Anyone who’s ever had to deal with a tiny apartment knows that small space living comes with its own set of challenges.

It doesn’t mean designing these spaces is impossible. With a little planning and forethought, even the most cramped spaces can become equal parts functional and eye-catching.

If you’re dealing with tight square footage and aren’t quite sure where to start, you’re in luck. We asked some interior design pros to share their best tips for designing small spaces. Keep reading to see what they had to say.

Think it through

“Make sure to be precise as to the function of the space. Ask yourself questions about how you use the room. For example, do you need storage for kids toys? Is a sectional a necessity or will a sofa and a chair be fine? Would a round table be a better fit for your dining area? Asking these types of questions will help you identify your specific problem areas — and viable solutions before you start to purchase furnishings, which will ultimately save you time and money. ” — Basia Falcon, owner and head designer of Sycamore & Grayin Highland Park, IL.

Don’t discount a statement piece

“Get the size right! Too often consumers think my space is small so I’ll buy a bunch of small pieces. Top designers know that’s the exact opposite of good space planning — one stunning statement piece of anything always makes a better impact than many busy small items just creating visual clutter.” — Charmaine Wynter of Charmaine Wynter Interiors Southlake, TX

Opt for lifted lighting

“In smaller spaces, flat areas like the floor and table tops are at a premium, so consider lighting solutions that hang in the air like wall sconces by your sofa and pendant lighting by your bed. However, if your home relies on recessed can lighting for most of its illumination, be sure to layer in some floor or table lamps so that you have light casting up onto your ceiling, too. Leaning too heavily on recessed lighting tends to leave the ceiling in darkness, and that makes any space feel smaller.” — Rebecca West, Interior Designer at Seriously Happy Homes in Seattle, WA

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