14 Clever Small-Space Hacks We Learned From a Kmart Design Manager

Nicole Singh

There are a few things we love more than Kmart Australia’s homewares and interior styling hacks. So, you can imagine how excited we were to get expert styling tips from the retail giant’s design manager, Kate Hopwood. The truth is, as much as we lust over marble-endowed bathrooms, and Parisian-inspired town houses, most of us (especially if you’re a city dweller) reside in relatively small abodes, which means creating your dream aesthetic requires a pinch of creativity and a heavy dose of problem-solving skills. According to Hopwood, creating a stylish space is possible, it just takes careful planning and investment in multi-purpose finds. Read on for her expert tips, and shop some of her favourite items below.

IF YOU WANT AN INTERIOR UPGRADE…

If you're looking to overhaul your space so that it's not only stylish but also functional, Hopwood suggests thinking carefully about how you use your space everyday before even purchasing your first piece of furniture. "Think about how you currently use, and also how you want to better use your space. If necessary, use temporary solutions to check whether the new layout you want is actually practical, before investing in bigger ticket solutions. Furniture storage is also a great place to start, as furniture will probably occupy most of the space within a small room. Investing in furniture that can double as a storage solution, is probably the best way to utilise your space. In a hall or entryway for example, a table with draws will provide you with enough space to keep your knick-knacks handy. This logic should be used throughout the house. In the bathroom: Where will I put my toiletries? In the rumpus room: Where will I store the kid’s toys? And so on.

The next step is to layer on the decorator pieces. Start by assessing the wall space for art or mirror opportunities (remember to keep it simple). Then check your surfaces, and see if you can display some key pieces (but don’t overdo it). As a rule, I keep displays to a minimum of three small pieces. The last step is to pick a hero piece, such as a statement chair. Prop it with a complimentary cushion, and a textured throw to add interest, and use a floor lamp to draw interest to that area."

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE YOUR SPACE LOOK BIGGER…

When it comes to tricking the eye into believing your space is bigger, according to Hopwood, colour and light play a lead role. "Light colours always make spaces look bigger. This is the reason why most people favour white rooms in their home. Having a white backdrop is great, because it offers so much versatility for home décor. It also provides you with a blank canvas, if you wish to change your styling. Reflective surfaces also help to bounce light, and make areas feel brighter. The best way to incorporate reflective surfaces within a space, is by investing in large mirrors, or glass tables. Also, try to keep clutter to a minimum. Investing in storage solutions is the best way to keep your items safe, tidy, and hidden away from sight. Doing this will help to emphasise the space within your room."

THE BEST COLOURS TO USE FOR A SMALL SPACE... 

While white is always a great neutral base, Hopwood suggests also playing with pastels when it comes to accessories. "Light colours always give the illusion of space, so I favour whites and pastels. Nothing dark, as this tends to draw space in, and make it appear smaller. Painting the ceiling the same colour as the wall, gives the effect of the wall continuing, therefore making the room look bigger.  For soft furnishings, the same rules apply. Neutrals, paired back with minimal print, and texture, keeps the room looking calm and relaxed."

shop hopwood's small-space picks: 

Kmart Footstool With Storage ($15)

"The foot stool with storage is a great multi-purpose product, which is both neat and compact. Its neutral colouring makes it easy to pair back into any room within the home."

Kmart Scandi Shoe Rack ($35)

"This shoe rack (which doubles as a bench) has been one of the hottest items in home this season. It is fabulously stylish, but also just really practical. Who wouldn’t want to sit down and put on a pair of shoes?"

Kmart Set of 2 Wooden Baskets ($14)

"The two-set wooden baskets are a must have! I rate them as an essential store solution, regardless of which room you put them into. They can be used to store toiletries in the bathroom, magazines and books in the living room, jars in the kitchen, and so on. That’s what’s so great about them, they are endlessly versatile!"

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