How to Use Color in Small Spaces

What are the rules for using color in small spaces?Color Wheel

There really are no rules, but there are a few guidelines that will help when deciding what colors to paint the walls or to use in your furniture or accessories.

We’re taught that dark or warm colors will make the space appear smaller and light or cool colors will visually expand the space. But that’s not necessarily so! 

Use Color to Create a Focal Point

Remodeling and Home Design

You’ll be able to jazz up a small space with bold or dark colors if you either use the color on a feature wall as a focal point or if you use the color in adjoining rooms.

Contemporary Living Room

Use a Bold Color in Stripes

Photo by – Look for living room design inspiration

Bold stripes on a neutral background is an excellent way to visually expand a room plus it will add a pop of color and draw the eye through the length of the space.

Notice, too, how the designer used four chairs and a round table to define that sitting area. The color of the chairs is echoed in the drapes.

Use the Same Color in Adjoining Rooms

Painting adjoining rooms with the same color will create the illusion of a larger space.  Or try using two or three different shades of the same color.  That’s a great idea regardless of the size of the rooms.  It’s always a good idea to keep the same basic theme throughout the home.

Using the same color in two rooms

Use Bold Colors for Furniture and Accessories

Using bright colors on furniture and accessories in small spaces will give you that pop of color that you desire without making the room seem smaller.

Bold, colorful upholstery, decorator pillows, vases, and drapes are all elements that can be used in small spaces.  Just remember to bring that color into the other rooms in some way, as well.

Notice how these red chairs draw the eye toward the end of the room?  That’s how to visually expand the space with a focal point using bold color.

Colorful chairs in dining area

Get a Punch of Color With Wall Murals and Artwork

Wall Murals and huge pieces of art are available so many places, these days.

I’ve never been brave enough to use wall murals in my decorating but now there are so many removable murals available that I just might give it a go. Because they are often removable, you don’t have to worry about getting in hot water with the landlord if you’re a renter.

This gigantic coral reef mural is available on Amazon (affiliate).  I’d say that’s a heck of a pop of color! They have dozens of them, though, so if this isn’t your style it’s not a problem.

I’d love to put a mural on a tall wall in my master bathroom. If I ever do, I’ll be sure to post it!  I love, love, love this leafy mural that I found on Etsy.

These are all handmade and come in a half-dozen sizes. Here’s what the overview description on Etsy says:

  • Handmade item
  • Materials: Peel and Stick, Environment-Friendly, Vinyl, Non-Toxic, Eco-Friendly
  • Made to order
  • Favorited by: 176 people
  • Gift message available


Add Color with Accessories

Pillows, flower arrangements, books, and other collections are a way to use color to tie a room together.

Adding a colorful area rug is a brilliant way to add punch to a room. Besides, rugs are an awesome way to define an area. Like this bright and beautiful rug from Etsy. I love it!

Experiment With Paint Colors

The best way to decide on a paint color for your walls is to purchase the 2-ounce samples that are available at all home improvement stores and paint stores.  You’ll be able to paint an area about 12″ by 24″ which is large enough to tell if it’s really what you thought it would be!

Use color in small spaces judiciously but do it your way!

It’s your home and it should reflect your personality.  If your favorite color is purple, by all means, use purple…just maybe not on every wall!

Have you tried a unique way to incorporate color into your small space?  I’d love to hear about your experiences and whether or not this post helped you decide one way or the other so leave a comment if you like.

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Etsy Banner

Small Home Office Solutions

Location, location, location…


Whether you are self-employed, frequently work from home, or are a student, finding a place to work in a small space can be tricky.

  • It needs to be easily accessible, able to contain your work or study necessities and relatively private, depending on the situation.
  • You’d also need access to an electrical outlet in order to plug in a task light and cords for computer and printer, etc.

The little office in this picture is about as simple as it gets if you happen to have a staircase niche where you are able to tuck a small desk and chair.

This would also be do-able in a small closet.  You could remove the doors…or not. Shelves above the desk could store supplies. Again, keep in mind that you’ll need access to electricity.

The photo below illustrates how to create a study or office space where there is no closet or under-the-stair niche. 

This appears to be on a bedroom or dressing room wall as evidenced by the jewelry and a mirror hanging above the desk and illustrates that an area such as this can serve double duty.  I think it would be particularly good for a student’s study spot.

wall mounted desk area

Wherever you choose to create your small space office, it’s important to keep clutter at bay.  Being organized will make working from your home office so much more pleasant and you’ll be so much more productive.

Be sure to make it a pleasing area with wall art and a plant or two.

If you have the room, put in a comfortable chair. If your work chair is a comfortable chair, all the better! I call my comfy chair my “thinking” chair.  It’s where I go to brainstorm ideas. I can have a cup of tea and just let the creativity flow naturally.  It works!

Placing a plant on your desk or in your office space brings life into the space.  Plus plants are known for increasing air quality.

Speaking of live plants and how they increase air quality, check out my blog post about what to choose and why they’re healthy. It’s Best Plants for Small Spaces.

plant on desk

Ideally, your desk will face the door but if it doesn’t and you have no alternative, hang a mirror over the desk.  That will serve two purposes: it will spread any natural light that you have and it will satisfy a feng shui principle for creating positive energy.

desk with mirror

When you’re looking for desks, don’t just concentrate on traditional desks.  The ideas here in this post illustrate that you can use a shelf or a small table with a stool or a chair and you’ve got that office niche.  I do like a desk that’s a multipurpose piece.

Rochester console table

Winsome Wood Rochester Console Table

This Winsome Wood Rochester Console Table with one Drawer Shaker is a great example.

What’s great about it is that it’s truly multipurpose:

  • Place it flat against a wall to use as a desk.
  • Place one short end against the wall and it’s a perfect small dining table, too, with a chair on either side.
  • Try using it as a sofa table if the sofa is placed in the middle of the room.
  • It would be an excellent serving buffet when you have guests.

Pinterest Ideas

I’ve got 32 pins on my Desks for Small Spaces Pinterest Board that you might want to check out.  It’s amazing, once you get those creative juices flowing, how many ideas you’ll have!

Pinterest is an amazing resource for ideas. Look at my Small Space Solutions Pinterest Board, too. There are 173 pins there so you’ll likely find more suggestions that I didn’t put on the Desk for Small Spaces Board.

So there you go…some simple but effective ways to create an office or study space in a small room.

I’ve posted my choices for wall-mounted desks on my post Best Wall-Mounted Desks so stop there, too.  You might just find the perfect desk.

Please let me know in the comments below how you’ve solved this dilemma.  I’d love to see a picture of your small office.

Thank you for stopping by and stay tuned!

(Updated 10/2/2018)


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Small Outdoor Living Spaces

Side Yard Garden

Clever Side Yard Garden on Pinterest

One of the most clever ways to maximize living in a small space is to add outdoor living wherever possible.  If you have a deck or patio area, you’re all set to jazz up your small outdoor living space!

Decorating an outdoor space is lots of fun and very rewarding. And it can be accomplished on any budget…small budget or “the sky’s the limit”.

I moved to my townhouse in Minnesota in February when there was snow up to my waist.  I had a tiny private patio and I couldn’t wait to sit outside on a warm summer day with a glass of wine or iced tea.

I had months to browse the internet for ideas. Pinterest is my favorite place to find unique solutions to most decor dilemmas, including outdoor living spaces.  Here are a few of my favorites!

Even the smallest deck offers additional space and can be a delightful place to relax at the end of a long day or on a summer evening.

Pretty stone patio

A pretty stone patio that’s almost maintenance free.

A perfect small deck design on Pinterest

A perfect small deck design on Pinterest

A cozy little deck

A cozy little deck

Small courtyard

A small, beautifully designed courtyard










So these are just a few suggestions to get your own creative juices flowing.

You can find small-scale patio furnishings that are beautiful and reasonably priced so many places, these days.



Don’t be afraid to add pattern or color. Think of the space as an indoor room when you’re deciding on furnishings.

Rugs and curtains add interest and warmth and there are so many materials that are impervious to temperature and weather fluctuations.

This indoor/outdoor Paisley Monteray Area Rug from Orion is so pretty and adds a bright spark of color. It’s stain and fade-resistant and, although it’s spot clean only, for sure it’ll hide a multitude of spills!

UPDATE: It’s Autumn! Sort of…Well, almost…

Now that I’m in Arizona, it’s awesome being able to sit out on my patio most of the year.  I will admit that it’s not so enjoyable during the summer months! But it’s almost October and that means cooler weather is on the way.

Desert Landscape

A Lovely Desert Landscape

I really needed to replace the outdated landscaping on my new small property so I turned to Pinterest for ideas and collected enough to last a very long time!

I have more than 30 boards on Pinterest including a board for Arizona Landscaping Ideas. It’s amazing how beautiful desert landscaping can be. No grass needed!

Also, check out this post – Decorating Ideas From Pinterest for dozens of design ideas for small spaces including small gardens.

In the meantime, if you have created a comfortable and pleasing outdoor area that suits your small space to a tee, be sure to leave a comment below and post a photo or two, as well.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, I’d love it if you’d share it.

(Updated 9/24/2018)

Cheryl K Logo

Holiday Ideas for Small Spaces

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Get ready for holiday fun, food, and festivities!

Can you believe it? Summer is a thing of the past and fall is in full swing.

Next thing you know it’ll be Halloween, then Thanksgiving and then Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and there will be Halloween candy, Thanksgiving turkeys, parties, gifts, school concerts, and more.

Well, I moved from Minnesota to Arizona, last year. No snow and no 30-below temps were the incentives.

I’m lovin’ it!

I purged most everything I had in Minnesota before I move, so last Christmas was a minimalist’s dream.

I borrowed a small Christmas tree from a friend, placed it on a side table and decorated it with the ornaments I brought with me.

It was a really fun holiday with family and friends which is what it’s all about, after all, but my decorating was a bit sparse.

Holiday Decorating Tips for 2018

Well, this year I’m going to make a concerted effort to embrace the Holidays in style.

No matter which winter holiday you’re preparing for, if you live in a small house or apartment you are probably looking for ways to maximize your space to accommodate your collections of seasonal/holiday decorations.

There’s a slideshow on Houzz that’s relevant for Christmas but many of the suggestions would be simple to tweak for Hanukah or any other winter celebration so I want to share it with you.

I love a lot of the ideas but #2, #9, #14, and #20  are on my to-do list this holiday season. #20 I will use as a centerpiece.

I like my decor…it suits me and I have lots of family mementos here and there. So it’s kind of hard for me to replace any of them even for a few weeks! But I do. I remove some and replace them with holiday pieces. Okay, I’ll admit it’s a nice change and it’s festive.

A few ideas you might want to try:

Holiday Bows and Ribbons

Lamp with BowOne way to easily add holiday charm is to tie bows around lamps. If you already use candles, you can do the same thing…tie bows around the candle base or holder. I even tie bows around plants in pretty pots!

Using ribbon and bows is easy, cheap (cheap is good) and clearly creative, don’t you think?

If you don’t want to make your own bows, they’re pretty much available everywhere holiday decorations are sold.

Or order online…the bow on this lamp is from! There are dozens of bows and ribbons and you-name-it holiday decor on Etsy.

Mirrors and Mantles and Holiday Plants

Hang holiday towels in your bathrooms, especially your guest bath, and place a candle on the vanity.

Fancy up your mirrors and mantles with garlands, too.

Apartment Therapy has a post on 7 Holiday Houseplants for People Who Are Bored With Poinsettias.  Check the link for pictures.

  • Amaryllis
  • Paperwhites
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Holly
  • Norfolk Island Pine

Holiday Party Ideas:

So you’ve got the house all decked out. The next thing to think about is celebrating the season with a party. So much fun!

Holiday Buffet Table

A Beautfiul Holiday Buffet Table

Are you entertaining?  A buffet is an ideal way to serve party fare whether it’s a small gathering or a large party.

In a small space, a sit-down meal is not going to work for a larger gathering. But even if you have room, a buffet is easier to prepare and easier for cleaning up after the party.

Serving finger food is the best idea.

Just have enough small plates (and napkins) so guests can help themselves to a variety of offerings.

  • Trays of sandwiches
  • An assortment of cheeses and crackers
  • Fruit kabobs
  • A relish tray
  • Cookies or bars for dessert
  • A beverage bar

Tempting  Holiday Food and Beverages

Here’s a super scrumptious recipe for any time of the year but perfect for a holiday party.

It’s from Alyssa, the creative blogger at My Sequined Life.  It’s a keeper, for sure.

Crispy and Baked Toasted Ravioli

It takes about 30 minutes, total, to make.

Simple ingredients include refrigerated ravioli (one of my favorite go-tos for a quick meal) and marinara sauce. A few herbs, an egg and panko crumbs and you’re good to go.

The Beverage Bar

It’s a good idea to have a separate setting for the beverages you’re going to offer, especially if you’re setting up a full bar.  Have lots of disposible glasses and napkins.  Some suggestions:

  • Mulled Wine
  • Mimosas
  • Hot Buttered Rum
  • Irish Cream Liqueur (It’s so easy to make, too!)
  • Cocoa (on a cold snowy night)
  • Hot Apple Cider

You might just want to serve wine and beer or eggnog or punch. If you have a punch or eggnog station, offer non-alcoholic choices, too.

Try Martha Stewart’s recipe for Cranberry Orange Punch

Be sure to check out Good Housekeeping’s post featuring  35 Boozy Christmas Cocktails with creative names like:

  • Thinking Cap Cocktail
  • Ginger Bee Sting
  • Cranberry Mimosa
  • White Christmas Margarita
  • Cinnamon Rosemary Old Fashioned
  • Jingle Juice

How fun is that?

Well, other than getting out your guest list and gathering your thoughts, you should be good to go for a celebration everyone will remember.

Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to post pictures and stories about memorable holiday celebrations.

I’ll keep this post updated. Stay tuned.

Cheryl K Logo


Gettin’ Blitzened Stemless Glass

Give one-of-a-kind gifts to everyone on your list


Bar Carts are Still Hot!

Call me old fashioned bar cartBar Carts – A New Idea for Home Decor

We’ve discussed the importance of multi-purpose furnishings for small spaces. There are multitudes of multi-purpose pieces but one of the hottest is the bar cart!

By the way, do you love this Call Me Old Fashioned Wall Art?  I sure do! I ordered one for myself and it’s a real conversation starter. To be honest, an Old Fashioned is my favorite cocktail.

This print is:

  • Professionally printed on 100lb paper
  • Paper is acid-free with a smooth finish
  • Archival inks guaranteed to be fade-resistant for 100 years

Bar carts/serving carts are perfect for almost every room in your home.

Obviously, the bar cart is meant to be..well, a bar cart! It will look lovely in your dining or living area but, more important, it’s excellent storage…especially if cupboard space is lacking. Plus it’s super easy to move wherever the party is happening.

Use one in the kitchen as a place to store baskets and serving pieces. The top can double as a countertop for rolling out cookie dough or whipping up a batch of muffins.

In a bathroom as a spot for fluffy towels and bath salts and a bouquet of flowers! Pretty as can be and useful, too.

In a bedroom as a nightstand! In an office area for whatever you need to have within reach.

Here are two of my favorites:

Myra Rustic Bar Cart

This wood and metal bar cart from Tribecca Home is rustic but elegant and easily fits in a contemporary or traditional room.

The top tray is removable and it has two locking wheels.   Plus, it boasts these custom features:

1. Poplar wood and black sand metal materials

2. Wineglass inserts, tray top, bottom storage, metal hardware pulls, two (2) locking wheels

3. Tray top depth: 2.86 inches Bottom storage depth: 5.86 inches

I must tell you that Amazon has dozens and dozens of Bar Carts for whatever your particular style is…contemporary, traditional, funky, rustic…you name it and I promise you’ll find just what you’re looking for to round out the decor in your small space.

If you’re an Amazon Prime Member, shipping is fast and free!

Here’s a classy contemporary cart.  It’s chrome with black tempered glass shelves.  Since it’s on wheels (most of them are) it could easily be wheeled onto your deck or patio for an outdoor party or barbecue.our

There are many ways to use a bar cart…as a nightstand, a coffee station, a plant stand, etc.

You must check out these great photos and ideas in this Apartment Therapy post:  7 Other Ways to Use a Bar Cart

You’ll find an idea that’ll work for you that you haven’t even thought of!

Build Your Own Barcart Tutorial!

I’ve just found a clever DIYer who has posted a tutorial for constructing your own bar cart. Here’s the link:  DIY Outdoor Rolling Bar Cart  

I think I’d like to use the copper tubing just the way it is but painting it black is a fine idea, too. What do you think?

Do you have a bar cart or serving cart that you’re using for it’s traditional purpose or in a unique way? I’d love to see photos.

Please do comment and if you have a question, I’ll be happy to give you my best answer!

(Edited 9/21/2018)

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