DESIGN, small space


Shelter in place, much? While our current reality is setting in, so is my awareness of the excess in our home. Naturally with seven people, five which are growing children,…

Shelter in place, much?

While our current reality is setting in, so is my awareness of the excess in our home. Naturally with seven people, five which are growing children, we have more items than the average family. However I’ve been exploring The Luxury of Less Principle, one that emphasizes quality over quantity. With each passing day, I realize our possessions are occupying too much of our physical and mental space.  This doesn’t mean I’m joining the Minimalism Movement, but I am taking the steps to make room for what matters most, clarity. Here’s how:

#1 Use oversized art to make a statement.

When designing a room with a high ceiling or lots of wall space, I prefer to feature a captivating art piece like the one we used in this Sandy Springs great room. Flanking the artwork are two sconces, showstoppers in their own right. Made from acrylic and brass, these sconces offer chic mood lighting for cosmopolitan-style entertaining.

#2 Choose Dual Purpose Furniture

Shop smarter. Choose furnishings that serve two purposes, i.e. an ottoman that serves as additional seating as well as a coffee table.

# 3 Seek Help With Space Planning

The wrong furniture arrangement can kill a space.  Employ designer tricks to find optimal seating arrangements and traffic flow in the room.  For example, in large rooms keep the seating arrangement pulled away from the walls. Creating spaces beyond the furniture adds volume to the room. Secondly, use a combination of furniture with skirted or hidden alongside furniture with exposed legs. This creates air space and a feeling of openness you cannot achieve if all the upholstered items are close to the floor.

#4 Inject Interest with Color and Patterns

Color and pattern really draw you into a space. Bold colored drapery, patterned rugs, and soft fabrics do the heavy lifting in bringing the room to life and displaying the personality of its owner.

To summarize, the idea is to use fewer items to decorate. Invest in higher quality items, maybe even larger pieces if your room demands larger scale artwork and accessories. Make your furniture work harder for you by serving dual functions. Breathe air into your rooms by varying furniture pieces that have hidden and exposed legs. Finally, use bold color to your advantage. Decorating with less, in these examples, yields more polish, sophistication, and greater impact with your decorating dollars.
Which of these four idea are you willing to try as you embrace the Luxury of Less principle?

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  • Great post! I cannot stand clutter, so I have a tendency to purge often. I find that it makes me appreciate the things I have much more!

  • L.Duncan@Home23DuncanBoys
    July 20, 2010 12:59 pm

    I can't stand clutter either. The problem is I have so much of it:-)

    Anywho, great post!

  • Janell @ Isabella and Max
    July 20, 2010 1:00 pm

    I do believe with good design a much smaller home can work just fine. I look around at my house and if only I could move sf from one area to another and eliminate sf from other areas, the home would function even better while being slightly smaller. And dual purpose areas and furniture, very smart!

  • Divamom-Act II
    July 20, 2010 2:14 pm

    I've found that you need to be mercenary when it comes to purging. It's hard to take the personal out of it, but you must close your eyes and do it. Clutter really is stressful. And….what I wouldn't give for that closet, and a personal organizer to go with it.

  • This was a very great post and it's so very true – we are so attached to our stuff and "less is certainly more"!


  • Talking with Tami
    July 20, 2010 3:27 pm

    Yes this just happened to us. The huge house we were renting for 2yrs is no more. The landlord lost his other property and had to move back in the house we were living in. We had to move pretty quickly too. We went from a 6 bedroom to a 2 bedroom, not fun! I'm trying to make due but it's very hard and tight quarters now.

  • Erika at BluLabel Bungalow
    July 20, 2010 3:30 pm

    @Tami, I'm sure it's a hard adjustment but you will definitely be spending more quality time with each other even if it is by default!

  • Very good post, I really loved the magazine article about smaller spaces since we live in a small 1950's house (the norm for the era) Since we bought a small house we really have had to buy smart when buying items and get rid of stuff we no longer need. I also used certain paint colors to make our space feel larger, we also plan on re-staining on our hardwoods deep walnut, to ground our home and make it appear larger.

  • Erika at BluLabel Bungalow
    July 20, 2010 3:34 pm

    @Mrs. Chic: Your family has done amazing things with your home. I love to see what projects you have up your sleeve!

  • Erika, great tips. I have a 2 bedroom condo; editing and purging is continuous, as I am always making changes!!

    Art by Karena

  • Karen Davis
    July 20, 2010 4:28 pm

    Love your post! Small or Big is what you make of it…

  • All really great points- I think could do better with the organization if I had a closet like that one- I am obsessed with that whole house- its like decor porn times 100

  • crash pad girl
    July 20, 2010 10:58 pm

    Great tips. I agree less is more even in a larger space. Try as I might to edit,edit,edit sometimes I need a little inspiration like this post to get me organized, again.

  • Beautiful pictures….great post. I actually just read that magazine front to back on the beach this weekend…I fell in love with the purple nyc space…how about her red closet?
    Anyway, can i have the first photo as my office? Love all the pictures you shared.
    Hope you are enjoying your summer!

  • Waiting for my turn!!


  • Deliciously Organized
    July 21, 2010 1:22 pm

    These really are wonderful tips. I agree, a lot of us have too much furniture for our small spaces! And organization is key…my apt. is very, very, very, very t-i-n-y.

  • Deliciously Organized
    July 21, 2010 1:23 pm

    like really tiny.

  • Redesign Diva
    July 21, 2010 1:53 pm

    Yes small is the new big…!! I recently downsized and I did it by choice. I figured out what I wanted quickly, by keeping only what I love and it was super simple. I donated tons of furniture and now I feel more relaxed and have more money! Great post

  • love it, love it, love it!


  • Thank you Erika for all the great advice you share with us on your blog! I love reading your blog posts =D

  • Erika at BluLabel Bungalow
    July 22, 2010 10:16 pm

    Thanks everyone for your feedback. So glad to be able to provide you with some useful info! Happy Decorating!


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