We all know the struggle of decorating a small space or apartment–especially living in a city like NYC. If you dress up your space with too many pieces, it looks cluttered. But if you don’t add enough decor, it can look unfinished or empty. It’s a never-ending balance that we all too often get wrong…no matter how many Pinterest boards we make for inspiration. In celebration of spring cleaning and redecorating your space, we called upon expert Interior Designer Uma Stewart, who has been upgrading spaces for over 10 years, to give us some advice on how to make our tiny studios feel twice as big. Below, find Uma’s top tips for how to make a small space look chic.

  1. Get custom storage. “Customized storage can make use of all your vertical space and every linear inch of wall space you have,” Uma explains. “You can also outfit storage with doors to hide clutter or match built-in storage to your wall color for a more seamless look that will make a space look bigger.”
  2. Utilize your nooks. Banquettes aren’t just for that trendy coffee shop you practically live in. “Dining banquettes allow eating areas to feel more tucked away, and also allow more people to fit at a table when you have guests,” she says. “They make excellent use of otherwise wasted corner space. You can also design them with storage drawers under them.”
  3. Keep your color combination simple. When you have a smaller space, Uma believes that the hue of your walls should be clean and simple. “I prefer monochromatic or two color schemes for small spaces. Any more color than that can feel overwhelming.”
  4. Keep it clean. “This may seem obvious, but smaller spaces need to be kept clean and picked up or they can quickly feel overwhelmed,” Uma explains. “You need to create storage in as many ways as you can. Coffee tables with shelves underneath, side tables with drawers, and bins to keep on your shelves, so you can corral things and reduce visual clutter, are all great fixes.”
  5. Mount your T.V. A creative way to make more space is to limit the amount of room your media units take up. “Try to have your TV in a small space wall-mounted with an eye for the remote, so that all the components can be tucked into a closet or chest instead of in a bulky media console,” she suggests.
  6. Make sure your furniture is the proper size. “Scale the furniture appropriately to the space. Pieces that are too big OR too small can make the space feel smaller. Lines like CB2 and Lee Industries have excellent apartment sofas that are good for any small space without feeling like loveseats.”
  7. Less is more when it comes to furniture. When you’re working with limited square footage, you need to be very selective with the furniture pieces you allow into your space. “Have fewer pieces of furniture in the room, and make those pieces count. Each one should make a statement,” Uma tells us. “One large storage piece is better than having lots of little shelves scattered everywhere. A well-scaled sofa or small sectional is better than having lots of little chairs and random pieces of seating.”
  8. Let your style shine. “While minimal is great, find places to add a few extra touches that are about style. A great piece of art, excellent pillows, and a small leather ottoman, stool, or garden stool would be my first picks for making any space extra special.”

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