Small Space Design Tips From LA Designer Kyle Schuneman


Tackling a small space is a familiar—and welcome—challenge for Los Angeles designer Kyle Schuneman. The designer grew up in a 1,200-square-foot apartment with his sister and parents and has preferred a petite footprint ever since. Schuneman shares his small-space savvy in his book The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces. Whether you rent a studio in downtown San Francisco or own a manse in Studio City, you likely have at least one small space in your home, and Schuneman has some big ideas for you.

1. Don’t let a small space stifle a big statement: Small rooms don’t need to tell little stories. Most people choose diminutive patterns and pieces for rooms that are square-footage challenged, but not Schuneman. “I decorated this small-scale dining room with a large-scale chevron wall pattern,” he says. The oversize graphic makes the room feel more dramatic.

2. Show a little leg to open up a space: What do top supermodels and successful small-space furniture have in common? Long, lean legs. Schuneman makes cramped rooms feel more open by choosing pieces with narrow legs. For instance, in this dining room, he used a long table and folding chairs with slender stems.

3. If you hate the way it looks, hide it: “It’s like fashion: Accentuate what you have, cover what you don’t,” Schuneman says. He painted ugly fireplace bricks white and a worn mantel jet black. He spray-painted  accessories with less-than-attractive textures (a pair of busts and shipping box arrows arranged in a X), giving them a new look.

4. Turn the focus on focal points: In this bedroom, Schuneman uses temporary wallpaper for a pop of color and visual texture behind the white headboard, making it an arresting focal point. “A bedroom should feel sumptuous,” he says. “When you don’t have a lot of space, creating a really visual headboard wall is key.”



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