By David H. Wulff, AIA

I am intrigued by small spaces.  At times large spaces are overwhelming.  Smaller spaces seem to have a certain amount of charm.  However a small space needs to have the right type of design and decoration.  Otherwise it is just, well, a small space.  Here are some ideas to consider for various small spaces.

Take the opposite wall from the source of light, whether it’s a door or window—and mirror the entire wall in three vertical sections.  The middle section should constitute 50% of the wall, and the two side panels should be 25% each.  It’s an elegant look and doubles the room visibly.

If you have a narrow kitchen, have as few upper cabinets as possible.  Consider using a few well-placed shelves.  Get rid of “stuff”, especially on the countertops.  Choose one set of dishes for all occasions and one set of glasses.  Those stemless wineglasses work for juice, cocktails, wine.  Live only with what you love and use daily.

Take the focus off the architecture and focus on an astonishing object—it can be anything from a specimen plant to an awesome painting.

Got some mirrors?  Make a collection of them – antique, new, vintage, French, Italian.  Starting with one large mirror in the center, arrange a grouping on one wall.  It’s the one instance where “more is more”.

Panel a small room in paint-grade raised or recessed paneling, using tone-on-tone light colors.  Keep it airy.  And if the room doesn’t already have a fireplace, add a wonderful mantelpiece for warmth and depth.

Another take on color: saturate the space with one medium or dark color, such as moss, warm dark gray or chocolate brown.  Use it on every door, ceiling, trim and window frames.  It‘s as if you’re dripping the whole room in a bucket of paint.  It takes away all the boundaries and you are left with the infinity of the universe.

Small spaces can be fun.  So go ahead and try a few things.  Who knows, you my even enjoy it.


DAVID H. WULFF, ARCHITECT welcomes the design challenges presented by new projects and is dedicated to developing innovative design solutions to meet every project requirement.

David H. Wulff, AIA, 167 Trails End, Lake Lure, NC 828-625-5537,