How to live big in a tiny space – tips from 4 experts

More and more people want or are forced to live in smaller spaces. However, we don’t want to give up the benefits a bigger space has. This is why I wanted to give some advice on how to live big in a small space. Besides that, I contacted some tiny space dwellers on Instagram to get their take on compact living. Without further ado, let’s get into the advice from @27_sqm, @31_m2, @tiny_living_vancouver and @dieluivanhiernaast.

@27_sqm says: “Experiment and have a theme.”

I moved into my little space in November 2017. A tiny 27 square meter flat on the east side of Oslo. My number one advice with making the most of a small space is to experiment (and have a theme).

Experimenting is the main advice, or words of wisdom, I can give you. I spent months moving around furniture, experimenting with placements, the number of potted plants I had and so on. Overcrowding a small space only makes it feel smaller. “Less is more” is a good rule to follow in my opinion.

My theme is green and plants because these things make me happy and calm. I found by having a theme my space, and the different rooms, felt cohesive. I feel this can massively help with how you, and others, perceive the size of a space because it all feels like one big space. Select pieces with thought and consideration and it will harmonize beautifully.

Visitors comment how lovely my flat is, not how small it is, because everything has its place and works together.


The beautiful dining and kitchen are from @27_sqm

I can wholeheartedly agree with these two points. I have a strong colour theme as well (mostly white, grey and black with teak wood, small colour accents), and it works perfect for me. Also, the experimenting is something I just love to do, but that -to my opinion- helps you to give your space what it needs. You kind of can feel it out and add or take away elements where needed.

@31_m2 says: “Choose which big pieces of furniture you need.”

I live in a 31 square meter apartment with my husband and our toddler. The ground plan of our flat is very smart so it has helped a lot living there. I also have decided to choose only few pieces of big furniture. For me the most important pieces are a bed, a couch, a nice tv stand and one tall shelf which works as a storage space. And of course a small dining table and chairs for us three. We don’t have a bookshelf or a real coffee table for example. 

My advice is choosing the pieces that are the most important and giving up the ones that are not. This way you have a comfortable home with everything you need but it doesn’t look or feel cramped.

The smart livingroom with space for a bed from @31_m2

What I like most about this piece of advice, is that it is realistic and is fitting for people who are downscaling. One year ago I lived in a three bedroom apartement and I had to get rid of a lot of furniture. Which helped me, was looking at what I really used. Be strict with yourself, and it will work out perfect for you!

@tiny_living_vancouver says: “Go for multifunctionality and space-saving pieces.”

Aside from using space-saving furniture like my murphy bed, a transforming storage ottoman, a folding table, and chair, the best advice that I can give on how I have been able to live so effectively in such a tiny space is by keeping possessions minimal and using well placed shelves that don’t intrude outward into the space too much. Along with that I try to keep my pictures smaller and well spaced out to leave more open wall space. I Keep power cords tied together and hide them wherever possible. If you can tie the shelves, art, and decorations to a colour theme it also helps to bring the space together and it creates a nice smooth consistency from front to back.

Storage compartments and spaces are obviously essential but using them effectively is even more crucial when dealing with a space like mine (150sq. feet). I Use hanging racks in closets, small shelving racks under the sinks and in the bathroom and I hide hooks for towels, laundry bags, sweaters and jackets out of sight so as not to clutter up my space and keep it looking clean.

The genious layout of @tiny_living_vancouver’s living space

First of all: this is proper tiny living, something we all can learn something from. I love the idea behind using space-saving furniture, it keeps the room looking neat and clutter free. Also, the trick of hiding things works wonders. In my space, I have a few hooks on the inside of doors for hanging coats. It makes such a big difference.

@dieluivanhiernaast says: “Go for furniture you can see through and rich and fun materials.”

My advice if you want to live big in a tiny space is to stay away from heavy furniture. As I always say, I have to be able to look underneath my pieces of furniture. This makes the room feel more spacious, because you see more surface of the floor. It tricks you in thinking less space is taken up by furniture.

Besides that, we used a lot of textures and prints in our textiles and fabrics in our home. I find this to add to the feeling of spaciousness as well. It also makes your interior a bit more fun and interesting. For example our couch, because of these two tips, looks way less impactful.

With airy, fun and quality furniture and materials, no one will give attention to the tiny space we call home!

Giving some air to the space with a couch that’s up from the floor at @dieluivanhiernaast

One of the oldest tricks in the book, but to my experience one of the most effective. Picking pieces for your home that are not too impactful is for every size of space great advice. It makes everything feel more airy and spacious. What I like most about this piece of advice is combining it with rich, coloured or patterned fabrics. Airy pieces can quickly look ‘bare bones’ and basic. Combining these two points is perfect to my opionion.

Rounding up – the importance of zoning your space

Zoning the space with rugs give it a grown up feeling

Something all of these wonderful tiny space dwellers do, but haven’t put in words yet, is the importance of zoning your space. There is a difference between a room with a bed, a couch and a dining table; or a space with a living space, a sleeping space a dining space. One of my tricks for this, is using rugs to zone it out. What we can see at @31_m2 is the use of curtains to visually divide the sleeping space from the living space. Be sure to choose, however, for light materials that don’t contrast too much.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope it gave some great useful tips. A special thanks to  @27_sqm, @31_m2, @tiny_living_vancouver and @dieluivanhiernaast for taking the time to contribute to this blogpost. Check them out on Instagram, their usernames are linked! Do you have more advice to live small? Or do you have other comments? Please let me know on Instagram! Have a good day!


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