Making Small Spaces Feel Bigger

When we were little, we imagined cartwheeling around our future homes with plenty of space to spare. As adults, however, we understand the dance between size and style and know that finding a home that we love may mean contending with smaller rooms (and putting our cartwheeling dreams to bed). Even if you have to scale down your dreams of a home or apartment with airy, light-filled rooms, you can make the most of your livable space without knocking down walls or making other huge, costly structural changes. Read on for 4 tricks that will help make your space seem bigger.


Craft a high-contrast interplay between walls and ceilings through paint color. The difference will create a tromp l’oeil that makes the floor drop and the ceiling look taller. Using a glossy white or a light color for one of these elements also makes the space feel brighter and bigger.

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Concentrating on one color creates an endless space that eliminates borders and helps the eye move effortlessly around the room. Don’t be afraid of adding color variations, however, as long as the chosen shades are close in tonal value. Depending on what colors are chosen, a monochromatic room can look modern (think of a kitchen blacks, whites, and/or grays), playful (a Pinkalicious-worthy child’s room) or soothing (a bedroom that’s a study in blues).

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Congruent flooring helps to create the feeling of smooth, polished, open space. Rooms will appear to flow seamlessly into one another, eliminating the boxy, chopped up feeling that can pervade when individual and small rooms each have their own floor design.

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Choose a large-scale piece of furniture to trick the eye. The space itself might appear small, but picking an oversized sofa or chair will make visitors and homeowners alike feel like the space has “grown” to accommodate its size. Just make sure to pick a piece that you adore-it will likely become a major focal point of the room. And do a little measuring and sizing up BEFORE the piece is delivered to ensure it actually does fit!

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Our favorite 15-minute, kid-friendly trick for lasting, classy, seasonal décor!

The pressure to decorate for the holidays, whether it comes from a trip down the Pinterest rabbit hole or our desire to celebrate the seasonal magic with and for our little ones, comes on strong and long. After all, Halloween decorations start creeping up in stores and displays in July when we are basically still living in our bathing suits!

Seasonal decorating can be time-consuming and expensive, not to mention that neon orange and black may not jive with your painted-in-pastels abode or ultra modern home. Our favorite seasonal décor fix is less conventional, but it can last throughout multiple fall holidays and fit seamlessly into any color scheme and all it takes is a minimal amount of time and a little paint!


Purchase pumpkins in whatever quantity and size you desire and let your kiddos paint them in colors that match your home and the rooms in it. Or indulge in some paint therapy yourself! You can stick with a monochromatic theme, choose colors that complement those in the room, or even go for a display that incorporates subtle, gradual variations on a color scheme. Metallic colors offer a festive, yet classy look for tablescapes and entryways.

Some pumpkin varieties actually come in white, so you can also simply purchase those for decorating-no mess required. Or if you find velveteen or wooden pumpkins in a shade that matches other items in your display area, invest in a few: you’ll have classic fall decorations year after year. These blue and white beauties add a touch of tactile luxury to a display.

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Sometimes less really is more for holiday décor, and we don’t just mean visually. The less time you spend on lavish and fleeting decorations, the more time you have to create an awesome Halloween costume, sip apple cider, or play in the leaves with your family.

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How To Turn Inspiring Travel into Design at Home

As fall sneaks up on us, the weather feels cooler and the holidays quickly approach. It's hard not to start looking back on summer already. After a fabulous, life-affirming vacation, coming home can feel like a mixed bag: our creature comforts are here, but we long for the amazing and unique experiences we had. The best way to keep the travel high going is by bringing the essence of your voyages home.

Beyond the basic, more obvious ways to incorporate your voyages afar into your day-to-day lifestyle at home (some of which we included below) are opportunities to truly reflect your experiences, passions, and the education you absorbed while traveling.

One of the great joys in traveling is being exposed to styles different than the ones you gravitate towards when decorating. Perhaps your travels will even awaken you to try out a design trend or feature. For example, a trip to Giverny’s iconic blue- tiled kitchen could give way to the decision to add a similar-hued backsplash in your own home or the courage to curate a room that is centered around one focal color. 

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Changes don’t need to be dramatic or over-the-top either. After seeing long-pile tufted rugs at a chic marketplace in Marrakech and feeling their divine texture underfoot, you can bring that luxury home by trying one out at your bedside, conjuring memories of your vacation each morning when you take your first steps. If you find that rug irresistible, consider obtaining more in an array of styles and colors and layering them for a cozy atmosphere.

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Sometimes the influences of your travel inspirations will less obvious to others. A trip to a faraway place that inspired a love for a new culture and their handiworks, such as the ornate bead work of the Masaai people of Kenya, could be reflected in numerous ways including the addition of handcrafted wire and bead bowls, beaded pillow detailing, or metal accents and embellishments on furniture or hardware. Sharing the origins behind your new acquisitions will allow you to relive your experiences and spread your enthusiasm for these artisanal crafts and wares.


Bringing your travels into your home doesn’t need to be costly: a collection of shells, stones, or sea glass make for an eye-catching display and could serve as a creative and striking contrast to modern lines in your home. A walk on the beach with the family could transform into a beautiful display of shells and sands later on in your home, serving as a reminder of quality time spent together.

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few ideas if you want to dip your toe into travel-inspired design:

  • Bringing home a piece of original artwork is a wonderful way to support local artisans and to highlight an authentic piece that “spoke” to you during your travels. Every time your gaze falls upon it, you’ll be reminded of your journey and the amazing diversity of artistic talents around the world. Photos (taken by you or by someone else) are wonderful, visually striking mementos that capture a moment in time and space. Print them in large scale for maximum effect or make a collage wall with several images. For a polished, stylized look, print them on metal.
  • Start small if you don't have abundant space. You could begin by framing a coin and positioning it in the entryway or by making a home for an antique carving among other works of art you already have on display. Wherever you place your travel tokens, display them prominently so you see them regularly and make sure to give them proper lighting too.
  • In addition to serving as a feast for the eyes, travel trinkets can also be pleasurable for other senses. While framing a beautiful piece of lace from Venice or Brussels, a swath of silk from China, or a sari fragment from India makes for a stunning display, these materials are also wonderful when they become a textural design element, such as on a pillow. An antique Tibetan singing bowl looks beautiful on a shelf, but it is also pleasing to the ear.
  • Travelers naturally get caught up in the moment and unpack their suitcases to find items they might not wear on a regular basis, such as a kimono. These picture-perfect robes showcase incredible handiwork and add plenty of drama and intrigue to your home. Nearly every item you bring back with you can find a suitable home where its unique nature and appeal can be highlighted.
  • If your bags were too full or you simply ran out of time for souvenirs, you can still transport yourself back to your vacation spot with the simple help of a candle or a book. An Ocean Mist & Sea Salt scent will make your feel like you are back on the beach again; a lavender-scented taper soothes and fills your mind with images of running through fields in Provence. Find a coffee table book featuring your vacation location and leave it out as an open invitation to indulge in some an armchair tourism. Or create your own book using snapshots from your trip for a more personal touch. Thumbing through the pages will send you back to your happy place– no passport required!

Whether it’s a sculpture or painting that has to be shipped overseas (therefore, allowing you a little time to decide on its placement!) or a small token such as foreign coins or bills, keepsake reminders such as arts, artifacts, books, candles, and artifacts will sustain your travel memories…and may even inspire you or visitors to your home to take to the roads, rails, water, or sky again soon.

What are some ways that you have brought your summer vacations home into the autumn?