How to Decorate Small Spaces: Part 1 – Functions

How to decorate a small space? How to fit everything you own into that tiny shoe box your landlord calls a flat? Anyone who has lived in a small flat in a big city, has at some point come to face these questions. It may sound like a mission impossible, but actually it is possible to make a small space work and make it feel like home. Let’s walk through the process step by step.


Before your tiny flat can look as cosy as these lovely nests, we have to go back to basics.

Everything starts with defining and placing different functions. Living in a small space often means that each room has multiple functions.  Let’s take a look at a small living room, actually none other than my very own.

This small living room is in fact the functional centre of the entire flat. The kitchen can only fit a tiny table and the bedroom upstairs is low space and available for sleeping only. Therefore everything apart from cooking and sleeping happens in this room.


There are three main functions for this room:

1. storage: clothing, shoes, accessories

2. work desk: computer, 3 screens, printer, speakers etc

3. Lounge area

Above you can see, how the functions are placed in the room. This is done by evaluating the permanent elements, such as windows, doorways, stairways and fitted furniture, and making the most of them. In this case it meant maximising the storage space in the existing fitted wardrobe in the corner of the room and making most of the low space underneath the stairs.

pohja_plan copy

Another important thing to consider is what to show and what to hide. Keeping this in mind and wanting to make the lounge area as big and as dominant as possible, I decided to use a wall to wall curtain to separate the work area and clothing storage from the lounge. Curtain hides the open shelved wardrobe and creates a small nook for the desk and chair.

I could have stopped there, but I really wanted to maximise the storage space, so I wanted to use the high ceiling space between the curtain and the stairs. This was done by  placing two Ikea Expedit storage units on top of each other. This storage tower, as I call it, is accessible from the lounge and the upper part from the  stairs. I have piled some storage boxes on top of the tower and placed a rail between the tower and the banister of the stairs. So my skirts and dresses are actually hanging above the desk chair.

The lesson of this is of course to learn to make use of all possible space: hallways, stairs, the area over doors, especially high or low spaces.


This is how you get started with placing the functions:

1. Making the most of the existing elements of the room or flat

2. Deciding what to show what to hide

Part 2 Coming Soon


– Miia –


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