better
Choose smaller-scale furniture for your home. A great solution for compact living spaces is sofas with slimmed-down armrests. This way you can gain a extra few inches in length without sacrificing seating space. Also try to combine the small footprint and thin profile of the sofa by adding four-to-six-inch legs. Propping the sofa off the ground always tricks the eye into seeing more space and making the area feel larger.

Less is more
Try not to overcrowd your space with too much furniture. Choose your furnishings carefully based on style and functionality. Always aim to include pieces that have multiple functions. For example, integrate an extendable dining table into your home, which is compact for daily use during the week and provides you the extension option when you are entertaining. Furniture with hidden storage can also be great space savers and reduce clutter. You can find these features in storage coffee tables and footstools.

Function, function, function

The importance of dual-purpose furniture for compact spaces cannot be overstated. Think about how you use your space and research multifunctional furniture options that meet your needs. If you have regular overnight guests, for example, you might want to consider a sofa bed or perhaps an ottoman that moonlights as a guest bed. Nesting tables are also a creative way to add surface space when needed but are cleverly compact when not in use.

Color concept
Color plays a key role in the atmosphere of a small space. Use lighter tones on walls (and even ceilings) to give the illusion of larger and more airy space. Also, limiting the amount of different colors used can make a space feel less cluttered.

Let there be light!
There is nothing worse than a small, dark space. So what can you do to compensate? Given that light plays a large role in our perception of a space, it is very important to incorporate table lamps, pendants and floor lamps to create a warm, cozy environment.

Mirror, mirror on the wall …
All designers use this trick to create depth in a room, which ultimately translates into the illusion of the space looking larger. Adding mirrors to your space, particularly opposite or close to windows, will reflect natural light throughout the room and make the space seem more spacious.

Consider incorporating glass pieces of furniture instead of bulky wood elements. Glass end tables and coffee tables will make your living space feel far more open.

Armed with these great tips you’re sure to transform your compact space into an expansive-feeling retreat!

Caroline Krogh-Jensen is the owner of BoConcept Fillmore, which offers contemporary, affordable furniture, accessories, and in-home design consultations. E-mail:

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