14 Ways to Maximize a Skinny Space
Transform a Narrow Spot With Clever Design, Space Savers and Tricks of the Eye
I'm a freelance writer and design enthusiast who believes the best design is collected, not decorated, and that homes should always be as comfortable and functional as they are chic. In addition to writing for Houzz, I work as the Head Copywriter for Layla Grayce and Zinc Door.
I'm a freelance writer and design enthusiast who believes the best design... More »
Unfortunately, there are no rules dictating that all rooms in a home must be spacious and appropriately sized for how we’d like to live in them. It inevitably leads to a design conundrum: the narrow space. We city folk know this all too well; with skinny brownstones and townhouses ruling the roost, it’s not uncommon for length to beat width, and by a long shot. But don’t let the narrow room intimidate you. If you design it appropriately, you’ll forget that the space is hardly wider than your wingspan. Gather up some inspiration from these photos and treat your skinny space right!
Create a little drama. Ah, the inevitable long, skinny hallway, a popular find in city apartments. Instead of leaving it hopelessly drab, spice it up with dark paint, artwork and a console complete with interesting knickknacks. All of these eye-catching elements will distract from its shape.
Put up a wall-sized mural. When you walk into a small room with oversized wall graphic, your eye immediately jumps to it. Any consideration of the room’s dimensions will be left in the dust.
Keep it clean, organized, and easily accessible. Narrow kitchens are no place for clutter, so be sure you set it up in a way that matches your needs. Hang your pans so you can grab them on the fly, keep utensils on the countertop in chic displays. The lighter slate flooring helps to brighten the area and make it feel airier.
Get crafty with storage. When space is tight, creative storage is key. Maximize it a slim pull-out pantry so you can leave the rest of the cabinetry to the essentials.
Utilize mirrors and glass doors in the bathroom. Cover as much of the wall above the vanity with a mirror as possible, and don’t stop there: continue it around the room to make it feel even larger. Install a glass door for the shower vs. a curtain so the room continues to visually extend.
Keep things tidy. The last thing you want in a narrow closet are clothes strewn about the floor. If everything is on display and easily accessible, it makes choosing your outfit that much easier and therefore, fewer hasty wardrobe changes.
Double the use of your kitchen island. Build an island that works as a preparation space and an eating area with room to stash stools out of the way under the counter. Not only does it maximize the use of the island, but it brings everyone to the same spot while dinner is being made.
Create separate seating areas. Instead of finding long, narrow living areas awkward, think of it as the ultimate entertaining space. Work in couches, ottomans, and a dining table to let guests wander and chat in different areas of the room.
Bring in the Lucite. Lucite is always a beneficial call when it comes to small or narrow rooms. By pairing a heavier, wooden table with Lucite chairs, this skinny dining room doesn’t feel overpowered with stuff.
Add windows. An airier feel makes any space feel larger, so maximize sunlight throughout. This wall could have easily remained solid, but the windows take away the cramped feel of this narrow spot.
Complement a lengthy room with wide accessories. Long, narrow rooms ultimately create a lot of spacious walls, so fill them with wide artwork and double-wide fireplaces. Choose artwork in a bold color to create a focal point.
Anyone catch the ghost on the stairs?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Mirrors make any room appear larger, so this age-old trick is sure fire in narrow spaces.
Use benches. If you’ve got a skinny entrance to a room, complement it with a narrow bench. Extra seating space is always an appreciated and functional addition.
Consider a Murphy bed. This is a great solve for both narrow rooms and studio apartments. Pull it down at night for a cozy night’s sleep, and fold it up during the day for space aplenty.
More about Murphy beds
Ideabook updated on June 15, 2011.
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