Big Ideas for Small Spaces

Warner Moore

Warner Moore
Interior Design
475 N. Highland, #12 A Memphis, Tennessee 38122
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Small spaces can be a real challenge. One must decide the function and mood of the room. There are many things to consider. Let’s explore some of them.
For a light and airy room pale, cool colors make the walls recede. Greens, blues, lavenders, and whites expand the space visually. A hard finish such as eggshell or pearl is light reflective, which helps to illuminate. Paint the same color on walls and trim for visual continuity. This unifies the space. Using different shades of the same color, walls, furniture and accessories create a coherence that makes the space feel more open. Opt for lighter on the floor as well as walls. This helps create an airy feeling.
Scale is of utmost importance. Keep furniture small in scale. Use sofas and chairs that show legs not skirts. Don’t use overstuffed upholstery. This keeps the space from looking cumbersome. Place larger furniture on the wall opposite the entrance so it will not crowd the space. Make use of glass and lucite in your small space. Several coffee and end tables are offered in the medium as well as sofa tables. These pieces take up very little space visually.
Using mirrors in a small room can achieve a sense of depth. Placing mirrors on opposite walls facing each other enhance depth immensely. They also add light and sparkle. Mirrors create the illusion. It’s all “smoke and mirrors” as they say.
Always think vertically in a small space. Use tall furniture and built ins to draw the eye upward. If using curtains or shades, start them at the crown molding for maximum height. Vertically striped wallpaper and fabrics also create the illusion. When using drapery, extend the rod so curtains don’t partially cover the window. Windows are a small rooms best friend. They draw the eye outward to bring in the landscape. Wallpapering the ceiling also draws the eye up. Anything that moves your eye up makes the room look larger.
Overhead lighting in a small space is the kiss of death. Always use lamps to spread light around the room. Small pools of light enhance and romanticize the space.
Make use of hidden storage through multipurpose furnishings. Use ottomans for storage and extra seating. End tables with drawers and a trunk for a coffee table are excellent choices. Tall bookcases are also a great storage option and add visual interest. They could be painted the same color as the wall so they would visually recede. That goes for case pieces as well.
As I said, use small-scale furniture. Now I say use large scale accessories sparingly. A large painting anchors the space. Don’t do a montage of small pictures that clutter the walls. A few well-placed objects are much better than small collections that confuse the eye. One must avoid clutter at all costs. Remember this overall truth. Keep it Simple.

Anthony Shaw

Anthony Shaw Style
2485 Parkway Place
Memphis, TN 38112
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I’ve been working as a designer for more than 20 years and small space challenges come up all the time. For me, creating mood is all about the art of the mix and I combine textures, hues, and objects that span decades and epitomize the personality of my client. I really start by looking at the room itself, whether it is a powder bath or a living area, and so forth. Identifying the needs of the place and pulling out what’s in my imagination is where it all begins. No space is too small.

The dining room is an area of the home that I find should be intimate, and there are so many ways to get the most out of it if it’s a tight space. This is a room for sharing important meals along with the everyday pleasures of life and it can range from chic to sexy and anywhere in between.


What’s trending right now in Memphis is a monochromatic palette with fabric, walls, and accessories all matching. I really don’t follow trends that will leave a room dated in just a few years because I always want to be sure a space feels good, whether it’s done today or was done years ago.
After meeting with my clients, I look at their goals, what I want for them, and I tend to push the envelope in creating the right atmosphere. In a dining room, texture and drama are important. In small places I will choose a dominant wall. From there, I will choose paper, artwork, or sculpture to be the focal point. Oftentimes, I will use mirrors to create greater illusions and layer lighting for added impact.
Honestly, small spaces are fun challenges and really shape my projects in ways that are welcome surprises. My aesthetic ranges from traditional, to Mid-Century, to contemporary, and striking the balance between seriousness and comfort in any client’s home.

Rachel Gray

Rachel Gray
Interior Design & Consulting 496 S. Main St. # 201
Memphis, Tennessee 38103 901.443.5454
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The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.Socrates
My younger self would scoff at that sentiment and navigate in the opposite direction, but with the passage of time, my middle-aged self accepts the concept of “less is more”. National trends show more Americans embracing the “less is more” attitude by choosing smaller, simpler living spaces – especially millennials. The lure of a small space is undeniable for numerous reasons and connotes a coziness only achieved by a limited amount of square feet, hence the photographed image, which is from a recent installation of a small paneled library approximately 180 square feet.
Not all small spaces are created equal, but here are a few things to consider…
Pattern and texture are companions like grilled cheese and tomato soup. Tomato soup alone is sufficient, but adding the cheesy component elevates the whole experience. Likewise, using a mix of soft fabrics with pattern and texture adds great depth. Use caution selecting these fabrics as too much pattern can overwhelm a diminutive space and a lack of pattern can create a dull vibe.
Too little scale and proportion can wreak havoc on a small space just like too much salt or pepper can ruin a dish. Select furniture that does not overpower the room and is appropriate for the room’s purpose. Upholster furniture in fabrics that are similar to the wall color so your eye flows through the room rather than stopping on one particular piece. Installing one large piece in the room, such as artwork or a mirror, adds drama as well as scale. A large mirror will also reflect light and make the room seem larger than it’s actual size. Similarly, an exaggerated (large) flush-mount lighting fixture installed on a ceiling instantly opens up the room adding to the scale and proportion of the room.
If your space is somewhat lackluster, consider adding architectural details, such as picture frame molding to the walls or installing floor to ceiling floating shelves for an instant makeover.


Cindy McCord Design
1289 S. DuBray Place
Collierville, TN 38017
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First of all, choose a paint color that provides a beautiful background for fabrics and furnishings. Benjamin Moore’s “Linen White” and “Floral White” are two of my favorites. Paint walls, trim, ceilings and cabinets all the same color to give the space a more unified look.
Evaluate your amount of natural light and take advantage of every bit of it! Do not cover your windows and doors with heavy treatments, but use light-weight solid panels that are mounted on the outside of the windows. This creates warmth and softness in the space. Using simple hardware in iron or wood in soft tones or finishes also helps to create the smooth, clean open- space feel. The scale of furnishings you use is so important in a small space.
Cindy McCord There are many options for comfortable or interesting seating without using oversized upholstery pieces. Once again, using solids and textures for the bigger pieces can help give the space an airy feel. Then, use a splash of color or design in your sofa or chair accent pillows. Interesting pieces of art can complement and add to a space.
Don’t over accessorize. Use a few of your favorite pictures and items that mean something to you. Keep things simple and clean!
Soft lighting with table and floor lamps are so important. Lamps needs to be near areas where one might sit to read. I always like to leave one lamp on so when I come in to a room at night it feels more welcoming. I use soft, pink light bulbs and I love everything on dimmers.
So whether you are working with a studio, small apartment or starter home, just remember, simple is better!