How to Furnish a Small Space

With a little help, even small, narrow rooms can look bigger. See more pictures of home design.

While the size of the average family home has grown over the last few decades, there may be big changes coming. Concerns about the environment, energy and the cost of living are causing people to re-examine their need for larger and larger homes. Whether you're downsizing your space because of a shift in your family dynamic or setting up your first apartment, managing a small space can present unique challenges, but going smaller may be an important element in the future of home design.

Making the most of a small space is an exercise of mind over matter. Controlling clutter and expecting furniture and appliances to perform multiple functions takes some planning. Then there's the challenge of decorating. Going the extra step of resizing your belongings for your space and using color, texture and light to create an illusion of spaciousness can be rewarding, but the frustration factor can take its toll, too. If you have your doubts, ask anyone who's ever tried to get a large piece of furniture down a narrow hallway or around a tight corner.

With a growing focus on comfort and style without excess, more and more manufacturers are designing their products with smaller spaces in mind. Big style has never looked so small, and you don't have to be living in a dorm room or mobile home to take advantage of products and ideas that will have you looking at furniture, paint, shelves, lamps and window treatments in a new way.

Let's explore the ways color, light and scale can have a big impact on making a small space a home, and while we're at it, we'll find some interesting solutions to your small kitchen, bath and laundry room challenges.