Design Recipes: How to maximize furniture placement in small spaces

By Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

Whether a bedroom, living room or other space, regardless of the home’s size, some of the biggest furniture placement challenges often come from rooms that are oddly shaped or overly small. How do you properly place furniture? Here are some top tips for small spaces.


1. Consider placing the headboard against a window in bedrooms. This is typically not a first choice, but it may help keep a space open and spacious.

2. Use a light and bright color scheme. Smaller rooms tend to appear overly dark.

3. Use a minimal amount of furniture. These rooms can feel overstuffed when too much furniture is used.

4. Use furniture that is smaller in scale. Furniture pieces that are over-sized will tend to overwhelm a small space.

5. Use neutral wall colors. Dark colors will tend to close in a small space.

An oddly shaped room is transformed into a functional and comfortable home office.


1. Use loud or busy patterns in small spaces. They will tend to overwhelm.

2. Forget the power of proper furniture placement. Planning is key.

3. Paint ceilings a color other than the color white in small spaces. Any other color will make a small space feel smaller.

4. Forget to use mirrors. Mirrors can really go a long way in helping open a small space.

5. Make small rooms nonfunctional. Consider turning a small room into a home office, nursery or small bedroom.

 A small room is made functional as a bedroom through the use of a hidden bed that folds away. (Design Recipes/TNS)

 Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at