When I was 16 and working my first job, I decided to take some of my hard-earned cash and decorate my room. I bought a “bed in a bag” set in the color teal, and accented with some purple pictures and my hot pink teddy bear. A David Bromstad I was not! Although I will not be winning (or even competing in) any Design Star Challenges (I miss that show!), I have learned a few things about decorating a space (namely, don’t buy “bed in bag” sets). Here are my personal (unprofessional) tips for decorating a tiny space.
Think Pretty Yet Functional
There just isn’t any room to waste on unnecessary items in a 300 square foot house. With that being said – if you are going to be limited to one candle, make it a pretty one. Peel off the labels. Use pretty baskets to hide items in plain sight. I had a basket on top of the refrigerator that held my cloth napkins. I used decorative bins to hold my cleaning supplies and medicines.
Create a Focal Point
In our main living space, I placed the piano on the main wall. On it, I put a decorative lamp; above the piano I put one piece of art. That’s it. We had to sacrifice the tv that would normally go there, but it made for a much more relaxing atmosphere. Bonus was that we received so many compliments on how nice our living room looked. That is nice to hear, especially when there is a refrigerator in your living room!
Create Some Mood Lighting
I remember the day I realized how much lighting could affect a mood. We were visiting someone in Africa, and we walked into a room that was only lit by lamps. It created such a homey, cozy look and was such a pleasant contrast to the harsh, brilliant daylight outside. Ever since then, I try to create that same cozy feeling by turning on lamps during the evening hours. In the tiny house, I would turn off the overhead light and turn on the lamp by the piano after dinner each evening; this was a subtle hint that it was time to relax and quiet the noise (or at least take it outside!)
Limit Your Color Palette
The tiny house we rented had beige wallpaper walls. I chose a blue and beige art piece for above the piano, blue and beige throws for our two recliners, and a blue candle. But that blue really stood out against all the beige; any more colors and we would have been overwhelmed!
Choose Meaningful Pieces
Our one piece of artwork displayed the saying “The Will of God Will Never Take You Where the Grace of God Will Not Protect You.” That quote has significant meaning in our family – it has sustained us during emotional transitional periods of our life. The artwork itself is valueless – a mass production piece we bought from Kirklands. But the sentiment that it held for us encouraged us during those times we questioned our life-altering decisions. Coming home and seeing that saying on the wall made this tiny rented home more peaceful, and more like our home.
Limit Yourself – Less is more
In fact, when decorating a tiny house, less can almost be too much! One solitary candle could make the entire house smell great. One midsize clock can fill an entire wall. Don’t fill up your limited flat surfaces with picture frames. Ruthlessly get rid of all clutter – even a little will overwhelm such a small space, and become the unattractive focal point.
Appeal to all the Senses
Burn a candle to make the house smell nice. Bake chocolate chip cookies – that smells good and tastes good! Play some soft background music (no need for an expensive stereo system – your phone’s speaker can handle a tiny house just fine). Make sure the beds are covered with cozy fabrics – you’ll be using them as seating during the day! Finally, be ruthless about getting rid of clutter – even a little will overwhelm the space quickly (maybe even create feelings of claustrophobia or anxiety).
Most importantly, my goal in decorating this tiny house was not to impress others, but rather to make my family feel like they were walking into a warm embrace when they entered the house (which might be slightly ironic since I’m not a hugger). And even though we are in a bigger space (900 square feet), I still use all of these strategies to make our house feel like Our Home.