In case you missed it last year, Apartment Therapy does an annual contest where they feature some totally amazing houses. But not just any amazing houses — these houses are teeny tiny and fabulous. Fun size? Absolutely. These 15 Small Cool entries are among our favorites for their creative use of design and space. No fancy designer and big budget here: Just real people living in small spaces and making it work. Finally some home inspiration that could actually work #IRL.
1. Feel the Mood: It’s all about the textures in this light and bright apartment. From fluffy rugs and lambskin throws to lucite and metallic accents, this space is flat out fabulous with its neutral shades.
2. Top Three: Living in a small home means being realistic about your space. Pick your top three favorite activities and arrange your space around those priorities. We won’t judge at all if you make your bedroom the #1 priority.
3. Cozy Character: Unless you’re into the sleek, Scandinavian look, don’t feel like you have to stick to sparse decor and tiny pieces of furniture. Live large in a small space and embrace the homeyness that comes along with having a full house. Obviously, that doesn’t include clutter. Constantly pick up after yourself and have stylish storage options like boxes and baskets to hide your hoarding.
4. Creative Storage: With only 660 sq ft to work with, these renters faced some challenges when it came to storing all their books, plants and musical instruments. But with a little creativity and lots of DIY projects, they managed to make it work, even fitting a grand piano into the living room. Their advice for anyone renting is to not be afraid to invest in your rental— you’ll make a lot of memories there, so make your time more enjoyable by swapping out things like faucets and knobs with things you love.
5. Curtained and Colorful: When you don’t have walls, just DIY a bedroom out of curtains. And no matter how small your space is, remember that color is always a winner! This space proves our point with its bright pops of blues, oranges and corals.
7. Warm Industrial: This renovated garage turned into a very cool apartment with just the right amount of boho and industrial flair. In a small home, it’s important that the style is cohesive and works together, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up and have some modern lucite alongside your vintage flea market finds. The key is to make every purchase a can’t-live-without-this buy so you don’t end up overcrowded.
8. Quality over Quantity: Studio life has its own unique set of challenges, such as having your entire life on display. Constantly. But that shouldn’t stop you from having people over! Make your bed and do the dishes and don’t stress about the rest.
9. New Norms: Living small is the ultimate creativity challenge. If you don’t have room for a bedside table, use a windowsill nook or mount a shelf. Not enough room for a dining space? Make your living room bigger and dine a la coffee table. Think outside the box and use everything to maximize your style.
10. Calm Glam: It’s not fun to wake up in the morning and face last night’s dishes. Even just a quick vacuum and wipe-down make a huge difference in a small space, and it will probably only take you 15 minutes.
11. Light Footed + Lots of Greenery: Choose furniture that has legs so that you can see the floor underneath it to make the room feel light and airy. You can also use plants to camouflage a plethora of renting woes like heating and air-conditioning units. Plus they clean the air and make you more productive, so start adding some greenery ASAP.
12. Out With the Old: Make it a rule that every time you bring in a new piece of decor, you have to get rid of something. This brutal method will ensure you’re only surrounded by things you love, which is extra important in a small space. If you’re renting, buy multi-purpose furniture that can adapt to the new layout easily.
13. Room for Two: Instead of letting the layout quirks drive you insane, accept the challenge and try to incorporate the eccentricities into your design, making the space feel intentional and cohesive. Art hides ugly walls and makes your rooms feel warm and interesting. And don’t stress about curating the perfect gallery wall — if it makes you happy, it belongs on your wall.
14. Dark and Handsome: Don’t be afraid to go for a dark wall color in a small space. Bring in mirrors to reflect the natural light and add pops of color with pillows and decor pieces.
15. Dynamic Red: When you’re first trying to figure out the layout, measure all the pieces you absolutely need and then make sure you have the space to fit them in your home. Once you know your dimensions, you can go have fun adding other pieces and not worry about getting it home and not having it fit. Also, where can we get that red door??
Did these real-life small-living tips give you any inspiration? Talk to us the comments below!