Living in and Decorating Small Spaces

Beth Eliot- Island Jane Magazine

Nassau Lane is one of those sweet, sweet little lanes that is so tucked away that if you blinked while passing the entrance you would certainly miss it.  It is a little quaint side road right off of Fleming Street in the Old Town section of Key West.  The charming short dead end street has a few tiny conch cottages among some larger historic homes.  It is truly picturesque.  3B Nassau lane is one of the small conch homes which was built in the early 1900’s and has been renovated and updated inside to maximize space.   The result of the restoration is a beautiful, comfortable and almost spacious feeling living space in spite of only having 468 square feet to work with.  The adorable and inviting front porch area of the home personifies just what one might imagine when envisioning a little Key West cottage.  I can just picture how relaxing it must be to sit on the porch of this cute home on this quiet little lane and just simply BE.  Although the living space of the cottage is small, it flows wonderfully from living room to open kitchen with French doors leading out to the almost hidden side deck.  At the rear of the cottage is the bedroom which is cozy, but also surprisingly spacious.

This home has been restored in such a meticulous manner it somehow does not seem to lack in storage or space.  This is not always the case when dealing with small living space, which can be a challenge to decorate and maximize storage.  If you are decorating a small living space here are some hints that you may find helpful:

Tiny spaces don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort.  It is, however, important to take scale and proportion into consideration as you pick furniture and key pieces to decorate a smaller space.

Consider using compact chairs with low backs to keep the room in balance.

Consider creating a dining area from a bar off the kitchen counter rather than having to take up living space with a separate dining area.  Here in Key West often your outdoor space can serve as your entertaining space, so perhaps a large indoor dining room is not required.

Open the kitchen to the living area so the space flows fluidly without obstruction.

Put mirrored wall hangings at opposite walls to reflect light.

Use a narrow coffee table or consider glass table to create the illusion of more space.

Don’t overdo it with art on the walls if you want to create an impression of large space.  Too much art work can make the space feel smaller and cramped.  With that said, we have so many incredible local artists here in the Keys, it may be well worth it to forego this suggestion and use your small home as your place to showcase your great taste in local talent!

Add pops of color in key pieces. Layer pillows for extra interest, but make sure the scale of the accessories is not overwhelming to the space and furniture.

Capitalizing on natural light and using paint colors are the easiest and most cost effective ways to open up a small space.  Natural sunlight streaming through windows or shades always gives an open airy feeling, even to a smaller space.

Whether your home is big or small – in a city, and island or a suburb –  love your space – make it yours – and have fun with your decorating!

Originally from Minneapolis, after 17 years in corporate America she traded in her high heels for flip flops and now thoroughly revels in island life… professionally and personally!

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