So you’re a little short on space. You can see it as a shortcoming—or an opportunity to think big, and maybe a little outside the box. With a few smart choices, you can transform a spatially challenged room into all that it deserves it be: cozy and functional, streamlined yet full of style.

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Lighten Up.

If you’re looking to save space, consider this lighting tip: trading in a table lamp or floor lamp for a wall-mounted sconce. In bedrooms, a hot trend is flanking ceiling-mounted pendant lights by the bedside. They enhance ceiling height and spare the need for table lamps or floor lamps.

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Think Multifunctional.

You’re a multitasker. Maybe your furniture should be, too. Coffee tables with slider or lift tops (revealing storage underneath). Beds with built-in drawers. They’re just the start. No wonder the clean-lined Parsons table came to be in NYC, where living space comes at a premium. It works beautifully as a desk and an intimate dining table.

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Size Accordingly.

  • In living rooms: Whoever said you have to have a sofa? If space is tight, opt for a chic loveseat or a settee (if you’re working a very vintage look) as your main seating piece. Nesting tables make the most of your cozy nest, too. When entertaining, you can arrange them around the room. When not, tuck them away.
  • In bedrooms: You might opt for a tall armoire instead of a wider dresser to accommodate your wardrobe needs. It’ll create a smaller furniture footprint and lead your eye up toward a “higher” ceiling. Don’t fret if space constraints force you to give your bed a slightly unusual placement (such as in front of windows). You can still work in a headboard that allows light to come through.

Go Long on Style.

Interior designers have their tricks when it comes to making spaces seem larger (or taller) than they are. To make ceilings look higher, hang rods (for your full-length curtains) really close to the ceiling. If you have crown molding, two inches below that. Also, extend the rod at least four inches on either side of the window. The window will appear wider, and also let in more light.

Reflect to Deflect.

What’s an easy yet tried-and-true way to open up space? Mirrors. Beyond the bed and bath, mirrors do much more than help you check your look. By reflecting light, they brilliantly deflect the fact that you’re short on space. Mirrors miraculously give flat walls the illusion of depth and dark zones (such as entryways or hallways) newfound energy.