How To Furnish A Small Living Space


'Wing' chair in mustard velvet, £379, DFS

'Wing' chair in mustard velvet, £379, DFS

It's my utmost belief that even the smallest space can be impeccably stylish. You do not need to own a mansion to create a glorious living space - which is lucky as apparently the average size of a family home in the UK has shrunk by two square metres over the past 10 years. If you rent, chances are that you are currently renting or have rented a flat in a converted property that was once a whole house? If you own your own place, let me guess that you shed a little tear when you saw the average cost of 'price per square metre' of a home in your area, and you had to purchase a smaller space than you had origionally intended?

So we are all living a little smaller these days - but how does that affect the way you should furnish your home? Well, you have to think about things a little differently. You want to maximise the space that you do have, not make it look any smaller. At the same time, you need to be totally efficient in how you use the space so that it does not look chaotic and cluttered. With this in mind I'm sharing my top tips for furnishing a small living space......

Consider the size of the sofa you purchase:

'Bask' sofa in charcoal, £499, DFS. Photo: © DFS

'Bask' sofa in charcoal, £499, DFS. Photo: © DFS

There have been so many times that I have walked into peoples homes to find the sofa completely dominating the room. From 3-piece suites stuffed to room capacity, to giant corner sofas eating into over 50% of the living space. When you live in a small space (or equally, in an extra large space), you really have to consider the proportions of your furniture. Your sofa needs to be in scale with the room.

'Lull' sofa in light grey, £499, DFS

'Lull' sofa in light grey, £499, DFS

The 'Capsule' collection by the well-loved UK sofa brand DFS is perfect for smaller homes. Not only are the sofas much more compact than your regular size sofa (Capsule sofas are around 159cm in length, where as a standard sofa comes in around 213cm), the range is also contemporary in style and completely customisable.  Capsule offers 55 fabric options, plus a choice of feet from copper to dark wood. What I love about them even more is the fact that they come with bolt-off removable arms to ensure the sofas can easily be delivered and installed, regardless of narrow stairways or small door frames. If you live on the 5th floor at the top of a winding staircase, you really don't need to sweat about your new sofa turning up, then being sent back in the van it came in!

'Laze' sofa in grey,  £399, DFS.

'Laze' sofa in grey,  £399, DFS.

Dream of returning home and kicking back on a corner sofa, but don't feel you have the space? No problem - DFS have it covered with their 'Truth' lounger which is like a corner sofa, but on a much smaller scale :

'Truth' lounger in black velvet, £649, DFS. Photo: © DFS

'Truth' lounger in black velvet, £649, DFS. Photo: © DFS

Every six months DFS run a number of limited edition fabric prints for the Capsule collection, designed by young, emerging textile designers. The new collection features a selection of amazing textile prints by Uni student (yes- she's not even graduated yet!) Alisha Abel. I loved her blotchy cloud style prints which came in a range of bold colours:

A selection of the fabrics designed by Alisha Abel for DFS

A selection of the fabrics designed by Alisha Abel for DFS

Laze armchair in a fabric by Alisha Abel, £349. 'Wish' footstool. Both DFS. Photo: © DFS

Laze armchair in a fabric by Alisha Abel, £349. 'Wish' footstool. Both DFS. Photo: © DFS

With prices starting at £89 for a footstool, to £649 for their corner lounger, the Capsule range is impeccable value for money - especially when it's also hand crafted in the UK (DFS produce the Capsule range in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire).

buy side tables and avoid coffee tables:

Coffee tables are bulky are take up a large portion of the central floor area. Instead, purchase a few side tables that can be moved around the room when required for cups of tea and magazines. They can be placed next to chairs or in the corner when not in use. Side tables also come in vastly stylish ranges, such as this gold number from Dwell, below:

'Alzira' gold side table, Dwell, £49 (currently on sale). 'Wing' armchair , as before, DFS.

'Alzira' gold side table, Dwell, £49 (currently on sale). 'Wing' armchair , as before, DFS.

bE CREATIVE WITH COMPACT, WALL MOUNTED FURNITURE:

Rather than have a large, four legged piece of furniture - can you save on space by having it wall mounted? This dressing table below is actually a compact Ikea shelving unit firmly fixed with large, supportive shelf brackets:

Photo Credit: Lust living

Photo Credit: Lust living

use the space on your walls where you can:

Your wall space is just wasted space unless you use it correctly. Instead of putting of deep shelves on your walls that can seem imposing, add simple picture rails to display pretty possessions, like I have over the windows in my kitchen:

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INSTALL WALL LIGHTS RATHER THAN USING LAMPS TO SAVE FLOOR SPACE:

Save floor and table space by creating atmospheric lighting with wall lights rather than freestanding lamps. If you do not want to knock through plaster, there are a great range of simple plug in wall lights available - see my pick of the bunch here!

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use narrow console tables as compact desks:

With most of us working on slimline laptops these days, gone is the need for the giant library-style desks. Use a narrow console table pushed against the wall as a working desk, and pick a small chair or stool that can slide underneath it when not in use.

Photo Credit: Coasters Furniture

Photo Credit: Coasters Furniture

What is your top design tip for small space living? Let me know in the comments section below!

* This post is in collaboration with DFS.