5 Easy Design Tips for Small Spaces
Updated: Nov 9, 2022
If you’re into travel trailers as much as we are, you know how it feels to want your caravan to feel spacious even when it’s the size of a small studio. At Roam To Root, we know a thing or two about turning small-space trailers into (gorgeous) livable homes.
You might think that you need to do some serious downsizing or sacrifice items you love, but here’s a secret: practical, functional, and beautiful are all possible! It all starts with the planning process. If you’re just starting your travel trailer journey, or in the throes of it, here are 5 design tips to help you optimize your space!
Number One - “The Great Purge”
Yup, we’re Marie Kondo-ing it. First, take inventory of what you currently have. Some of us are natural minimalists that have one spoon and sleep on a mattress on the floor. For the rest of us, we love our things and a daily Target run is a necessity in life. Decluttering and getting rid of the objects (clothes, kitchen items..etc) that no longer bring you joy (or serve a purpose) is essential to living in a small space. Be intentional about your belongings.
Clutter and overly chunky items can make a space feel chaotic and tight. When you don’t have an abundance of storage space (to hide away all 15 of your spatulas), a great option is to simply be more intentional with what you chose to own. A great read to help your journey with simplifying your home is Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
In our Leroy airstream remodel, the only decor in the kitchen also served daily functional needs: cooking utensils, a teapot, spices, mugs, and bowls.
Number Two - Light Is Your Friend
Spaces with more light appear to have more space, and there are two ways to help achieve this. First, light paint colors can make a room feel lighter and brighter. Focus on using whites, off-whites, or muted tones for painting your walls. Once your base is set, layer in deeper or more saturated colors to help the space feel balanced.
Along with light colors, mirrors are a great way to bounce around light. Practically speaking, a mirror's main purpose in life is to help you check out your cute outfit before you leave the house, but wait there’s more! Placed by a window, natural light can't help but be reflected and travel around the room. More light translates into the feeling of more space.
We used Benjamin Moore Simply White on the walls in our Leroy airstream with white cabinetry, then added a soft textural light grey colored fabric for the bench. Don’t be afraid of a little white on white! Finishing details through throw pillows, light fixtures, tiles, and decor were able to balance out the space with color.
Number Three - Double Duty Furniture
When designing a small space, every inch counts! Multipurpose furniture is a great way to fully capitalize on what you have to work with. It’s like getting two areas for the price of one.
For example, a built-in sofa that extends out into a second bed or a table that folds up and down depending on your needs are easy ways to double up on your space.
Number Four - Balance is Key
Traditional homes have gorgeous floor-to-ceiling cabinetry in kitchens, bathrooms, and even home offices. But it doesn’t always work that well in small spaces, even if the extra storage space is nice!
When planning your travel trailer, doing the opposite by incorporating low cabinetry can help the eye feel like it is less impeded by high blocks, giving the illusion of spaciousness. Sometimes necessity will call for a tall piece of cabinetry, such as a closet. But, being intentional with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry balanced out with low and long stretches of cabinetry/countertop can help the space feel more open and airy.
For the Leroy project, we added extra upper cabinets in the kitchen area for storage, only next to the wall that backed up to the bathroom, leaving the rest of the countertop (and cute tile!) nice and open.
Number Five - Nooks, Nooks, and a Cranny
Get clever and utilize every nook and cranny of your space! In case we haven’t said it enough, storage is a big part of small-space living. When it comes to your project, it can be helpful to sit down and physically highlight your floor plan to illuminate areas where you can capture unused space.
Vertical storage is another great way to save space. Use a peg board to help get items off the countertop and create an interesting visual.