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If you’re living in a small apartment or house, as is common around military installations, it may seem like your décor and furniture choices are limited. Not so! No matter what size your abode, you can decorate and furnish in any style you want while still maximizing space for storage and entertaining. 

Decorate up, not out 

A great way to create a stylish home without sacrificing floor space is to use shelves and open wall space. Decorate  vertically instead of clogging a room with tables and flat surfaces. Display keepsakes and art against your otherwise bland, blank walls  instead of in the center of the room. It’ll add visual interest to a room without taking up much space. . And hanging mirrors in smaller rooms also creates an illusion of space and is an attractive way to fill empty walls. 

Make your furniture do double-duty

In many small houses and apartments, storage space is hard to come by. If you don’t have dedicated storage rooms, using furniture that doubles as storage is a great idea. Ottomans or benches that open to hold linens work perfectly in living rooms and bedrooms, and under-bed storage for winter wear and extra blankets keeps these bulky items compressed and out of sight. You can also find decorative boxes that stack and hold documents or small items that may otherwise be strewn about on a countertop or coffee table.

Experiment with angles

A sofa in the center of the room cuts the area of open space  in half. But at an angle, or pushed to a different wall, you’ll open up the room and it will immediately feel larger. Sometimes the most obvious  place for a piece of large furniture isn’t the most space-effective. Spend time moving couches and other large furniture around to see if there is a better layout  for the space you have. 


Pick a light color palette 

Dark, heavy colors and fabrics can weigh a room down and make it feel more enclosed. Think light and bright! Sheer, light-colored window treatments let in more light and open up your space. Similarly, a light-colored sofa will seem to take up less room than a dark one. Even if it’s just a trick of the light (literally), choosing a brighter  color scheme can make your home feel much bigger without gaining actual square feet. 

Clean up!

One of the biggest factors in a room feeling cramped and crowded is also the easiest to fix: keep the area clean and free from clutter! It’s especially easy for clutter to accumulate if you don’t have adequate storage, an all-too-common problem in small spaces (see tip #2). But by clearing countertops, tables, the floor, or anywhere else things like clothes, papers, and odds and ends pile up, you add visual and physical space to breathe. Create a space for documents, mail you need to keep, or books. If you aren’t sure where to put it and don’t really need it, toss it! Getting rid of superfluous items will help keep your space clean and won’t take up your precious space. 

These are just a few jumping off points to maximize space and open up your home. With effective storage, light and airy colors, and an organization plan for your loose odds and ends (including throwing them away), you’ll soon enjoy all sorts of breezy, open spaces you never knew your home could have