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Big Ideas for Styling a Small Space

We partnered with Christina Murphy, designer at Christina Murphy Interiors. Recognized as one of the nation’s top designers, she brings her unique style to a new collection of furniture available exclusively at select Tuesday Morning stores. Check how to use these stylish pieces with her expert tips on small living space and apartment decorating.

Whether you are a an urban dweller settling into cozy quarters or a college student moving into your first dorm room, decorating a small space does not have to be a frustrating experience. As a designer working and living in New York, I can tell you that there is no shortage of ways to make a big statement in a small space!

Here are a few things to keep in mind to maximize your area when you’re not working with a lot of square footage.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Regardless of the size of the space, I always work with its existing features when I am designing. This is even more important in cramped quarters because you obviously want to bring in as few items as possible. If a room has incredible light, I go for a bright, clean look. On the flip side, a dark room can become a cozy cave with furnishings in luxe materials and rich colors. Creating a focal point is also critical in small-space design, so look to existing architecture for inspiration. If your living room has a magnificent mantle, for example, focus on that rather than bringing in a different statement piece.

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Keep It Simple

When decorating a small area, simplicity is key! I recommend staying away from layered patterns or combining furniture styles. A busy design creates visual clutter, which makes a room seem smaller. Instead, pick strong, high-quality pieces that will work hard for you. And remember, simple does not have to mean boring! There are plenty of options to add interest without clutter. To keep things fun, include a pop of color with a chair or table in a bright hue. A great chair in eye-catching fuchsia – like this slipper chair from my collection at Tuesday Morning – creates contrast and provides a good distraction from the lack of extra room.


Mind the Scale

This may seem like a no-brainer, but pay special attention to scale when selecting your furniture. You want items that won’t overpower your room. Instead, go for items that create the illusion of space. Armless chairs and open tables work well because they allow flow among all the pieces in a room.

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Hard At Work

When picking out pieces for tight quarters, I am always looking for great pieces of furniture that can do double or even triple duty. These nesting tables from my Tuesday Morning collection are a fantastic solution. The smaller and larger table can be paired for an interesting surface, used separately or nested for extra space.



The biggest thing to remember when trying to maximize a small space is to make it yours! No matter how much room you have, this is truly the only way to make it feel like home.

Find out about Christina Murphy’s product collection exclusively available at select Tuesday Morning stores HERE!

For even more dorm room and apartment decorating ideas, follow Tuesday Morning on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.