10 Small-Space Living Tips

Calgary interior designers and decorators share advice on living small.

photograph courtesy of synlawn


Despite our city’s reputation for having a bigger-is-better mentality, many people are jumping on board with a surprising new trend: small-space living. A small living space is often defined as apartments and condos of less than 400 square feet, townhouses under 900 square feet and houses under 1,000 square feet.

Amanda Hamilton

Amanda Hamilton Design

Photograph courtesy of Synlawn.

“With smaller condos, green space is at a minimum. Turn your concrete pad into a Bohemian oasis. Adding heat lamps and artificial grass from companies like SYNLawn will make your balcony feel like a backyard in the sky.”

Alykhan Velji

Alykhan Velji Designs

Photograph by Jared Sych.

“Have fun in smaller spaces by injecting bold patterns and colour. This will create a dynamic space that is uniquely yours. Be sure you are repeating colours, as that will help create consistency.”

Connie Young

Connie Young Design


“Choose your furniture wisely. Ensure that it is flexible to move around depending on function, like an island on wheels.”

Deana Lewis


Photograph courtesy of DOODL.

“Built-in furniture and architectural elements add order to small spaces. Tailored to a room, they allow for seamless integration of furniture and architecture, supporting the multitude of ‘tasks’ a room performs.”

Kate Allen

Frank Architecture

“Mount hardware, like door handles and switches, low. This simple consideration has a nice effect on a room’s proportions – which makes the space feel taller, cleans up sight lines and achieves a purist aesthetic.

“Light switches are typically mounted 1,200 mm from the finished floor; I like to mount them at 1,000 mm.”

Kevin Mitchell

Mitchell Design House


“Keep flooring consistent throughout the space and run it in the same direction as the longest walls, elongating the space. Every transition forms a psychological barrier that defines a space.”

Majida Devani

Building Bloc Design (BBLOC)

Photograph courtesy of BBLOC.

“Think vertically. Upside-down Sky Planters are a creative way to add greenery and colour from the ceiling. Wall-hung bike racks make a room feel more open.”

Nyla Free

Nyla Free Designs

“Don’t let your small space drag you down. A cluttered space feels small and clogs the brain. Editing down to the necessities leaves homes feeling larger and more enjoyable to spend time in.”

Reena Sotropa

Reena Sotropa In House Design Group

Use materials and finishes that allow light to pass through or reflect. Glass tables, Lucite chairs and metallic surfaces incorporate this detail. Smoked or antique mirrors add sparkle, texture and visually expand rooms.”

Shane Rennie

Rectangle Design Inc.

“If you’re only covering 500 square feet, maybe you can afford nice hardwood or marble tile. Luxury finishes become more accessible in small spaces, so show it off.”

Sign up for Avenue’s Home & Shopping Newsletter for inspiration and ideas from our local retail, design and decor community.

This article appears in the February 2016 issue of Avenue Calgary.

Related posts

Calgary Style: How to Dress for Dinner


Spring Art and Craft Markets In and Around Calgary


No One Expects You to Have a Big Fat Wedding Anymore

Tsering Asha

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Privacy Policy

Privacy & Cookies Policy
Avenue Calgary