There are people who want to live in small spaces (hello "tiny house" dwellers) and those who have no choice (thanks, NYC rents). Regardless of which bucket you fall in, there are so many solutions to making a small space work. One place to start: Making sure you're picking furniture that opens up a room, saves space, and provides multiple uses. Lucky for you, we've put together a cheat sheet to get your shopping list going.
1. Large Leaning Mirror
Let there be light. Mirrors are great for making small areas feel brighter and larger. Leaning mirrors offer a wide reflective surface to really open up a room. Plus, they don't take up much space. Check out Crate & Barrel's "Colby" leaning mirror ( $349 ) as an option that would work with many decor styles.
2. Room Divider
A classic choice for studio apartments, a boxed shelving unit offers a simple and effective way to create the illusion of separate spaces. The gold standard is Ikea's Kallax series.
3. Mirrored Console
Mirrored surfaces reflect the light in a room, and added light increases the sense of spaciousness. Keep in mind: Large mirrored pieces of furniture tend to be heavy and on the more expensive side. If you're on a budget (or live in a walk-up), you can still achieve a similar effect with a mirrored nightstand or vanity.
4. Striped Rug
We all know that a rug can really change the look of a room (or really pull a room together), and stripes are one of the most basic when it comes to optical illusions. Use a striped rug to make a room feel longer or wider than it really is. Ikea is a great place to start your search — the retailer usually has at least a couple striped rugs at decent prices in stock.
5. Extra-Long Sofa With Tapered Legs
Sofas are notorious space eaters, so choose wisely. Opt for one that stands on legs (lifting the eye up) rather than one that sits on the floor (drawing the eye down). The legs on this sofa from Wayfair ( $658 ) create the effect of height, while its lines have a lengthening effect.
6. Storage Bed
If you are short on space, then a storage bed is an absolute must.
7. Acrylic Coffee Table
This one is a no-brainer. What could make a room feel more spacious than invisible furniture? An acrylic coffee table like this one from All Modern ( $219.99 ) is a perfect way to pull of minimalism in a small space.
8. Hideaway Trash Can Kitchen Cart
A logical choice for any small kitchen, this handy product will allow you to hide your trash while creating more storage. This particular model also gives you extra countertop space. If you're feeling ambitious, try out a DIY and make one customized to your kitchen decor.
9. Slim Console Table
Especially handy for entryways, a long, narrow table has an elongating effect. This steel console table from Room & Board ( $349 ) does the trick, making this foyer feel extra wide.
10. Tall Wall-Mounted Bookcase
Thinking tall is always a good rule of thumb when furnishing a small space. Pick up a tall set of shelves like these from CB2 to visually increase the height of a small room.
11. High Chair
Bar-style chairs are an ideal solution to the conundrum of small-space seating. Raise the level of conversation when entertaining guests — literally — with a counter stool like this one, from Crate & Barrel ( $119 ).
12. Kitchen Bar
Let's be honest, a bar of any kind is a pretty kickass addition to any space. And the wall to which it's mounted will appear longer than it actually is, which is an added bonus for any small space.
13. Convertible Table/Desk
Ahh, the genius of the convertible desk or table: Use to furiously craft your Great American Novel (or eat your Great American Breakfast), then fold it all up when you're done. This one from Bed, Bath & Beyond is an affordable option.