Step by Step Small Space Design

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Here in San Francisco we're quite familiar with small spaces, whether they are studio apartments, charming nooks, little landings or unique architectural alcoves. It may seem daunting at first to fit an entire office in the space of a closet - but with these tips you'll surely feel up for the challenge.


First, prioritize your home's function and energy. If you live in a small space, this is the time to determine the functionality of the space you do have. Have a small empty corner? Reflect back to your values, hobbies, interests and the energy you want the space to have. Depending on your needs, this tiny corner could turn into a painting nook, reading area, meditation spot or even a place to get some serious work done.

Office Nook.jpg
Reading Nook.jpg

Next, determine your style. It's important to maintain a common theme throughout your space, whether it be modern, bohemian or industrial (for example). A fusion of styles is great, but it must be consistent and considered in order to maintain flow.


Determine your floor plan: Divide your space into functional areas with choice of furniture and pieces. Play around and try some different layouts until you've found what makes sense in your space and feels functional for you. Sometimes it takes actually sitting in the arranged floor plan rather than mapping it out on paper.

Limit your color choices to colors that compliment each other. In small spaces, there is often not enough room to build completely separate color palettes. When choosing colors, think of palettes that are cohesive for the home as a whole. Design Seeds is great for color inspiration! Additionally, limit metal finishes to no more than two per space or room.


Purchase furniture that is multi-use; a coffee table that becomes a dining table, a coffee table that breaks into side tables, beds with storage drawers or sofas with storage compartments. You can even raise your existing bed on a platform to allow for pull out baskets or bins and hide those tucked belongings with a bed skirt. Consider floor to ceiling shelving to maximize space and go for custom made pieces and built-in's. Custom closet systems such as Elfa or Ikea are here to help. With small spaces, storage is key. 

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Closet Storage.jpg


Go vertical: Utilize hooks - from hanging clothing to hanging dining room chairs and bicycles. In small spaces, utilizing wall space and going vertical can help accommodate items that simply don't have a home. These items are able to tuck away and clear floor space. Get rid of clutter (edit, edit, edit!) and make sure everything has a place.

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Mirror trick: Mirrors are a great way to bounce light and give the illusion of a bigger space. You can achieve this simply by hanging a wall mirror behind or across from a light source.

Layer lighting: If your space lacks natural light, layer in a variety of lighting such as floor lamps, table lamps and wall sconces. These fixtures will create a room full of light when needed, while also giving you the option of different lighting combinations depending on occasion, time of day and mood.

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Curtain tip: Floor to ceiling window treatments can help make your space seem visually larger and taller.

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We know small spaces can be tricky, (we like to think of them as small, but mighty!). Remember to map it out, consider color, go vertical and keep in mind your homes function. Don't be afraid of being bold or taking a risk. Statement walls (color or wallpaper) or art pieces can showcase your personality and keep things visually interesting!


Choose Your Own Adventure: Velvet Trends

We're all about the velvet trend this fall whether it be small touches or bigger statement pieces. This luxe, cozy fabric can be easily incorporated into any space. 

PHOTO BY: Gina Rachelle Design

PHOTO BY: Gina Rachelle Design

PHOTO BY: Max Maloney

PHOTO BY: Max Maloney

START SMALL: Incorporate velvet accessories into your existing space. Gather a variety of pillows, snag a cozy throw blanket or hang curtains. Don't want to go as big as an upholstered piece just yet? Try seat cushions for a luxe option to soften up your seating area. 

PHOTO BY: Max Maloney

PHOTO BY: Max Maloney

HAPPY MEDIUM: Ready for more than a pillow but not quite ready for the large statement piece? Try a velvet upholstered ottoman or comfy side chair to warm up your space and add a luxurious touch.

PHOTO BY: Max Maloney

PHOTO BY: Max Maloney

WANNA DIY?: Velvet is an easier material to DIY with (velvet really has everything going for it - now doesn't it!). Grab your staple gun, your favorite yards of rich velvet and create a new plush headboard. Not feeling up for DIY? (We totally understand.) There are plenty of options out there, whether you want go neutral or opt for a "wow" moment.

PHOTO BY: Brittany Ambridge

PHOTO BY: Brittany Ambridge

THINK BIG: Ready for a statement? We support velvet upholstered sofas all the way. In order to pull this off, first, define your style (bohemian, eclectic, modern), and then make sure the piece is a statement within that style. Sit back and enjoy.

PHOTO BY: Anthropologie 

PHOTO BY: Anthropologie 

PHOTO BY: Bryant Toth

PHOTO BY: Bryant Toth

MIX IT UP: Velvet is easily blended into most spaces because of it's versatility and softness. Finish your space with additional textures - go for the woven knit blanket, wooden side chair and glass coffee table and your velvet piece will feel right at home.


Pretty Fitness Studios? Yes, Please!

We just discovered that one of our spaces in which we collaborated with DIAKADI Fitness Performance is featured in Lonny Magazine as one of fifteen 'Pretty Fitness Studios That Will Make You Want To Work Out.'

We loved designing this space focusing on making it inspiring yet cool with a sexy, industrial vibe. 

We decided on the color Soot by Benjamin Moore which comes across as a deep navy or moody black depending on the lighting. 

Owners, Billy Polson and Mike Calusen, salvaged old bleachers at Heritage Salvage in Petaluma discovering that they were originally from a Midwest gymnasium. 

Every piece of equipment was selected thoughtfully for it's purpose and aesthetic. Some pieces were even crafted by local makers such as the backboard of the basketball hoop, the climbing peg board wall, and stunning medicine ball rebounder. 

I personally love the rows of industrial lighting that we sourced from Ikea. They are statement pieces that light the obstacle course without breaking the bank!