06/27/2011 05:09 pm ET Updated Aug 27, 2011

Living Large in Small Spaces

One of my pet peeves is when I hear people complaining about how they can't decorate their home nicely because it is just too small. Living large is possible for everyone, no matter how teeny tiny that home of yours is. I promise!

Contain Yourself
Just like fashion, less is more -- especially when it comes to a tight space. The more items in view means the more crowded and cluttered the room appears.  No need to cart your cherished belongings to the dumpster in order to stretch out, simply contain as much as you can in stylish storage.  Find a spot for every item so that there are only a few things on tables and desks.  Try putting small items in colored boxes or decorative bins. I used gorgeous storage bins from Office Depot recently on an NBC makeover in plum and black that were sophisticated and glam! Who knew?
Get Your Furniture On The Scale!

Find the right fit for your furniture.  I constantly see people with large and overstuffed furniture a la Pottery Barn that overwhelms a small room! Replace with trim, tailored pieces more in scale with the space. Take note of the heaviest piece in the room, whether a couch or a chest, and place it along a wall to save space.  For more balance, position another weighty item across from it.  For smaller furniture pieces such as chairs, place them diagonally in corners to not only look inviting, but to open up the room.  With sleek furniture and an uncluttered floor plan established, find something the eye can focus on when entering.  Invest in as many multi-tasking pieces as possible, like a coffee table that doubles as seating and also has built-in storage or a compact drop-leaf table that opens up to a desk or dining  table for guests. And I love anything on wheels for mobility!
Lighten Up Your Windows

Dark spaces are downers. Adding mirrors that act as virtual windows will enhance the light a room receives. Hang them so they can reflect something you want to see like artwork or the outdoor scenery.  Brighten the room with window coverings that make the most of mood-enhancing natural light. Silhouette window shadings from Hunter Douglas are a good start.  Their design softens harsh sunlight as it enters while drawing it deeper into the room and offers view-through and protection from UV rays to boot. I love products that multitask, don't you?
Color that Creates Space
Color is one of the most powerful ways to affect a space, period. Keep in mind that bold and warm hues make a room feel cozy, while light and cool tones instantly expand the space. Try light yellow, soothing soft blue or the no-fail-ivory on walls.  Personally, I love color but back away from a crayon box assortment and suggest adding only a few "pop" colors and patterns on pillows, art or tabletop accessories.  Always use a good quality paint like Sherwin-Williams or similar name brand. Cheap paint looks cheap and acts cheap. Another thing to remember is that your computer is so not an accurate measure of a color. Make the trip to the paint store, people. Please!

Divvy It Up
Sometimes what matters most is to not just have an open design, but a place of one's own.  Dividers are red-hot right now and perfect for small spaces. Try a decorative divider such as Hunter Douglas Skyline Gliding Window Panels that have a track system that allows it to be used as a room divider as well as a window treatment.  Available in 11-1/2-inch or 17-inch panels that overlap for continuous coverage as well as in an assortment of fabrics in the latest colors, textures and patterns. The product also coordinates with Hunter Douglas Designer Screen Shades and Roller Shades for a cohesive look on horizontal and vertical openings. They've made it pretty easy to work with by coordinating other products. Hayneedle also offers a gorgeous selection of screen room dividers with a big emphasis on design.

I have lived in a very small studio apartment and a very spacious house. No matter the size of the space, the most important thing is that you are happy and comfortable in that place you call home.


Check your local TV listings for more of Courtney Cachet's style ideas and tips. You can catch her frequent appearances on NBC nationwide where she dishes out all the latest in home and lifestyle! Keep up with her on Facebook and join the conversation!