Small living spaces are a reality for more and more homeowners. Studio and one-bedroom condos are becoming more common in Metro Vancouver’s housing market today.

But small spaces don’t have to mean small dreams. By carefully considering decorating techniques, your home can feel much larger than it is.

1. Mirrors are a great way to make a space seem larger. Hang mirrors across from a window to reflect light into the room. Collect several different-sized mirrors and group them on a wall to visually expand the size of the space. A mirror above the sink or under the kitchen cabinets is surprisingly effective.

2. Floating nightstands, tables, and shelves allow for more floor space and a cleaner, airier look. Using a wall-attached table that can fold down provides even more room.

3. Think vertical and use the walls for books and storage. A set of shelves reaching for the ceiling can accommodate a lot of things. For an uncluttered look, use decorative boxes to hold your items.

4. Multifunctional furniture cuts down on the amount you need. There are wall beds (also called Murphy beds) that have attached tables or couches that unfold when you put up the bed. Dual-purpose side tables that, by flipping the lid, become footstools. These pieces have bonus storage space inside. Freestanding bookshelves can also double as room dividers.

5. Get creative with storage ideas. Use a bed with drawers underneath, or one with room to fit attractive boxes. An underused area is the space between kitchen cupboards and the ceiling. Here you can replace the doors so they reach the ceiling, or find attractive containers to sit on top.

6. Create a cohesive, unified space by using complimentary colours throughout on walls, floors, and furniture. For a light and airy feel, it’s best to use a neutral palette. Pops of colour here and there can provide added interest and not overwhelm an area.

7. Avoid clutter, and tidy and clean regularly. If you’re downsizing or love collecting things, now’s the time to seriously consider what you actually need (not want). Donate or remove items you haven’t used in the past year. Curate knickknacks by rotating your collection, like museums and art galleries do. Clean and tidy your place at least every two weeks. The less stuff you have, the quicker and easier this is to achieve.