How-To: Maximizing a Small Space by with Girl & Grey

6 Minute Read


Hi friends - Courtney here from Girl & Grey! I’m excited to be here today on Ann Sacks to write a guest post and share my top five tips to help you create BIG impact in a small space! We just finished our kitchenette (hello, small space) in our guest house, and I learned a few things along the way that I thought I would pass on to all of you!

Our guest house is a small studio-style apartment that sits above our garage, complete with a kitchenette and a full bath. It was original to our 1984 fixer upper here in Bend, Oregon, and was practically begging for a full renovation. Think brown and gold linoleum and cabinet doors falling off their hinges... it was so bad. When the weather finally warmed up this past spring, we got started on this renovation! My husband, Nate, along with help from my dad, tore everything out, and we began the process of putting it back together! It was such a fun project, and sooooo rewarding to know have such a lovely space to share with our friends and family who come to visit! Okay, now let’s get to those tips, shall we?

1. Statement Lighting

Is anyone going to notice how big or small your space is when you’ve got an amazing statement light fixture? Definitely not. A beautiful chandelier or an interesting pendant can add so much personality with matching and/or contrasting metals, or maybe a woven or natural material for an organic vibe. This asymmetrical brass beauty is one of the first things that our guests comment on when they come to stay for the weekend in our guest house. We also just added a dimmer to the switch, so it can be turned down for a softer and warmer illumination in the evenings. I love the soft glow of a beautiful light fixture in the evening. Feels so cozy!

2. Going Vertical

An entire wall of beautiful tile is the surest way to add MAJOR pizzazz to your kitchen or bathroom. Instead of adding a small strip of tile above your counters, extending the tile all the way to the ceiling is such an effective way to make your space feel bigger, and your design feel more impactful. The WOW FACTOR that everyone is always hoping to achieve! This particular tile is also light reflecting (it sparkles!), which makes this small space feel larger than it actually is – perfect for those small kitchens or bathrooms. I would liken a good tile choice in the kitchen to the perfect pair of earrings to your favorite dress. It completes the look!

I had so much fun finalizing the tile for this space and considered quite a few options along the way.


One of my faves was the Pambiche Standard Hexagon from Ann Sacks. I love the shape, and a dose of pattern and color would definitely make for a fun look.


The Pala Mosaics have such great texture and almost have a river rock quality to them that I was really drawn to - especially in the carrara and bardiglio color options. I especially liked that you could customize the size/shape of this particular tile. Really gives you option to personalize the space!


The Tiempo Field Tiles caught my eye with their hand-painted, old world feel. Plus, there are so many different designs to choose from that you could really get creative!


Finally, terrazzo is all the rage right now so the Davina Field Tile would be a fun way to incorporate an on-trend look in your kitchen or bathroom. The white color option would have been very complementary to our gray-blue cabinets.

3. Open Shelving

Rather than choosing solid cabinets – which can make a room feel small and closed-off (especially when thinking about the upper cabs) – adding some open shelving might be a great option. I’m a big fan of open shelving and have added some to each of my last two kitchens. Open shelves are extremely functional, and they make it so much easier to access dishes and glasses. If you’re a clutter bug, like I am, open shelves will force you to throw out that old mixed and matched collection of plastic cups and consider functionality with design. Not only will items on the shelves need to function well, but you’ll want them to be visually appealing, as they will be on display. Now, that’s what I’d call a win-win! Open shelving also provides an opportunity to add art, plants, and pottery that you love. This is your chance to personalize the space and make it feel like you!

4. Colored Cabinets

These days, colored cabinets aren’t exactly a new concept. If you start looking around on Pinterest or Instagram, you’ll likely spot kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities in every color under the sun. And for good reason, as color adds so much personality to any space. Try not to worry about growing tired of the color you picked; if it’s truly a favorite, then you’ll never get sick of seeing it! These blue-gray cabinets always bring a smile to my face when I walk into the guest house. A colored cabinet also adds instant interest and personality to a space. A navy cabinet adds some sophistication and drama, while a taupe brings a calming and classic feel to your kitchen or bathroom.

5. Floors

New floors are a great way to add interest to your space. With woods, tiles, and tiles that look like wood, you’ll find your options to be in no short supply. The design possibilities for tile options are endless! There are so many fun patterns, colors, shapes, and materials available. You can get really artistic and have some fun with designs by putting tiles on a diagonal, using multiple sizes/shapes, or adding inserts and/or borders. By contrast, hardwood floors can be a great option for anyone who prefers the warmth and natural wood grain that only wood can offer.

Thank You

That wraps up my five top tips for creating BIG impact in a small space.


August 11, 2021

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